When it comes to losing weight, our diet is a cornerstone of any strategy, along with exercising more. On the face of it, changing our eating habits does not seem so hard, but it can be one of the hardest things we have to do. If you are looking to lose weight, it is a safe bet that you have adopted some unhealthy eating habits over the years that are deeply, deeply, a million more ‘’deeplys’’ ingrained. You know you are not eating right, you know you need to change; yet, you still struggle. The good news is, anything is possible when we put our mind to it, including adopting better dietary habits. You just need to exercise diligence and patience. Do not worry, you will get there. No matter what strategies you hope to adopt, just start doing something today. Here are some tips that have worked for me personally in changing my eating habits and maintaining a healthy weight.
Our general lack of patience and wanting everything yesterday is a major stumbling block to successful weight loss. We make these grand plans that will inevitably fail, and instead of regrouping, we just give up. Whatever bad eating habits you have now and your current relationship with food have developed over a long period of time and result from all sorts of deeply rooted issues, beliefs and the like. When we decide that we will move from our current horrible eating habits to never touching sugar or fatty foods for as long as we live, it is just not going to work. I know you want to magically shed that weight as fast as possible, but if you are truly hoping to achieve lasting results and overall better health, you need to play the long game. Starting small may not seem ideal but it is your best chance for success.
If you like to eat dessert every night, try some fruit a few nights a week and cut down the portions of the cakes and other sweets that fill the rest of the nights—remember, in the long game, there is still room for these goodies. Cut down on portion sizes or commit to not having seconds. Switch from full-fat dairy products to low-fat or fat-free versions. Cut down on soda and drink more water. Experiment with different cooking methods. As you successfully make these small changes, you will feel more motivated to keep going. The progress will make you feel good and when you feel good, you will want to make decisions that will make you feel even better.
Get Enough Sleep
When you think of ways to change your eating habits, the idea of getting enough sleep may not be one of the things that first come to mind, but in reality, your sleeping habits are a major influence on your weight. Research over the years, particularly a number of studies conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, has uncovered a very strong relationship between the amount of shut eye you are getting and that number on the scale. If you are hoping to adopt better eating habits, you may want to make getting a good night’s sleep a top priority.
When you do not get enough sleep, the production of the hormone that stimulates appetite increases and the production of the hormone that is responsible for registering that all-important feeling of fullness, decreases. Going up against the chemical signal that makes you feel hungry is a hard battle to win so you need to do what you can to keep its production normalized. Furthermore, lack of sleep appears to make your body crave foods that will sabotage your weight loss efforts, such as sugar and refined carbohydrates; since these foods break easily and provide a quick source of energy, the lethargic brain may cause you to want them so it can get the energy it requires to function optimally. Once I became aware of this information, I started tuning into this connection more and I definitely found that on days when I had not gotten a good night’s sleep the day before, I craved unhealthier foods and I appeared to eat more.
Have a Plan and Work out Specifics
Saying you want to make changes to your eating habits and finally lose that weight is a great first step, but without a specific plan in mind, you will surely falter. You have decided you want to change your eating habits…good for you; but, now you need to figure out some concrete ways that will help you make this intention a reality. If you have decided you want to do things like eat more fruit or have a healthy breakfast every day, how are you going to make that happen? If you want to cook more often at home, how are you going to make sure you have those healthy ingredients on hand? This piece of advice may seem obvious, but getting specific is often a missing piece of the ingredient and vague declarations are not enough to move you into action.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who is passionate about healthy living; she loves being able to write about tips and advice to help people improve their health and live their best life.