I know it is often easier said that done, but often the key to any healthy eating plan is breaking bad habits. I know because when younger I developed a routine for late night toast and cheese.
So how do you overcome these habits. I have thought of a few tricks that might help.
First of all recognise the habit. Take a moment to consider whether you have them. Do you order a cake with a coffee, snacks with a drink?
Trick your body with a new habit. Take yourself out of the routine. If it is fries with a sandwich, don’t order the sandwich. Order something different. If the habit is toast late at night, try going to bed earlier or replacing the craving with something else. If you routinely call in your favourite cafe coming home from the gym, then plan your day in advance so that you don’t have the time.
Try replacing the habit with exercise. You feel a hunger craving, go for a short walk. With a bit of luck it will turn into a healthy habit.
Eat more slowly. While I am not suggesting slowing it down to the speed of a 5 year old confronted with a plate of vegetables, we are all guilty of multitasking while eating (watching TV, reading the paper, checking our phones). While doing this food is often consumed so quickly the brain doesn’t get the chance to recognise how much food is enough and that it is time to stop eating.
For the mums out there, look to break the habit of finishing the food that the kids don’t eat. It is a habit that I am prone to. Particularly food that has been ordered when eating out.
Concentrate on the bigger picture. Have a mental image of how you want to look for that holiday, at the gym, for that office night out. When feeling weak use that image to replace the cravings. Yes that chocolate may give you a short term buzz, but think how great you will feel in that size 10 dress.
Use the same approach but in reverse to combat the cravings. Research the calorie content of the ‘treats’ and use this to fight the cravings. I recent saw an image of a donut which came with the accompanying message ‘eating this is the equivalent of running for 40 mins’. Next time you crave fast food, change by look at the calorie content of the items and use this as a focus.
Try and adopt a zero tolerance approach. If you know one slice of pizza will result and a second and third slice, then don’t have the first. Don’t open the packet of chips.
Give yourself the best chance of succeeding. It is far easier not to eat the lollies in the desk draw, if they are not there to tempt you. Ensure that others around you also help. Tell your significant other not to swing by the take away on the way home from work.
While these tips may not work for everyone, hopefully you will find some benefit in some of the suggestions.
Please let me know what works for you guys.