By following these ways to change unhealthy eating habits, you don’t have to get up from the dinner table feeling bloated and weighed down anymore! Food should be our source of fuel. It should make you feel good, provide the energy that you need to surge through the day and it should taste good too! For many people, poor eating habits were developed at quite a young age, therefore, changing these unhealthy behaviors can certainly be hard; however, if I can do it, you can do it too! With the help of these seven ways to change unhealthy eating habits, you can be feeling and looking your best in no time!
1. Years to Build, Years to Break
One of the first ways to change unhealthy eating habits is to realize that it won’t happen overnight. Many eating behaviors are taught to us at a very young age; therefore, they can often be the hardest habits to break. Instead of trying to overhaul your diet by changing everything at once, slowly introduce one new change at a time such as, limiting fried foods to no more than X number of times per week depending on your current diet. It is much easier to focus on one task than several things all at once.
2. Keep a Positive Attitude
Just like everything in life, choosing healthy foods can be difficult if it is not something that you are used to doing. Instead of focusing on all of the things that you cannot eat, think about all of the delicious foods that you CAN eat, as well as all of the health benefits that they provide for your body. By keeping a positive attitude, you are more likely to stay motived to choose healthier options.
3. Stay Committed
Change will not happen overnight, however, over time it certainly will. Regardless of if you see immediate changes, stay committed to choosing healthier foods by first figuring out why you want to choose healthy foods. Is it because you want to feel better and have more energy? Is it because you want to look better in your clothes? Is it because you want to be able to spend more active time with your children or grandchildren? Whatever the reason may be, stay committed to adopting a healthier lifestyle in order to reach those goals.
4. Focus on Small
As I mentioned above, make one small change at a time in order to prevent feeling overwhelmed by all of the things you should be doing. A goal even as small as drinking one less soda per day can be monumental when it comes to your overall health. These days, there is so much information out there on what you should or shouldn’t be eating, therefore, instead of focusing on a thousand different things, pick one small goal, accomplish it, and then set another.
5. Set SMART Goals
Speaking of goals, it is crucial that you set SMART goals: goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Don’t set a goal too large or overarching or when you can’t complete it, you will be let down by yourself. Instead, set very small, attainable goals in order to boost your goal setting confidence. You should set goals that are well defined, have a start and end date and are actually possible to complete. An example of a SMART goal would be, “I will increase my fruit consumption by adding one piece of fruit to my breakfast meal three days a week for the next six weeks.”
6. Develop a Weekly Plan
As they say, failing to plan really is planning to fail…and when it comes to your diet, it is no different. If you enter the week without a healthy eating plan, you are almost guaranteed to make some unhealthy choices. Take some time at the start of the week to come up with a list of meals and snacks that you will enjoy through the week. Create a grocery list from this plan and then head to the store in order to keep these foods on hand. This takes the guess work out of healthy eating, and instead of rummaging through the kitchen at 8pm looking for something healthy to cook, you already have a plan for night! Do the same with snacks to prevent letting yourself get too hungry and making unhealthy choices!
7. Keep Trigger Foods out of the House
Sometimes the only way to prevent yourself from reaching for unhealthy foods is to simply keep them out of your house: out of sight, out of mind! There is no use tempting yourself all week long with your favorite bag of chips sitting in the pantry. A weak moment will come and suddenly you will find yourself elbow deep in those tasty, yet health damaging chips! Instead, keep your pantry and refrigerator well-stocked with healthy foods so that a nutritious meal or snack is always close by!
Regardless of how unhealthy you are eating now, with a little bit of preparation and dedication, unhealthy eating behaviors can become a thing of the past for anyone. Give it some time, set SMART goals and set yourself up for success so that you can feel and look your best for years to come. Have you ever tried to change your unhealthy eating behaviors? Were you successful? If so, how did you do it?