Clean and healthy eating is more than just meal choices. While it is important to choose the healthier options, there are many small habits we can make to have healthier bodies. How you eat is just as important as what you eat.
Most of us had a parent or grandparent tell us to clean our plate because there are starving people out there. Other than the faulty logic of encouraging gluttony because others are starving, this has also created unhealthy eating habits in many people.
In our last post, we covered how having sanitary habits, such as washing hands using alcohol hand wipes, before eating is necessary. Today, let's look at what little habits we can do while eating to remain healthy and happy.
According to the CDC, we need to reflect on the negative eating habits that we have before we can really consider the ways we can improve.
First, take an honest look at the ways you eat. Keep a log for a couple days to a week of what you eat and specifically when and how you eat it. This is going to help you see little habits you have such as snacking during lulls in your daily activities. Noting what you were feeling and thinking while seeking out food will also help you notice triggers such as boredom or anxiety.
Take a look at how you are eating. Are you shoveling your food in as quickly as possible while you work on that data report? Are you standing at the counter while scrolling through your phone? Are you skipping meals? How often is your phone part of your meals? A lot of these habits lead to mindless eating, which means it’s possible to over eat. How much we intake past necessity can be the real culprit in weight gain.
We often eat out of boredom or just because something looks good. Figuring out why you’ve got these habits will help you address how to break them.
Once you’re aware of your habits, it is time to create new ones. This will be easier said than done. For instance, if you find yourself speed eating and trying to cram in your lunch in a 15 minute window, try to carve out more time in the day for your lunch. If that is absolutely not an option, then having two smaller lunches can be a solution. Rather than trying to fit in a whole meal, try having only a portion of it, and then eating the other portion at a different part of the day. The small amounts might assist you in eating slower.
If you find yourself speed eating when there is no reason for it, such as being at home without work to do, then try to consciously slow yourself down. Set your fork down between bites. This act alone will slow you down. You should also limit distractions. Watching TV while eating means you’re not considering how much you are eating.
New habits will take time to develop. It’s important to remain diligent and keep thinking about your eating habits until you’ve got good ones that will become automatic and true habits.
Try to put grandma’s insistence that you clean your plate out of your head. You don’t need to eat every bite just because it’s there. This is how you end up overeating and thus gaining weight. Remember, you want clean hands, not an empty plate.