Changing bad eating habits you may have had all your life is tough sledding and many times overwhelming. It’s hard to change something that you like to do–even if the change is for the better.
Some people are able to make major nutritional changes “cold turkey.” Some need to take baby steps. More of us fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Either way, you are making needed changes and making progress towards your goals.
One huge mistake many make is to compare their fat loss progress with others. Every person is different. Two people following the same program can get different results. You may need a trainer to personalize your program.
Here’s 7 pointers to improve your eating habits:
1. Add whole, natural foods to your menu that you like. You are more likely to stay with a menu loaded with foods you like. I am amazed at some of the “healthy menus” in some magazines. Do people really eat that stuff! Find whole, natural foods that you like and get rid of the foods that are bad for you (interpreted “adds fat to your body”).
Whole, natural foods have one ingredient, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. And, they are many times nutritional and low-calorie.
2. If you eat a “cheat food” one day, its not the end of the world. Just get back on your menu track right away. If you stay with your nutrition program 90% of the time, you will do just fine.
3. A good tactic to use: challenge your accountability partner to “eat-no-bad-food days.” That way, you keep each other in check. Never try to do an exercise and nutrition plan by yourself. Personal trainers, spouses and workout buddies are good accountability partners.
4. List in your food journal items you will not eat/or severely limit like: sodas, sugary fruit juice drinks, candy, cookies, donuts, fried meats and fried foods, fast foods, foods in a box/bag, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.
5. Right next to that “bad food list,” write down good food items you will replace them with like: oatmeal, almonds, walnuts, low-fat dairy products, low-fat yogurt, fruits, veggies, unsweetened tea, salad greens, water, lean meats (baked, broiled or grilled), olive oil, cinnamon, mustard, etc. Remember, make a list of foods you like. This replacement tactic works well.
6. Starvation tactics never work long-term. It just slows the fat burning process
Your body relies on the nutrients in food for fuel. When you starve yourself, it senses the downward shift in your caloric intake and kicks into starvation mode. When this happens, your metabolism will slow down and your body will hold on to stored fat in order to conserve energy.
Lean muscle mass needs more energy to function than fat. Basically, the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. If you continue to starve yourself, your body will feed on your lean muscle tissue and make it even harder for you to lose weight.
The weight lost from starvation diets almost always comes back. As soon as you start eating again, you’ll likely regain all of the weight you lost, plus a few extra pounds. In the end, you’ll wind up bigger than you were before you started starving.
7. You may need professional help with an eating disorder. Its no shame to seek help.
It’s not uncommon for extremely calorie-restrictive dieters to struggle with depression, anger, indifference, memory loss, poor concentration, hallucinations and mood swings. Starvation can also increase your chances of suffering with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.