My daughter and I were talking about habits today and how hard it can be to break bad habits and start new ones.
Are there some habits you’re trying to change?
Healthy habits seem to be the hardest ones to start. Especially when it comes to eating.
We begin our week with determination to start eating healthier and end up heading to the chips or cookies before the day is over.
Why is it so hard to start healthy habits?
When we try to switch out junk food for healthier foods, it can prove to be a struggle.
There are a few reasons why this is so difficult to do, and even better, there are several tricks you can implement to get over that hump.
Here’s my favorite tricks to breaking the junk food habit and beginning to eat more whole foods...
Gradually cutback on the junk food
Junk food is loaded with sugar, and your body gets hooked on it. In fact, sugar has the same addictive properties as cocaine.
Start by cutting down on these junk foods that are currently in your diet. You’ll get less of a high from them, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy eating goals. Start by taking the sugar out of your coffee, or by switching out your snacks each day with a healthy snack. Whatever small step you choose, stick with it until you’re comfortable with your new healthy habit — then move on to your next healthy habit. It works like a charm!
Never buy foods with more than five ingredients
Do you read the ingredient labels of the foods you buy?
This is a habit that will benefit you for years to come.
In today’s market, the grocery aisles are filled with products screaming “Natural”, “100% Pure”, “Healthy” and more. Even the packaging has been designed to make you believe you’re buying a healthy product.
Don’t believe it.
Read the ingredient labels of the foods you buy. When you pick up a product that proclaims “All Natural” and it has more ingredients than a 3rd grade reader, put it back.
The healthiest food choices will have five or less ingredients. If there are ingredients that you can’t pronounce, then put it back on the shelf and look for a healthier alternative.
Add more colors and textures to your plate
A salad is impossible to eat if you just throw soggy lettuce in a bowl. Instead, make it a rainbow of colors and a playground of textures. Add tomatoes, colorful peppers, crunchy nuts, and even a bit of goat cheese to please your palate.
Break your bad habit cycles
Do you find yourself at the office vending machine at 3:00 in the afternoon?
That was my normal routine, a soda and a pack of crackers, chips or microwave popcorn was my go-to afternoon snack.
If that’s your afternoon routine, it’s time to break the association with that by starting a healthier habit. Take a walk that keeps you away from that vending machine, for example. It will only take a few weeks to replace that old bad habit with a good one, and you’ll be feeling so good about your swapped habit that you’ll be ready to tackle your next habit swap.
Make healthy foods more accessible
You’re more likely to eat right when you’ve got a healthy snack ready to go. Bag up portions of mixed nuts, make your own trail mix, and keep cut up veggies with hummus around and you’ll always have a healthy go-to snack.
Don’t keep junk food in the house
To make the switch complete, keeping those junky items out of your house is best. That way if you get a craving at midnight, you won’t be willing to run out and get it. You’ll train yourself to save sweets and treats for special occasions instead of for late night snacks.
Allow yourself to be disgusted
A great way to make the change to eating less processed foods is to really learn what’s in them. Go ahead, pull those packaged foods out and research the labels. Look up all the ingredients you can’t pronounce. They sound much less delicious now, don’t they?
Be patient and kind with yourself, too. Your inner voice needs your nurturing to make this change for the better.