I want to have a little talk about eating habits, because it is something that is quite perplexing and can taint your ability to successfully lose and maintain your weight. Most view eating habits as a consistent behavior of what one eats, but there truly is more to it. Eating habits are defined as why and how people eat, which foods they eat, with whom they eat, as well as the ways people obtain, store, use, and discard food- you see very complicated. (Source: encyclopedia.com) And this my friend is why breaking horrible eating habits is so hard and challenging.
But it’s okay! You’re here and we’re going to work through this together.
Let’s start with why and how you eat. This is very important. You first need to ask yourself why you are eating? And this is not a simple answer of “I need to live”. Truly think beyond that to see exactly why you are eating the foods that you choose to eat and truly ask yourself why do you eat? Are you eating because everyone around you is eating so you are just eating too or are you eating because you are truly hungry? Are you eating because you are hormonal and emotional or are you eating with intention? So let me ask again, on most days of the week why are you eating? If your desire is to lose or maintain your weight you should only be eating when you are hungry and 80-90% of your eating should be intentional. Because EVERRYTHING else is going to lead to weight gain, period.
Now let’s tackle how you are eating because this one is just as important as why you are eating. Are you eating to feel completely full and stuffed or are you eating to feel satisfied? Are you eating one large meal a day or are you consistently eating 4-6 small meals throughout the day? Truly take a look at how you are eating because the goal should be to eat 3 well balanced meals a day with high protein snacks between meals to help manage your weight. When it comes to eating you do not want to have such large portions that you are being rolled away from the table because you are stuffed. You want to eat until you are satisfied and then push it away. So stop and think about how you are eating to determine whether it will help or hurt your goals for a healthier weight.
What type of foods are you eating? Eww child… this right here is the part that most people don’t want to address. It’s like the big elephant in the room that everyone keeps walking around, instead of finding out how to get the elephant out of the darn room. You cannot dance around this. The type of foods that you eat not only affects your weight, but it DIRECTLY affects your HEALTH. I say it time and time again, your health is your most valuable asset and you must protect it at all cost. Therefore, truly learning what foods are beneficial to your health versus detrimental are key.
Want to know the flashing red light detrimental foods? Think: fried, fast, processed, and non-pesticide (organic) free foods.
And when it comes to foods that benefit your health, think: whole grains, legumes, organic fruits/vegetables, grass-fed meats, and sustainably sourced seafood.
Now if you are following me you know that as a coach and even in my personal life I am really big on living your best life nutritionally. On weekends you can find me in my stories on date nights with hubby or on an ice-cream date with the girls, because this provides balance for the days in which I eat clean. So please don’t misinterpret this as you cannot eat “those types of foods at all”, but it should be avoided and if eaten should be eaten sparingly, infrequently, and in moderation.
The second part that I want to get into about the type of foods that you are eating is really having the ability to identify what a food label is telling you. Many times when clients start with me, they are “eating to lose weight” only to find out that the “healthy food” they have been eating are actually pretty high in salt, fat, and harmful ingredients. Marketing is a bitch, it will have you “thinking” you are doing great, when in actuality those products may not be any better than the “non-healthy” foods. Simply learning to read labels can save you time, money, and frustration. So start reading labels everywhere you go to make an informed decision on what you are actually eating because it is one of the best ways to truly manage your weight.
Need help with reading labels, sign up for my group coaching program, NOURISH, to learn how to analyze labels to choose better quality foods and ingredients for better health and weight loss.
Whom do you eat with is another very important question to sit and think on. I don’t know about you, but I know that when I go out to eat with certain people “what type of party it is going to be”. Whether we want to admit it or not, when it comes to food we are easily persuaded to eat just about everything that makes our taste buds dance, even if it’s just one bite. So mixing that with those “groups of people” who don’t share the same lifestyle goals that you do can be detrimental to your progress. When clients admit this to me, the first thing that I tell them is to set boundaries for themselves and for those around them. These boundaries may look a little different from one client to the next. For some it is completely nixing people (which I don’t agree with as this begins to impact your social life and will set you up to fail at some point), while others will only agree to eat at certain places where they can find 2-3 food options on the menu that they are comfortable with eating. Setting boundaries and going in with a game plan when you are around people that can influence your eating is key.
Obtaining, storing, using, and disposing of your food is something that most people (myself included) don’t take into consideration when thinking about eating habits. Where are you obtaining your food? Are you always grabbing take out because you hate to cook? Maybe cooking at least 2 home cooked meals a week is a healthy habit that you can form to break the habit of eating out all the time. Also, thinking about how you are storing your food is important. Are you using BPA containers that contain cancer related toxins or are team glass/BPA-free to protect your health? Are you storing your food long enough for bacteria to begin to grow or are you storing at the right temperature and discarding when need be? All of these questions provide insight on the actual handling of the foods you eat and the answers to these questions will show you how these factors may affect your health.
Now that I have walked you through eating habits let me ask you, how do you think you are doing with your eating? Have you created healthy eating habits or is this an area that you know you need to improve? I want you to stop and create a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) plan and goal to help you improve your eating habits. But if you want to take immediate action to improve your eating habits I created a quiz that will give you 3 actionable steps to take to improve your eating habits.
Take my quiz to find if your current eating habits are actually causing you to overeat, undereat, or maintain your weight. Knowing how you are actually eating is the first step in helping create a plan to improve your eating habits. So take messy action and let’s get these eating habits under control!
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