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Changing Your Eating Habits

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Evidence has shown humans always consume more food and calories when there is more choice on offer. For example, have you ever been at a buffet style meal where its “eat all you can” no matter how much we eat there always seems to be room for one more item maybe that delicious looking dessert or ice cream!

 

Many diets in the past have been based on a similar principle, the cabbage soup diet, the vegetable diet, etc.

 

Health experts state always eat a balanced diet which may seem to contradict the above statement. However, it is possible to select a balanced diet and lower amount of choice for each meal by eating regular small meals.

 

How can I change my eating habits?

Change them one at a time. For example, start by training yourself to eat without doing anything else at the same time. Focus on enjoying the taste and smell of your food by eating more slowly. Don't watch TV, talk on the phone or drive a car while you eat.

 

Healthy Eating Habits

  • Eat breakfast.

  • Eat your biggest meal of the day at lunchtime.

  • Begin meals with a low-fat salad, soup, broth or a glass of water.

  • Eat more vegetables and whole grains at each meal.

  • Drink fewer sugar-sweetened beverages (such as regular soda and fruit juice).

  • If you drink more than one regular soda per day, replace one of them with a diet soda, water or skim milk.

  • Limit your alcohol intake.

  • Know what 1 serving looks like -- and stick to it.

  • Eat slowly so your body has time to know when you are full.

  • Be more active in your daily life.

  • Replace some of the sugar in your diet with non-caloric sweeteners

  • Get support from family and friends. Support is very important for long-term success in adopting healthy habits.

 

Avoiding foods that are high in fat and added sugar

Foods that are high in fat and added sugar have lots of calories. Fat has almost twice the calories of carbohydrates and protein. Also, compared with calories that come from carbohydrates or proteins, calories that come from fat are more easily used by your body to make body fat.

 

Foods high in calories from fat and/or added sugar:

  • Pastries, doughnuts, cakes, cookies, sweet rolls, pies

  • Most crackers and chips

  • Cheeses

  • Cooking oils, margarine, butter, lard, shortening

  • Cream, ice cream

  • Fried foods, hot dogs and luncheon meats

  • Regular soda and fruit-flavored juices

 

Why is skipping meals not helpful?

Though skipping meals may work for a while, it backfires in the long run. When you skip a meal, you are likely to get too hungry, and then you may eat too much at once.

 

What can I do when my friends or family members pressure me to eat?

Sometimes a direct explanation and a request for support are enough to get people to understand that you're trying to improve your health habits. If that doesn't work, telling them it's your "doctor's orders" may do the trick. If not, you may have to avoid those people until you feel comfortable enough with your new habits to handle the pressure.


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