Changing your eating habits

Changing your eating habits

Building a good habit doesn’t happen overnight and it’s especially difficult in the beginning stages.  It requires the right knowledge and a good routine.  Start slowly and build one good habit at a time.  Once you’re comfortable with your eating habits, you will have the confidence to add some flexibility and spontaneity to the mix.

Don’t deprive yourself

Depriving yourself entirely of certain foods is likely to result in over-indulgence in the long-term.  The key is moderation.  Enjoy certain ‘treat’ items occasionally rather than removing them from your diet altogether. That said, if you have an intolerance to a particular food or an ingredient in food, it’s important that you consult with a registered Dietitian to ensure that you are knowledgeable about which foods to avoid and when.   In some cases, it’s related to the quantity of a particular ingredient and not necessarily the specific food itself.  A Dietitian will be able to advise you accordingly, ensuring that you acquire all the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

Steps to health 

Often simply removing refined foods (those typically high in added sugar like confectionary items, sweets and cooldrinks) from one’s diet will result in significant benefits in the short-term, including weight loss and improved energy levels.  Do a re-con of your existing eating habits and highlight just one significant change that you could make, such as reducing the amount of sugar you consume on a daily basis.  The better you start feeling, the easier it will become to make other changes to your diet.  If you’re not sure what changes you should or need to make, consult with a Dietitian, who will be able to advise you on the best approach.

Eating out 

Eating out is often the number one challenge when trying to eat healthier.  The first step is to make sure that you don’t arrive at the restaurant with a growling stomach!  It is unlikely that you will be able to make the right choices when you’re ravenous.  Perhaps have a fruit before you leave.  Plan ahead and where possible, decide beforehand what you’re going to eat.  Remember to drink plenty of water during the course of the evening and if the portions are super-sized, ask for a doggy-bag and eat the rest for dinner or lunch the next day.  Go for the grilled options where possible and consider sharing a meal with a friend.

Time of day 

Research shows that eating a good breakfast in the morning is likely to prevent you from over-indulging later on in the day and your total calorie intake for the day is likely to be less.  By skipping meals you end up being ravenous when you do finally sit down to eat, resulting in large portion sizes and spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels which, in turn could increase your risk of developing diabetes and other conditions down the line.  The key is to prevent excessive spikes and dips in blood sugar levels by eating small, regular meals, with the right combination of unrefined carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats.  Eating at night isn’t a problem, as long as you stick to the game plan.

Cravings 

Most people experience a craving in response to low blood sugar levels and if put in a situation where there’s a quick fix available, it takes tremendous will-power to fight off the temptation to indulge.

It’s a well-known fact that shopping on an empty tank is a recipe for disaster – the same applies when you’re at home and have a well-stocked treats cupboard in the kitchen – our will-power is almost non-existent when we’re experiencing a dip in blood sugar levels and by stocking your cupboards with all kinds of delectable treats, you’ll only make the situation worse – when you’re ravenous, who  would stop and make themselves a healthy snack when there’s chocolates and chips beckoning in the cupboard?

So the message is simple – avoid getting into a situation where your blood sugar levels drop too low and if you do, don’t make it easier for yourself to succumb to the craving by stocking ‘treat’ foods at home or going to the shops or out for a meal on an empty tank.

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