We’ve all got those certain foods that we can just go cray-cray for, right? Coffee. Sugar. Bread. Chocolate. Pasta. Hot chips. Wine. It can be very easy to slip into over indulging, but even harder to break bad eating habits!
Don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you to never ever eat those foods again. Here at The Whole Food Guide we believe in the 80/20 rule – nourish your body 80% of the time and enjoy those treats (like this, this, these and definitely this) for the remaining 20% of the time. It’s all about creating a good balance that you can happily sustain for life.
But what happens when those ‘bad habits’ creep back into your daily diet? It can really throw off how you’re feeling, your energy, your digestion and worst of all – hinder the results you’re working towards.
So if you’re feeling like you need to crack that coffee addiction, quit the sugar cravings or cease the chocolate munching – here’s 11 ideas to help.
11 ways to break bad eating habits
1. Be aware.
Honestly, this sounds rather simple and a little obvious, but if you aren’t aware of what you are putting in your mouth, then you are in no position to make choices. So take the time to stop and look at what you are eating each day.
This one is pretty simple too. Next time you feel the urge to snack on something after dinner (or any time of day for that matter) wait 20 minutes. Often the craving will subside.
3. Lock your fridge.
Seriously. Ok not seriously. Alright, that’s a little intense, but how about putting a little note on the fridge door, or pantry for yourself. Try “Are you really hungry?” or “Is eating going to help you reach your goals?” or “You look bored, not hungry!” – whatever you feel will stop you long enough to make a conscious decision and break the habit.
4. Time for tea.
Try some tea! Some of my favourites are spearmint, peppermint, blueberry, chamomile, and any of the Tazo or Yogi range. It’s very soothing sipping a hot drink. I particularly like making a pot of tea so I can pour it out into the cup, this action alone makes it feel more like a treat.
5. Drink water.
Sometimes we feel hungry when we are actually thirsty. Try drinking a large glass of water first before reaching for a snack. Mix it up with fresh lemon or lime, some spearmint flavoured chlorophyll or even sparkling water for a special treat.
6. Brush those chompers.
The perfect solution for stopping the after-dinner-snack-attacks! Brushing your teeth soon after dinner signals to your brain that you are getting ready for bed, winding down and have stopped eating for the day. Plus food really doesn’t taste good after toothpaste has been in your mouth!
7. Distract yourself.
Mindless eating is quite common. This is another one where you can try distracting yourself first. Go and do something that requires focus – read a book, go for a walk around the block, Netflix and squat, stretch or do some Yoga, have a relaxing bath. Anything to stop the eating habit cycle in its tracks.
Try chromium picolinate, L-glutamine or L-carnitine in the short term (please seek medical advice first of course). Many of our clients tell us that they have far less cravings the longer they are eating Juice Plus daily too.
9. Find the real reason WHY.
Food for can hold a sort of emotional power, we can have preferences for foods from our childhood or associate other tastes with bad memories. Although there is physiological reasons for cravings, often if you break the mental association you are at least half way there. Think about if there is a real reason why you are eating. Are you fueling and nourishing your body or are you simply tired, stressed, a bit down or does that peanut butter jelly sandwich make you feel happy like a kid?! Check out these emotional eating tips.
10. Go to bed!
If you are asleep then you aren’t eating! The other important side to this is that when you are tired you get hungrier. When you don’t get enough sleep, your ghrelin levels become elevated. Ghrelin is a hormone created in the stomach to signal your brain to feel hungry; when elevated we are hungrier and as it drops we feel satiated. Plus a lack of sleep also increases cortisol which is not good for when you are trying to burn fat. A good night’s rest = less hunger + more fat burning.
11. Nourish first.
Last but definitely not least – make sure you’re eating a nourishing, whole-food diet and not starving yourself! Don’t follow some fad diet and expect your “willpower” to hold up. You’re far less likely to get cravings or eat junk food if you’re nice and full from a healthy meal already. Be prepared and don’t let yourself end up in situations where you’re hungry and there isn’t healthy options around (which is why I always have a plant-based shake in my bag!).