Changing Eating Habits

Old habits die hard!

Food shopping just a routine? Reaching for the same supersized sharing snack packs at the supermarket? Most of us are creatures of habit. We shop in the same places, have very similar shopping lists from week to week and usually cook very similar meals. To be honest, it works really well for most of us – with a busy life, it just makes things easier.

This becomes an issue when you decide you want to lose weight: your well stocked store cupboards full of favourite treats become a trap for the unwary. So when you make your cup of coffee, you automatically reach for the biscuits. One leads to two and then before you know it you’ve fairly mindlessly eaten an extra 300 calories. This wouldn’t be so bad but it leads to spikes and troughs in your sugar levels. Rather than making you feel satisfied, the next trough stimulates a need to eat something else equally as enticing!

If you’re serious about eating healthier, and perhaps even trying to lose some weight, a good place to start is to empty those store cupboards and change your usual treats for healthy alternatives. Start to think differently not just about your meals but about your overall lifestyle.

These are our top six tips for change:

  • Try not to skip breakfast – it fuels you for the day.
  • Plan your meals and, just as importantly, plan your snacks.
  • Think about portion size. Use scales for a while to measure out portions, then try to visualise the amount you need, not the amount you are used to.
  • Work out where your empty calories are coming from and replace them with healthy alternatives. For example, replace sweet biscuits with fruit, raw veggies or a small portion of healthy nuts.
  • Try to get enough quality sleep – it really helps keep you strong the next day.
  • Work out what will motivate you to stay on track.

It helps if you can identify your high risk situations and plan for them, for example, family meals out, or that all you can eat buffet. If you have a plan, you can make sure you don’t blow all your good work.

Be patient and kind with yourself. If you do end up having something from your list of foods to avoid, give yourself a break. It’s just one slip: all is not lost.

Above all, see this as a life change, not a diet. Reprogramme yourself to enjoy your new style of eating so it becomes less of a chore, and more of a lifestyle choice.

To help prevent relapse and make sure you maintain progress, share your journey with a friend or family member who can encourage you to stay with it. They’ll celebrate those moments with you when you get into that item of clothing you’ve always loved but not been able to wear for years, safe in the knowledge that it will also be back in fashion!