What you eat can have a tremendous impact on your sleep health and overall wellbeing. One of the most challenging aspects of adopting a healthier lifestyle is recognizing and correcting potentially unhealthy eating habits you may not realize you have. Here are seven eating habits that may be standing in your way of a healthier lifestyle.
This unhealthy eating habit may not be obvious at first, especially if those around you eat just as fast. When we eat too fast we aren’t giving our brains enough time to register that we’re full. Make a conscious effort to pause between bites—you may be surprised at how quickly you fill up!
Aren’t our eyes always bigger than our stomach? Another unhealthy eating habit is our tendency to load our plate up with more food than we need and then feel compelled to eat it all. Take a second to pause and ask yourself “am I still hungry?” and respect that boundary, regardless of what’s still on your plate. You can also try eating off smaller plates and make it a habit to store leftovers.
Just because it’s noon, doesn’t mean you need to eat lunch. Get into the habit of eating when you feel hungry, and recognize this may be at “odd” times throughout your day. In addition, it helps to be mindful that sometimes we think we’re hungry when we’re actually feeling another emotion such as anxiety, sadness, or boredom. Read tip #4 for more on that.
When you find yourself reaching for comfort food, pause and reflect on your current emotional state. Are you bored or stressed? Try drinking a large glass of water and waiting 10-15 minutes. You may find you’re no longer hungry and you were instead looking for food to comfort you.
Side note, it’s ok to find comfort in food! However, speak with your doctor if you begin to have an unhealthy fixation with comfort foods or if they begin to negatively affect your health.
One of the harder unhealthy eating habits to break involves reducing your sugar consumption. According to the American Heart Association, men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day. Women should aim for less than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day. For perspective, consider that the average can of soda has 8-10 teaspoons.
Eat desserts—including sugary drinks—in moderation and always read the labels.
Your chances of caving and ordering fast food for a quick meal are much higher when you haven’t planned your meals ahead. You’re also more likely to impulsively order too much food. Meal planning and prepping for the week can be a life-changing addition to your lifestyle.
Unhealthy eating habits are even harder to break when you’re doing it alone. Encourage the entire family to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Try cooking together, taking family walks after dinner, and meal prepping.
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