Food gives our bodies the energy we need to function. For many people, changing eating habits is very hard.
You may have had certain eating habits for so long that you do not realize they are unhealthy. Or, your habits have become part of your daily life, so you don't think much about them.
A food journal is a good tool to help you learn about your eating habits. Keep a food journal for 1 week.
Remember, small steps toward change lead to more success in making long-term changes. Try not to overwhelm yourself with too many goals.
Also, take a look at the healthy habits you have and be proud of yourself about them. Try not to judge your behaviors too harshly. It is easy to focus only on your poor habits. This can make you feel stressed and give up trying to change.
Taking on new, healthier habits may mean that you:
Think about what triggers or prompts may be causing some of your eating habits.
Look at your journal and circle any regular or repetitive triggers. Some of these might be:
Start by focusing on one or two triggers that occur most often during your week. Think about what you can do to avoid those triggers, such as:
Find health choices for snacks and plan ahead.
Control your portion sizes. It is hard to eat only a few chips or other tempting foods when there is a lot in front of you. Take only a small portion and put the rest away.
Eating too quickly leads to overeating when the food you have eaten has not yet reached your stomach and told your brain you are full. You will know you are eating too quickly if you feel stuffed about 20 minutes after you stop eating.
Eat only when you are hungry.
Plan your meals.
Get rid of unhealthy foods.
An old saying goes: "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."
Breakfast sets the tone for the day. A hearty, healthy breakfast will give your body the energy it needs to get you to lunch.
Plan a good lunch that will satisfy you, and a healthy afternoon snack that will keep you from becoming to hungry before dinner time.
Avoid skipping meals. Missing a regular meal or snack often leads to overeating or making unhealthy choices.
Once you have changed one or two old unhealthy habits, try changing one or two more.
It may take a while before you can turn your unhealthy habits into new, healthy ones. Remember, it took you a while to form your habits. And it may take just as long to change them. Do not give up.
If you start an old habit again, think about why you went back to it. Try again to replace it with a new habit. One slip does not mean you are a failure. Keep trying!
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pe diatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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