Food can be stressful, especially if you're trying to make body composition changes. Sometimes, though, there are things we’re doing that we don’t even realize we’re doing that is causing us to eat more, and less healthy, than we think we are.
5. Do you eat standing up?
A dietician friend of mine once asked me if I ate standing up? I was confused what she meant. I laughed and said, “No, I sit down like a normal person.”
What she actually meant was, when people cook they tend to munch on food as they cook. Often this is because you’re already hungry as you’re cooking, so it’s tempting to graze away as you’re stirring. Then you sit down and eat the appropriate amount on a plate; however, you’ve already consumed a couple hundred calories (or more) snacking before the meal.
Solution: If you’re going to snack while you’re cooking, munch on raw veggies. And if you’re doing a big food prep day, don’t food prep when you’re hungry!
4. Do you shop hungry?
Same goes for shopping. We all know shopping hungry leads to poor choices—things we didn’t intend to buy, but our HANGRY belly gets the worst of us and we fill our carts with less-than-ideal foods.
Solution: Shop after you’ve eaten a meal. Or order your groceries online if you’re susceptible to being an impulse buyer.
3. Do you speed eat?
Eating fast leads to wanting to eat more, because you chewed so fast you barely tasted your food and you want the meal to last longer. Not only that, when you eat fast, it takes longer to realize you’re full: You go from being hungry and devouring too much food, and then 10 minutes later you realize you over consumed.
Eating slowly, on the other hand, will allow you to assess your body more appropriately, enjoying every bite. You’re also more likely to stop when you’re truly 80 percent full instead of stuffing yourself to the brim.
Solution: If you’re not sure how fast you eat, time your next meal: Aim for it to take 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Do you plan your day/week?
We have talked about this before, but not having a plan for lunch or dinner often leads to poor choices. You get home, you’re tired, it’s getting late, and you still haven’t thought about, let alone meal prepped, your dinner. So you open the fridge and eat deli meat and a bag of chips and salsa. Or you order crap Chinese food and feel terrible the rest of the night.
Solution: Food prep ahead of time.
1. Do you wait until you’re famished?
This is a common one I see. You aren’t organized enough to pack a healthy snack, you stay late at work, and suddenly you’re beyond hungry. At that point, all sense of nutrition gets thrown out the window. You get desperate for food, and all you can think about is eating the biggest feast of your life. No bueno. Of course what happens next is bad choices, turbo-speed shovel eating, and then overconsumption. Triple no bueno.
Solution: Food prep and pack snacks ahead of time. Keep some nuts in your bag at all times—healthy fats that satiate hunger quickly.
When it comes to diet, changing seemingly small, unhealthy habits go a long way to helping create big change.