Food is intended for the human body as sustenance and nutrition. That is its only intent. It is meant to give essential nutrients that work to support internal bodily process and feed major organs. It provides us with energy and is essential for the proper physical development of children and keeps adults fit.
Somewhere along the way, we have seriously lost touch with this fact. Of course, the endless rows of goodies at the supermarket, and unlimited choices of junk food have not helped us in any way. Healthy eating still eludes many of us, as America struggles with obesity and lifestyle choices are the leading cause of premature death from diseases like that of the heart that result from them.
You may be continuing unhealthy eating patterns without even knowing it. You may need another wake-up call around ways you can eat healthier to avoid the complications that come from poor nutrition and poor eating habits.
Here 11 signs that indicate you are not engaging in healthy eating habits
1. You Finish Your Meal Before Anyone Else.
If you are the first one done eating at the dinner table, you are probably eating mindlessly and are not enjoying your meal in a healthy way. Chomping down your meal within a few minutes can lead to indigestion in seconds, and this in turn can lead to your becoming overweight.
Instead, eat more slowly and take part in whatever conversation is going on around the table. Your hormonal signal to turn off eating takes about 20 minutes so if you finish much sooner than that, you will feel hungry even when you have taken in enough calories, which typically results in eating more food than you really need.
2. You Eat Food That Has Been Manufactured In A Food Processing Factory.
Instead of cooking with fresh ingredients, you might be choosing to eat pre-processed foods, which are high in preservatives and are often high in salt and/or calories. Take the time to cook a meal with fresh ingredients, which are healthier foods. Find a nice selection of home-prepared meals you can put into your own personal cookbook. When you cook for yourself, you know exactly what has gone into making any meal and you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing what you put into your body.
3l You Shop In The Center Part Of The Grocery Store.
If you find yourself going up and down the center aisles of the grocery store, where canned and processed foods reside and less or no time in the periphery of the store that holds fresh produce, meat, and dairy you are eating foods that are high in preservatives, salt and sugar and NOT real whole food. Remember, food that does not need refrigeration is usually processed (except whole grains of course) Spend more time in the produce section of the grocery store because this leads to eating healthier fruits and vegetables instead of eating unhealthy, processed foods.
4. You Eat Right Out Of The Box Or Carton.
If you find yourself eating potato chips right out of the bag or ice cream out of the carton, you are probably not eating the right portions of food and will have a tendency to eat more food than you had originally intended to eat. This is a sure fire way to obesity. Instead, portion out your foods onto a plate or bowl so that you stop when that portion is gone and save the rest for another meal.
5. You Eat From The Drive Thru Regularly.
Unless you are ordering a salad every time, which most of us don’t, eating from a drive thru regularly is not conducive to good nutrition. Most drive thru restaurants offer fast food, which is greasy, fat filled and lacks any real nutrients. Consider whole food, which is food typically made up one ingredient and unprocessed. Fresh fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are whole foods, and they are not offered at the drive thru.
6. You Eat In Front Of The TV.
When you find yourself drawn toward eating in front of the television, it means you are probably eating mindlessly and not directing your attention to how much you are eating or to the signals your body gives off when you are full. This leads to overeating and obesity. Sit down to your meals and listen to soothing music or to nothing at all. That way you can focus on your meal and not on something else. It seems as one gets older and their children have left home eating in front of the TV is more habit forming.
7. You Eat A Narrow Variety Of Food.
If you just eat the same limited amount of food each day, you stand a good chance of missing some key nutrients in your diet. Fill your menu with different foods so that you can be sure to get the nutrients you need. Colorful plates are healthy, filled with many colors of vegetables and fruit for dessert to get key nutrients from plant foods. Look at the USDA’s Food Groups Chart and make sure to choose foods from each group daily, this is the easiest way to ensure you are eating a well-balanced diet.
