It’s a no brainer: our diet influences our health, but many of us are tied up in unhealthy eating habits that are putting our health and well-being at risk.
With obesity rates soaring, now is the time to change our diets. While for many this may seem daunting – especially as ‘dieting’ drums up the idea of a painful elimination of favourite foods – it can actually be relatively straightforward.
Rather than simply cutting out unhealthy foods, getting healthy is more about cutting out unhealthy habits. As dietitian, Lynne Garton explains: “Eating well is not about focusing on one part of your diet, it’s about the whole package. When you change your eating patterns it can have a profound effect.”
So we have found these great ways to help you change your eating habits in seven days:
Get more sleep
Sleep deprivation has been proven to make people eat up to an extra 600 calories a day. Tackling this may seem obvious – get more sleep – but it’s more important to address the quality rather than quantity of sleep. Take time to relax in the evening before bed, avoid caffeine and alcohol late at night and keep a consistent sleep schedule every night to help induce better sleep.
Take it to a table
Eating at a table away from distractions such as the TV or computer screen will help you consume fewer calories. This is because not concentrating on your food can make you oblivious to the amount you eat – and when food becomes the focus, you are likely to eat less.
Beware of the booze
Alcohol is second only to fat in terms of calories. Drinking during a meal switches off the ‘I’m full’ signal, which means you will still be hungry after finishing. Try to limit alcohol to a couple of nights a week to prevent it wreaking havoc on your diet.
Fast food joints are designed to make you eat and exit quickly, and when you consume food at a fast pace you will feel less full and thus tempted to eat more. Avoid these venues if you are trying to lose weight, and choose to dine in restaurants that have quieter music, dimmed lighting and comfortable seating.
Eat for the right reasons
Many of us will eat when we are bored or feeling emotional rather than when we are actually hungry. It is important to recognise the difference between the two, so wait 20 minutes to see if the cravings pass before eating anything.
Stock up wisely
Resisting temptation won’t be easy if your cupboards are stocked with sweets and nibbles. Make sure these are removed from your cupboards and go shopping with a ready-made list to ensure you buy only what you need. You should buy enough to cook three meals a day and enjoy a couple of healthy snacks – skipping breakfast will not help you to save calories.
Fill your plate properly
Everything in moderation is key to a balanced diet and weight management. This includes filling your plate with the right portions of different food groups – half should be dedicated to fruits and vegetables, a quarter to starchy foods such as rice, pasta and bread, and the other quarter to protein. Do not overload your plate.