There are eating behaviors you can turn into habits that will really impact your weight loss and food choices. Notice I used the word habit.
A Habit is a behavior you do recurrently and almost unconsciously. You literally just do it.
Eating is One of Life’s Pleasures
I love good food and I like eating. As I have said, “life is worth living every day,” and that includes a yummy meal. With the right eating behaviors, you can have it all.
I am just plain tired of hearing I should cut out all carbs, eat more fruit and vegetables, no fat, good fat more protein? Maybe I should try the next new diet? Remember dieting is a multi-billion dollar industry so advice on how to lose weight is EVERYWHERE.
How Do You Know Which Diet is the Best?
I have memorized the rules of so many diets, I find myself switching to a new diet during the middle of the day! Seriously, I can start the day with a diet that provides protein shakes as a meal replacement, with nothing to look forward to but a tiny piece of fish and lettuce for dinner. I can’t have carbs and can’t have fruit for the first two weeks. I tell myself- I can do this!
Nope, by noon, I have decided the diet I will follow today is maybe Weight Watchers, especially since they have released their new “free food” list. Plus if I switch to Weight Watchers at noon, I can eat fruit and have a glass of wine with dinner. I can do this!
Have you noticed that diets recycle? The current experts are telling us the same thing with a new name.
When I was a teenager, the best way to lose weight was to eat protein, cottage cheese, no carbohydrates. Sound familiar?
Did you know that in the 80s, it was recommended to LIMIT the amount of protein we eat and fill up on “good carbs”? Carbs haven’t changed. Whole grains, vegetables, and Fruits have always been carbohydrates.
Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods. If you join a program where they prepare your meals for you, how can you go out to eat in a restaurant and really enjoy yourself? Do you bring your own food when invited to a friend’s house? NO! Free Printable Eating Challenge! Enough!
I am suggesting giving yourself permission to make your own choices and not worry about the rules of a diet.
How To Make Behaviors Become Habits
Creating NEW habits takes us out of our comfort zone. It doesn’t feel normal.
There have been many studies on how long it takes a behavior to become a habit, and the truth is, it depends on what it is, and how much a change you are actually making. Have you heard something for 21 days to make it a habit?
That seems to be widely accepted. Download FREE Printable to Join the 12-week Eating Behaviors Challenge!
Another important part of staying healthy is behaviors that lead to long-term health. To learn more, read Four Body Changes to Prevent as We Get Older.
I am suggesting 9 eating behaviors that would allow you to eat, get healthier, and develop new habits. These things are NOT hard.
Here is an important tip: Don’t change all of these things all in one week. Even if you are on a diet plan, making these behaviors habits will help you when you are done dieting. Choose two things to add each week. When you try to make too many changes at the same time, you are always out of your comfort zone.
Here we go:
Look at Food in Terms of Its Ingredients
Before you bite into a piece of cake, can you picture it as the ingredients that are in it? A piece of cake is just sugar, flour, fat and flavoring, that’s it. Try to think about food as a list of its ingredients and it may become a lot less appetizing.
Eat it Slowly, Pay Attention and Enjoy it
Often when you eat something considered “forbidden,” you eat it fast while standing up and we miss the whole experience of delicious. Finish chewing before you put the next bite in your mouth. Put your fork down after each bite. Pay attention to how the food really tastes before you swallow. If you like to eat, take your time.
Are some foods BAD?
Food can’t be bad! There is no such thing as “good” foods and “bad” foods. There are foods that offer you more in terms of nutrition, true. Stop telling yourself a certain food is “bad for you.”
If you are considering eating a food deemed as “bad” and you really want it, then eat it. But, make it worth your while. Buy the best, eat it slowly and sit down. If it is chocolate, buy the best. If it is pizza, get it from your favorite restaurant. When you find yourself faced with eating something that you don’t want- throw it away.
Nothing new here, right? We all know how ridiculous portions are in restaurants. If any restaurant today served us the recommended portions of food, we would complain! Pasta dishes, burgers, burritos, even salads are served with portions big enough to easily feed two, or three people.
There are some habits here that I really find effective.
- When at home, eat on smaller plates. I’m not saying you can’t have seconds, but if you do it will be a “choice”.
- If you are in a restaurant and you are served portions that you CHOOSE not to eat, as for a container before you start and pack up your leftovers right away.
- Another suggestion I’ve heard about but never done myself is to push away the food you do not want to eat and pour hot sauce or pepper on it. – I can’t waste food I am paying for, but I am sure it works.
How Hungry are You?
What does full really feel like? Can you tell the difference between satisfied and full? Are you a member of the “clean plate club?” Have you ever eaten slowly and stopped eating when you were satisfied? There might be food left on your plate. You can continue eating and lick your platter clean, but if you do, it is your choice and not just automatic behavior.
What Do You Want the Food to Do for You?
Have you ever eaten when you were not hungry? How many times have you found yourself chewing on something and you don’t even remember putting it in your mouth?
When you eat and your not hungry, do you do it for entertainment, anger, fear, stress? Again, you may choose to take care of emotions with food.
Ask yourself, “how am I feeling right now and how is eating going to help that?
Sit At the Table
This habit is worth mentioning again. Pick a place to eat and sit down to enjoy your food. You can’t concentrate on how delicious your food is if you are watching tv, working on your computer, or standing up in the kitchen. Again, eat what you want, but pay attention to the flavors and enjoy it.
Celebrating with food can get out of hand quickly. Make a list of ways to celebrate where food is not the main focus. What do you typically do when you see you have lost a little weight? Exactly, go out to eat to celebrate. How about going to a movie, or buying yourself something new and fun? Make your own list of ways to celebrate success.
Learn to be an educated eater. Look at the total calories PER SERVING listed on the label. There are 4 calories for every gram of protein and 4 calories for every gram of carbohydrates. If there is hidden sugar the carbohydrates will be high. Somehow companies don’t have to include the recommended amount of sugar on their labels. The soda industry is pretty powerful. There are 9 calories for every gram of fat.
And, FYI, alcohol provides 7 calories per gram which is pretty close to fat.
Becoming knowledgeable about what you choose to eat puts you in the driver’s seat.
Don’t let a diet choose which foods are good or bad to eat. You are very capable of making your own choices.
By really making new behaviors become a habit, you are going to be healthier and lose weight along the way.
Remember: “I Choose to eat this” or “I Choose Not to Eat this.”
Which habits work for you? Find out by downloading the free printable to the 12-Week Eating Behavior Challenge
Get More Diet and Exercise Advice:
Free Eating Behavior Challenge
Make New Eating Behaviors Become Habits