The 3 Eating Habits To Change Right Now
As we continue with a focus on nutrition during March, which is National Nutrition Month, we need a few simple solutions to help us get started with habits that will have a positive impact on our health. Too much change all at once can be a roadblock, but with these three simple changes, we can get started today, with minimal effort.
1. Drink Water
We can’t really say enough about the need for drinking more water. Unfortunately, too many people have gotten so far out of the habit of drinking water that they don’t actually like plain water. Flavored waters are very popular now, because we have become used to what we drink having taste, flavor, and sweetness.
Nothing beats plain water. It’s great for our teeth and it’s great for our bodies. Even if the added flavoring claims to have no calories, it still might contain dyes and other additives that are not good for us, nor will it help us re-learn (if we’ve gotten that far from it) to like plain water.
Drinking enough water is often a key element in weight loss, at the very least because it helps our body function better all around. Oddly enough, sometimes when we feel hungry, it might actually be a sign of dehydration. When hunger pangs strike, start with water first and then see if the feeling of hunger still persists.
2. Don’t Go For Too Full
Overeating means we eat past the point where we feel satiated. Feeling full is almost too much. Uncomfortably full is far past the mark.
Eating more slowly can help, as it gives our body a chance to “catch up” and helps us learn to identify when we’re full early on, and stop eating. Gobbling our food quickly usually leads to a moment when we know we’re extremely full and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Snacking less also helps in learning to identify when we are truly hungry. Snacking often usually means we’re eating when we’re not even hungry, or, worse, eating because we’re bored. Sometimes we eat out of habit at our desk at work or in front of the TV. If the habit of snacking is proving difficult to break, pick a snack that is healthy. Perhaps if it isn’t as sugary and salty, we won’t continually be driven back to eating it. As always, it is important to drink water after eating to keep acid and decay from ruling in our mouth. The more we snack, the more we need to remember this.
3. Less is More
Food portion sizes are completely skewed in this modern age of abundance, a process that began happening in the 1980’s. Coca-Cola bottle sizes grew from the classic bottle size of 6.5 ounces to the “large” 10 and 12 oounce sizes in the 1950’s. A 20-oz. bottle of soda is now common and regularly consumed by one person! Consider how much food now arrives on our plate at any restaurant. No one needs to eat that much in one sitting.
When eating out, don’t finish the entire meal. Leave half, or take half home. Order the smallest size of anything, whether food or drink, whenever possible. Share a full entree with a friend, asking for an extra plate. Skip the appetizer and/or the side.
We consumers are partly to blame. We want to feel like we’re getting our money’s worth, so we like to see a large amount of food for our dollar. However, the effect it is having on our health is extremely detrimental: obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, just to name a few. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for some tips and ideas on portion sizes.
Order less, eat less, and stop eating before we feel full. Chase it all down with water. Three simple habits we can all start creating today towards a healthy tomorrow.