A lot of people tend to follow a diet that they picked up somewhere. However, it is often found that regular diets don’t deliver on the results, because (permanent) weight loss hasn’t been achieved.
If you ask me, you can compare dieting with fixing the tire of your bicycle without removing the piece of glass that flattened your tire in the first place. To clarify: dieting targets symptoms, not the true cause.
So what should you be doing to keep the excess fat and weight far away? Simple. Change your eating habits. This article will be discussing some helpful advice regarding unhealthy eating habits and how to keep them at bay.
It’s All About Habits
A lot of people know that certain foods should be avoided. Unhealthy snacks are everywhere, though. It’s tempting and often snacks are consumed without actually realizing it.
This has to do with habits. For example: popping a beer after work with a bowl of chips. Who doesn’t like enjoying life, right?
Right! But consuming all those empty calories, means you will have to exercise more in order to keep the fatty tissues away.
So how does a habit like the one I described come into being?
Think about it this way. We’ve probably all had an experience with a certain food or drink that made us throw up. Even the smell of one such product would then be able to trigger a repulsive reaction. This works both ways.
Say you eat that pack of cookies that make you feel so good. Your body will remember this and it will reward you with a nice feeling.
The next time you even see that same pack of cookies, your brain will send a signal to produce saliva. Your body is literally preparing for its next high, which translate to feelings of hunger. The ability to deny your body this nice feeling will get harder and harder.
And there you have it: a new ‘habit’.
To summarize it bluntly: if you keep feeding a stray cat, it will come back for more.
Look For Distraction
The first tip I can give you, is to look for distraction when you’re craving a certain food. It’s important to prepare for moments of craving. Think of something you can do in advance.
Here are some examples:
- Creative activities
It’s important that you choose something that you like. Also, try to do an activity that doesn’t involve food and begin your activity on time. If you detect cravings and you wait too long, it will become harder and harder to seek distraction.
Habits may be very tough to break. In that case, it’s best to avoid habits or situations that give you cravings in the first place. Remember though, that avoiding all distractions can have the opposite effect, which is that you’ll think about the thing you can’t have.
Track Your Food Intake
This is something that a lot of people find difficult to do. However, it has proven to be an effective method, as it gives you an insight of everything you consume and it allows for the detection of patterns.
- Why are you eating?
- When are you eating?
- What are you eating?
That’s right! You can’t deny yourself all that yummy goodness without rewarding yourself for doing so. It also allows you to track your results and progression. It’s quite easy, too. Write down your daily goals and check them whenever you succeed.
“From now on, I will not consume any snacks after 8:00 pm. Whenever I feel cravings, I am going to read a book. I have placed the book near the couch and I’ll start reading at 7:45 pm.”
- December 15th – Success
- December 16th – Success
And so on…
Yes, this might sound a bit drastic, but rewarding yourself has been proven to be a very effective method in order to teach yourself a new habit.
So, when and how should you treat yourself?
Well, I’d suggest rewarding yourself every week, unless it’s a really hard habit to shake. In that case, you can reward yourself on a daily basis.
Don’t reward yourself with food!
If you’re looking to undo an eating habit, don’t create a new one in the process.
Examples of rewards include:
- Buying yourself an item you like
- Go to the movies
- Draw yourself a warm bath
And so on…
If you are working to undo a habit, make sure that people that are close to you know this. That way, you’ll get emotional support, which can be quite helpful.
For example: it’s so much easier to kick a snacking habit if your partner doesn’t offer them to you.
Just tell your close ones what you’re up to and ask them if they want to take that into account. If you’ve had a rough day and you’re craving a snack, seek help with your close ones. They will help you when you need it.
Accept Feelings of Hunger
“Don’t think about a dancing chihuahua!”. There you go. Chances are you’re thinking about it right now.
If you tell yourself to “not think about food”, chances are you will think about food more and more.
So how do you counter this?
Well, you don’t accept that it’s okay to think about certain things. Just let your thoughts flow. Suppressing them could potentially make your cravings worse.
Kicking a habit can be tremendously hard. It’s possible to succeed, though. It might be that you’re not able to do it alone, and that’s absolutely fine.
Nobody says you have to go at it alone, right?
Right! Talk to the people that are close to you. Ask them for their understanding and support. Try to create a new habit by actively preparing for certain cravings. Track your progress. You can do it!
The human mind can be tricky and it’s difficult to alter habits. Keep at it, though! It will get easier.
Have you ever tried kicking an eating habit? Do you actually want to kick a habit right now? And if so, was this article useful to you?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.