For most of us, staying fit and svelte (or becoming that way!) is something we think about often. Though trying a bunch of crazy diets or cleanses isn’t the way to go. People become obsessed with WHAT they are eating and don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about HOW they are eating. Your eating habits are terribly underrated and overlooked when it comes to achieving optimal health and a killer body.
The changes you make to your diet and eating habits don’t need to be big ones, either! And you don’t need to make all the changes all at once. There is nothing wrong with starting small and building out from there. Even small changes are positive changes. And positive changes have a way of turning into other positive changes. Be kind to yourself, cut yourself a little slack, and check out these 8 little changes you can make to create a happier and healthier you:
1. 80% Rule
It can take your body upwards of 20 minutes to register that it is full. If you only eat until you are 80% full, you will avoid that bloated and overstuffed feeling. It will also go a long way to helping your body process and digest your meal.
2. Start with the Veggies
Start with the healthy stuff. Fill your plate with as many vegetables as possible and then you will have less room for the less healthy choices. When eating, if you begin with your vegetables, you start to fill up on these nutritionally dense morsels and avoid the tendency to overeat or eat past being full.
3. The 9 p.m. Rule
This is exactly as it sounds. Don’t eat after 9 p.m. The later you stay up, the longer it takes your body to process food. If you must eat at night, make sure you are eating something light and not too filling.
4. Start the Day Right
You’ve heard it about a million times by now: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you eat a big, healthy breakfast you will get the fuel you need to carry you through your daily activities. And don’t forget the protein! Eating a healthy dose of protein in the morning can not only give you energy, it can help you lose weight!
Drinking water is absolutely an essential part of keeping your system working. If you drink a big glass water before you eat a meal, you will be less likely to overeat. Also, keeping yourself hydrated is key for keeping your metabolism running as it should.
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6. Don’t Cut Out Foods
Sometimes, completely cutting out a particular food can lead to major binge eating down the road. Feeling deprived is never a good thing. So, if you were thinking of cutting out sugar, for example, try just cutting back. Limit yourself to a square or two of dark chocolate a night. It will prevent you from overdoing it on your favorite sweets.
7. Avoid Dieting
Diets can be stressful, which can cause them to backfire. If you are really serious about changing the way you eat, look at it as a lifestyle change and not a chore. Cleaning up your food choices isn’t nearly as difficult as diets make them seem! Just make smarter choices as often as possible. If you are someone who needs a little more structure than that, try a meal plan instead of a diet. The BodyRock Meal Plan, for example, offers 30 days of delicious real food options with an included nutrition guide to help you better understand the shifts you are being asked to make. The BodyRock Meal Plan gives you all the tools you need to make healthier food choices, every day, for the rest of your life. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!
8. Take Your Time
Take a moment to prepare yourself healthy meals and snacks using beautiful, fresh, whole ingredients. Yes, it will take you a little longer than just popping a frozen dinner in the microwave, but it will be totally worth it! It is also a good idea to slow down while you are eating. Put your fork down between bites. Chew your food. It will force you to stop and appreciate what you are eating while giving your brain a chance to register that you are full. Eating is not a race!
Having proper eating habits is essential for a healthier lifestyle. These changes are small, but will take some discipline. Sometimes old habits are tough to break. Be kind to yourself. It can be overwhelming to try to make all the changes at once. Pick one or two and start there. Work on them until you are doing them without thought, then add another. You can do it!
Which of these habits would you adopt first?