Eating is One of Life’s Greatest Pleasures
I love good food and I like eating.
I am also a professional dieter. In fact, I know the calories in a gram of protein, a gram of carbohydrates, a gram of fat and even alcohol. ( There are 7 calories per gram of alcohol if you were wondering).
I am old enough to have experienced dieting advice that included, high-fat- low fat, high carbs- no carbs, counting points, eliminating entire food groups, eating pre-packaged meals, and even starving myself.
Do they all work? – yep.
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How Do You Know Which Diet is the Best?
I have memorized the rules of so many diets, I often 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, I guess I can’t because 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 ever noticed that diets recycle?
The current “experts” are selling us the same diets with a new name and a little twist.
When I was a teenager, the best way to lose weight was to eat protein, cottage cheese, no carbohydrates. Sound familiar?
Didn’t the Atkins Diet put people in Ketosis just like the Keto Diet?
Did you know that in the 80s, it was recommended to LIMIT the amount of protein we ate and fill up on “good carbs”?
Yes, we ate bagels and pasta and guess what, we lost weight.
Carbs haven’t changed. Whole grains, vegetables, and Fruits have always been carbohydrates and still are.
This is the best advice I have every heard:
Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods. I can do this!
We Are Not Going to Stop Dieting – Right?
I get that we, and I am including myself, are not going to stop trying new diets no matter how much we know. That is why dieting is a multi-billion dollar business.
So if you really want to make some good money, come up with a New Fad Diet!
Eating Behaviors & Habits
However, what if we could learn to apply very specific eating behaviors to our lifestyle that would allow us to:
- choose what and when you eat,
- get healthier,
- develop new lifestyle habits.
- These behaviors are NOT hard and they won’t hurt you.
I am suggesting learning 9 eating behaviors that will do just that and then turn those behaviors into habits.
Here we go:
1. 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? For example, 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.
2. 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, and 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, right?
3. Are some foods BAD?
Food can’t be bad! There is no such thing as “good” foods and “bad” foods. However, 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 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. Likewise, if it’s pizza, get it from your favorite restaurant. When you find yourself faced with eating something that you don’t want- throw it away.
4. Portion Control
Nothing new here, right? We all know how ridiculous portions are in restaurants. However, if any restaurant today served us the recommended portions of food, we would complain!
To be sure, pasta dishes, burgers, burritos, even salads are served with portions big enough to easily feed two, or three people.
Here are more habits here Portion Control tips 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.
5. 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?” Truthfully, 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.
6. 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, or you may choose to take of emotions in a healthier way.
Ask yourself, “how am I feeling right now and how is eating going to help that?
7. Sit At the Table
To repeat, this habit is worth mentioning again. Specifically, 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.
8. Stop Rewarding Yourself With Food
Without doubt, 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, you go out to eat to celebrate. Instead, how about going to a movie, or buying yourself something new and fun?
Make your own list of ways to celebrate success.
9. Read Labels
Most importantly, learn to be an educated eater. Begin looking at the total calories PER SERVING listed on the label. In fact, there are 4 calories for every gram of protein and 4 calories for every gram of carbohydrates. So, if there is hidden sugar the carbohydrates will be high.
Moreover, companies don’t have to include the recommended amount of sugar on their labels. The soda industry is pretty powerful.
Additionally, there are 9 calories for every gram of fat.
Likewise, alcohol provides 7 calories per gram which is pretty close to fat.
It Is Always Your Choice
I am suggesting giving yourself permission to make your own food choices and not worry about the rules of a diet.
Honestly, has anyone actually stuffed food into your mouth without your permission?
Have you eaten things as a guest that you didn’t want because you didn’t want to hurt the hostess’s feelings?
How about when faced with a healthier food and a food high in fat, have you chosen the less healthy option?
Well, good news. You are like all the rest of us if that can be considered good news.
Anyway, the point being, we make our own choices about what we eat every day.
In the end, no one else does that for us.
I’m not suggesting you never eating high-fat foods. On the contrary, I am merely saying you need to be aware that it is your choice and you need to start saying to yourself, “I have a choice.”
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 because you are very capable of making your own choices.
Remember: “I Choose to eat this” or “I Choose Not to Eat this.”
How To Make Behaviors Become Habits
Ultimately, creating NEW habits takes us out of our comfort zone. It doesn’t feel normal.
There have been many studies done 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, so let’s go with that.
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.
When you try to make too many changes at the same time, you are always out of your comfort zone.
Consequently, by really making new behaviors become a habit, you are going to be healthier and lose weight along the way.
Let’s find out which habits are going to be your favorites and work for you on your weight loss journey?
Get More Diet and Exercise Advice:
Most importantly, part of staying healthy is learning behaviors that lead to long-term health. To learn more, read Four Body Changes to Prevent as We Get Older.
Need a diet while changing your habits? Read,
Three Great Reasons to Try Intermittent Fasting to Drop Pounds
Free Eating Behavior Challenge
Make New Eating Behaviors Become Habits