Are you trying to create new, healthy eating habits? If you are, you should start by trying to change your unhealthy eating habits. Here are 5 of the more common bad eating habits that exist in our society today, and the action plans you can put into place to change them.
Note: If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, consult a professional for help.
This used to be my own personal unhealthy eating habit. It wasn’t always the case, as it was something that developed over time. Regardless, it’s something that I’ve had to work at consistently to overcome.
It wasn’t unheard of for me to polish off an entire pizza, a pint of ice cream, and a big bag of jelly beans, for a calorie intake of well over 3000 calories. Then, I’d do it again the next day, and the next, and the next.
After much self-reflection, I realized that the binge eating was only occurring at home. I was too embarrassed to eat that much food in front of strangers, and frankly, it took a lot of time to down that much food.
What did I do? I removed myself from that environment. I made a deal that if I wanted bad food I’d go to it instead of bringing it home. This kept portion sizes under control while still allowing the occasional cheat meal.
Artificial Sweetener Use
You have a sweet tooth, and you think that because this artificial sweetener says zero calories you’ll be able to have your cake and eat it too. You substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar just about anywhere you can to satisfy your craving. Cereals, sodas, coffee, baking, you name it, you’re replacing bad for worse in the name of zero calories.
Artificial sweeteners have no place in a healthy lifestyle. Start phasing them out and replace them with healthier alternatives like honey. If you need flavor in your drinks, try squeezing some lemon, lime, or orange into some water. Realize that if something says “reduced sugar” it probably uses artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Read the labels.
Social Pressure Eating
I’ve been guilty of this, and I’m sure just about everyone else reading this has too. You go out with your friends or family, and they make an unhealthy choice, but you make a healthy one. You get criticized, questioned, and even made fun of for your good choices. It makes you feel so bad that you make an unhealthy choice in the future just to avoid the situation again.
Understand where their comments are coming from. Your good decisions make them feel bad about theirs. They of course want you to be happy and healthy, but they don’t want it at the expense of their own feelings.
Make the decisions that are best for you, as you are the only one that has to live with the consequences. If you’re going to a party, try eating before you leave, or bring your own healthy dish to share. Set a good example, and as your body starts changing for the better, so will their attitudes towards your healthy habits. In time, they’ll be asking you how you did it.
Starving Yourself to Lose Weight
Our society places a great deal of pressure on men and women alike to look good. Granted, women get the brunt of this, but men suffer from this too. Pictures are plastered everywhere of people with fit bodies. You feel like you need to make a change in your life and lose weight. However, you associate losing weight with negative feelings of hunger, deprivation, suffering.
Realize that losing weight takes time and is not about a 12 week diet. Weight loss is a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle. It will take time to lose weight, and the less you starve yourself, the more successful you will be at losing it.
Losing .5% body fat every 1-2 weeks is realistic for everyone (measure your body fat with these calipers), and it insures that you will be getting in plenty of nutrients in your diet that will support weight loss.
You’re overcome with stress, depression, or anxiety, and the only thing that makes you feel better is unhealthy comfort food. You reach for what makes you happy, and that food causes a cascade of feel-good chemicals to be released. Your pain is relieved – temporarily.
Realize that the bad eating will only provide you with short-term relief of your feelings, and that more than likely, you are going to feel worse for your decision the next day. Try to find new ways to deal with your emotions instead of eating.
For example, exercise when you feel stressed. Meditate or do yoga when your anxiety is flaring up, or simply try a healthier alternative to the processed foods you eat in those situations.
For me, frozen grapes or mixed nuts are my go-to snack. I eat them to my heart’s content – anything to avoid the processed food that will bring my food addiction back in full force. In time, I know the situation that’s causing these feelings will blow over, and I’ll be much happier that I didn’t use food to cope with the pain.
So, how many of these unhealthy eating habits are you guilty of?