We are all creatures of habit; and habits don’t have to be bad! Your good habits could be flossing every night before bed, budgeting your money, and reading to your kids before bed. But what about those bad habits? We can think of those right off the top of our heads: Unhealthy food choices, not enough exercise, and not enough self-care. Establishing good habits in these areas will not only help you, but will exude and inspire your friends and family around you! You will need their support; and when they see how well you are establishing health habits, they will be even more supportive because they will be inspired themselves. Think about the habits or routines you have that you want to change. You may already have some ideas or some plans to change them. But what about the bad routines you don’t even know you do (subconscious)?
Skipping meals seems like a way to cut out calories, but this unhealthy habit can do just the opposite! Unfortunately, skipping a meal only slows down our metabolism and makes us even hungrier later; which leads to overeating. Most of the time, when we overeat, it ends up in choosing the wrong foods to indulge in as well. Not only are you in starvation mode, but your head isn’t clear; only focused on food and hunger. This won’t lead to making healthy food decisions. Instead of skipping a meals, have smaller healthy snacks at work, car, and at home. Nuts, fruits, veggies, and other healthy snacks to keep you full in your stomach and full of energy. Keep track of your meals and eating habits on apps or sites to make sure you are getting the right amount of calories each day; especially when you are working out!
It is a healthy choice to have good-for-you snacks in the car or on you (low sugar protein bars, nuts, fruits, and veggies); these are pre-planned snacks and you won’t have to think about a decision in the moment of hunger. But being on the road with no preplanned course of action when you are hungry isn’t a good habit to get into. We will then make a decision of a drive-thru fast food place, pick up chips at the corner store, or anything else that’s near us for the taking. Not only are we more prone to making unhealthy choices, but again, we may not be paying attention to how much we are really putting into our mouths. Pick a day once a week to prepare some snacks, or even have a list of places you can buy healthy foods when needed. This way you know exactly where to go and what to choose when you can’t be at home.
After you have had a healthy dinner, any late night snacking is usually the result of boredom or not being able to sleep. Try shutting down for the night with some hot un-caffeinated tea, warm bath, and a good book. Cut back on the electronics (laptop, phone, TV) an hour or so before you go to bed. Once your teeth are brushed, face is washed and bath or shower are done, you’ll be less inclined to want to eat. You will also be less likely to face some physical issues like heartburn, gastroenteritis, and trouble sleeping.
Out on the Town
When trying to eat healthy and make good choices, sometimes going out with friends or family to a restaurant can be the most tempting thing! Many restaurants now have healthy menu options and/or nutritional information for us to make better decisions on our meals. Even better, if you know ahead of time where you will be dining, take a peek at the menu online and decide what to order. If it’s a last minute decision, always look for grilled, baked and broiled as opposed to fried, battered, and over sauced. This way, you will not be tempted by other items and you can enjoy more time catching up and socializing.
It will take some time to establish these new healthier habits, so be patient and don’t be hard on yourself. Take some time to see where you need to adjust your habits and plan ahead. Ask your close friends and family to help support you and you’ll be breaking bad in no time!