8. You Eat To Appease Emotions.
Emotional eating or overeating is always unhealthy. Mainly this takes place when people are bored, lonely, tired, upset, stressed, or angry. It always occurs when one is not truly hungry but is trying to use food to cover up emotions and the food or foods of choice is always junk food. As cocaine, or other illicit drugs junk food stimulates pleasure centers in the brain because it is loaded with sugar, fat or factory created flavoring that holds no nutritional value.
Emotional overeating can be a serious problem that can lead to obesity, depression, guilt, and anxiety over the eating itself. This is one of the most serious unhealthy eating habits and plenty of help is available to address the problem. Unfortunately too many people binge eat or are caught in the trap of gorging themselves and then vomit. If you find you are one of these people please seek help.
9. You Eat Two Or Less Giant Meals Daily.
It is much healthier to eat 5 to 7 small meals each day than to eat two or worse yet one large one. When you eat small meals several times per day you keep the metabolism revved and never let your blood sugars drop. When you starve yourself the whole day and then down a big meal, you put yourself at risk for obesity and you will not maintain optimal energy levels you’re your daily activities. This is called grazing and if you watch animals they have this down pat.
10. You Eat More Calories Daily Than You Burn
The simple formula for weight management and weight loss is to eat less calories than you burn so to create a deficit. This is true for men and women and becomes even more detrimental as we age, and out metabolism slows naturally. Online calorie calculators can determine how many calories you need to either lose or maintain weight based on your age, weight, and activity level.
11. You Eat In Secret.
If you are hiding food, or eating meals in secret so that your spouse, friends or family do not see you, something is wrong. It could be that you have a negative association with your eating habits that you want to keep secret, or you have some guilt or shame attached to eating. In this case, it is important to identify and deal with the issue, a therapist can help.
Eating healthy is not difficult if you follow the tips noted above. Healthy eating means eating mindfully and choosing foods that are best for your body.
The takeaway is simple: Eat To Live… Don’t Live To Eat!
It’s really all about choices, and it’s all in our hands. Take the time to evaluate your diet and eating habits. Make the necessary changes before it is too late, as prevention is worth a thousand cures.
Make small changes every week, instead of drastic shifts where you will feel the biggest impact. Make a list of all the foods you need to cut down on in your diet and keep cutting one out each week.
Certainly, these efforts are worth your while, as life is too short not to enjoy it.
Oh, and before you go check your BMI to see if you are overweight.
Being overweight or underweight puts you at risk for chronic diseases, health conditions, and potentials falls and fractures. Doctors determine weight based on your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is a calculation of your body fat based on your height in inches (centimeters) and weight in pounds (kilos). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), your weight status is determined by your BMI. The levels of weight status are:
You can check your FREE BMI calculation HERE
Thank you for reading and remember your personal growth and development matters and as always,
Keep safe and Be Well.
Many of us like a good cup of Joe at our desks but for some the mere sound of slurping coffee is really annoying. Read about a condition called 'misophonia' affecting people who have an out-sized emotional reaction upon hearing triggering sounds like crunching chips, slurping coffee, sniffling, pre-clicking and more. Read about it here.
We are creatures of habit. Habits are formed first by having an experience – positive or negative - and then acting on that experience; when one consistently acts the same way relative to that experience a habit is formed, and by constantly acting out habits others begin to describe our character. To change a habit, we must feel some ‘tension’ to change i.e. we must value the change more than the habit.
With the advent of technology, we have developed a whole new set of irritable habits. Here are a few examples relating to what I have termed “Smart Phone Telephonites":
texting friends while at work or while driving (which, by the way, is illegal in most places); scrolling and answering emails during meetings; keeping an eye on in-coming calls during a meeting; stepping out of meetings to answer telephone calls; driving with the telephone tethered to one's ear; and, keeping the telephone in hand while socializing, and keeping connected 24/7.
All of these examples are learned habits - and for some, "telephonites” has turned into an addiction. These habits are: "time cheating” habits for those inappropriately texting on the job; "rude" for those keeping their telephone active while in meetings or socializing with others; or down right "dangerous" and unlawful for those driving while texting or talking on their telephone. All of them do some harm to our relations with others.
