Changing your lifestyle is not easy. It can be anything from changing your daily routine to changing your diet. Personally, I'm trying to change my diet. Nothing too drastic but still enough to be slightly a challenge. I'm trying to cut out all fast food and sugary drinks from my diet. Not that I need to but I want to be healthier. It doesn't always help that I'm a picky eater so I'm still trying to find foods that I like to replace the ones I'm currently eating. One thing I've been doing to help is to reduce the amount of times I could out for lunch when I'm downtown. Or if I go out, I have to eat something healthy.
If you're planning on changing your diet here are some tips that could help you:
More water and less sugary drinks
Though juice, energy drinks, soft drinks, sports drink, and coffees may be delicious. Often times, you are overloading your body on sugars and calories. Also caffeinated drinks are not as re-hydrating as pure water. Water also helps with your digestion, so overall it's just a win.
Keep Portions in Mind
This one you have properly heard a lot, but it's true. You need to keep serving sizes in mind. Because what you think would be a serving, might actually be two or three. So knowing what an actual serving looks like is important. Some other things to keep in mind to help control your portions are:
- Take your time eating, believe it or not taking your time actually tricks your mind into thinking you're eating more. Something you eat fast might fill you up but you don't realize just how much you ate whereas you would if you went slower.
- If you're eating something that came in a bag, take out what you want and put it onto a plate.
- Avoid mindless eating when on the computer or while watching TV.
- Buy single-sized proportions.
Chewing a minty gum or using some type of mint lotion can also help as it suppresses your appreciate. A study done by Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found that individuals who inhaled or consumed minty ate 3,000 less calories a week.
Now we eat to gain energy, but we need to keep in mind what type of energy we're getting from our foods. High sugary foods may give us energy, but will lead to the inevitable sugar crash. This is due to how the sugar or glucose is released into our bloodstream. Junk food releases it right away but it doesn't sustain us throughout the rest of the day. Whereas, fruits and fish release the glucose at a much steadier rate so we stay energized longer.
The other thing to keep in mind when considering energy levels is what is also going to keep you full so you're not consuming extra food just to "feel full." Junk food like cookies, donuts, french fries, and candy bars may give you the energy you are looking for right away but you're going to keep consuming them just to have the same sense of fullness as you would if you were eating oranges, apples, or meat. This often will put you over the recommended calorie level for the day, and can lead to weight gain (depending on your metabolism).
Though we all love fast foods and junk food, we can't have this as our main source for our dietary income. Now there are mixed opinions on what some people call, "Cheat days." Where they can have anything they want on just that one day. In my opinion, this is not something you should do because it's a negative thought process. You then start out those days with a bad mindset that everything you are eating is wrong and you should feel terrible about what you're doing. This also sets you up to ultimately fail. If you only can have something on one day, then you're going to consume it like crazy before you take yourself off it until "Cheat Day" comes back up. But if you say, instead of having one beer a day I'll only have two beers a week. You still get to have the food item that you enjoy without feeling guilty for having it.
Don't Quit Cold Turkey
Deciding to change your eating habits is not easy, what makes it even worse is completely changing your diet overnight. This is how we often end up failing because it's too drastic of a change at once. You need to retrain yourself on new eating habits. Take it one day at a time and work your way up to the completely new diet. Start out with one week going three days on the new and improved diet, then add a day every week until you're eating healthy almost every day. Change as needed. This helps avoid any guilt in chance you slip up on the new diet. You are breaking one habit and trying to replace it with a new one.
There is no set length in how long it takes to form or break a habit. It's different for everyone, but do what's best for you.