Are You Eating to Live?

Have you ever really asked yourself the question, “Do I eat to live or live to eat?” It’s amazing how so many people really live to eat thinking any food is better than no food.  But what you put in your mouth today will have an effect on you body for a long time.

Certainly you have foods that that you particularly enjoy. These are most often comfort foods that are hard to give up. Not all of these are bad for you, in fact, some can be highly nutritious.  But if you make food choices that aren’t the best on a regular basis, here are some suggestions for making changes.

1. Don’t Set Yourself Up. It’s common to sabotage your eating habits when you grab whatever is available when you are hungry instead of stopping to prepare a proper snack or meal. For instance, if you just happen to have a box of chocolate cookies in your desk drawer when you’re ravishing, it’s too easy to reach for them when stressed or you think you are hungry.

2. Stay away from the grocery store when hungry. Being around food when you’re hungry is a key to eating sabotage. You might have the intention to only get a few things at the grocery store but when your stomach us empty, it is easy to abandon the pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have to be prepared for the fried chicken wings at the deli that you can eat in the car on the way home.

3. Don’t snack while cooking. This habit that many of us have can be a real diet killer. It is really bad around the holidays. Depending on how much you snack you could consume an entire meal worth of calories before you sit down to eat the actual meal. Even if you are cooking a healthier meal, you can eat too much before the meal is even served.

4. Change one food habit at a time. Taste is a learned behavior and difficult to change.  Don’t force yourself to go cold turkey in giving up foods but take it in steps.  For instance, if you enjoy eating full-fat ice cream as well as macaroni and cheese, you know you need to cut back.  Don’t drop them both at once; just give up one food at a time. You can start by eating a lower fat version of the food such as a lower fat alternative.

5. Get a Coach. A Health, Wellness or Nutrition Coach can help you to understand how to eat in a way that becomes a new lifestyle, not just for a diet. Coaching can help you get rid of your bad or annoying habits through a series of positive supports provided during your sessions.

6. Make a plan. It is not enough to say that you will change your bad eating habits. That is a vague statement that gets you nowhere. You have to write it down and commit to it. For example, say that you will begin eating whole grains instead of white bread, or using lower fat dairy products over full-fat ones with more calories.

7. Keep a food journal. Record everything that you eat for a week. When you go back to it you may be amazed at all of the sweet, salty or fatty foods you consumed. Use the journal to create a list of the foods that are and are not healthy for you so you can make a plan to make changes.

We don’t always make the best food choices. Use the suggestions here to get in the habit of eating healthier.