The good news is that we can change habits. Since habits are learned, they can be "unlearned" and replaced with more appropriate, acceptable and healthier ones. Sometimes, though, our habits are well wired within our psyche and behavior and we might feel it's too hard to change them.
I credit Dr. Wayne Dyer in his book, "Excuses Begone", for outlining an approach for those wishing to change habits. I have used a similar approach in my coaching practice, and have broken it down to four steps: Identify the habit you wish to change, Self-Examine it, Prepare for a New Approach and Commit to Action.
Identify: Often you have some knowledge about a habit you wish to change. You know because you are not satisfied with the way the habit makes you feel. For instance you may not feel right because you: constantly nag, arrive late for appointments, squander time at the water cooler, pick your nose - what ever it is, you don't like it or others have commented on its negative impact.
Give a name to the habit you wish to change. Naming helps clarify and identify with the habit. Use a name that generally describes the habit, for example: nagging, tardiness, squandering, nose-picking.
Once you have identified and named the habit, it's time to examine where it originated.
Self-Examine: Do some soul searching and ask yourself: "Where did the habit come from?" or "How did it come about in the first place?" Here you take ownership of the habit without blaming others. It's your habit, not someone else's. Honestly ask yourself again, "Am I satisfied with this habit?"
If your answer is "yes," you don't have to go any further as you have decided there is no need for change.
If your answer is "no," then ask yourself: would a new habit or approach work better for you than the existing one? Are there positive reasons for changing from the old habit to a new one?
Perhaps you are undecided and you feel it could go either way. In your mind's eye, it's "maybe yes" or "maybe no." Then go with "yes" as you have at least a 50% chance of succeeding, and besides you have nothing to lose.
Finally ask yourself, "What will happen if I continue applying the existing habit?" If you can't foresee any changes or benefits for taking on the "new" than stay put with your existing habit. You are not ready for change.
Once you have decided it's time for change then take the next step.
Prepare. Having named the old habit and examined its origin, it is now time to prepare a new approach. What would your new habit look like? Describe it detail. Visualize it. See yourself living with it. Will people relate to you differently? If your answer is in the affirmative then ask: "Can I make the change? Is it possible? Can I live with it?" Be clear about two things: Does the change make sense to you? and, Can you discipline yourself to make it happen?
Once you have gone through the thinking process then get to the feeling level. Will you feel better with this new habit? Will it make me and others happier? Will I feel more fulfilled? Name your new habit, then let the old one go and move on.
Commit. It's commitment time with a large dose of self-discipline. Yes, you will need to diligently work on the change process. It often takes at least three weeks to change a habit. For some of us, it takes longer. We may be a bit more stubborn or we are wired too tightly to the old habit. The good news is that there are instances where we can make the change almost instantly. An instant change occurs when we have a clear commitment and a strong will to act. This is like someone quitting smoking "cold turkey" - smoking is considered both an addiction and a habit. It isn’t easy to change a habit this way, but it does happen.
Sometimes it isn't easy going it alone. If you find you need some reinforcement then search for a support group or someone close to you who you trust - perhaps someone from your family, circle of friends, or co-workers - to encourage you while you are on the journey. Share with them what you are trying to change and ask them for support. Don't look for someone who will let you off easy. Find someone who will be there when you fall back, support you as you get back on track, and confront you when you become lazy.
Renergize your commitment with positive affirmations. When old habits are deep seated get to your inner spiritual core and call out for help and support - this means calling on a Power beyond yourself; some call this Power, God, and others a Source from which they draw spiritual strength and energy.
Finally, act consistently with your new habit and it will become part of you. People will begin to describe you differently; and, because your new habit is better than the old one you will act with renewed vigour and feel more satisfied.
If your irritable habits fall within the scope of "telephonites" consider one of Priority Workload Management programs. If you start making excuses about commiting your new habit to action read Dr. Wayne Dyer's book 'Excuses Begone."
Author: Richard Fontanie MSW, FCMC, up-date rom the Fontanie Learning Solutions Archieves