We know the rules to healthy eating: have regular meals, lay off processed food, and have everything in moderation. However, the path to healthy eating may be hindered by these pesky diet-killers and insidious habits could be killing your resolution to eat more healthily:
1. Emotions Taking Over
Emotional eating starts off small – an after-dinner ice cream as a reward after a long day at the office or a big plate of cream-based pasta to drive away the blues. Before long, it develops into a long-term dependency. While it might help you feel better at first, emotional eating is harmful in the long run – it increases feelings of guilt, shame and powerlessness as you pack on the pounds. That’s not the kind of relationship you want with food.
Banish it! Instead of immediately giving in to your cravings, take a pause and consider if you’re really hungry or responding to something else that’s happening. It could be stress, anxiety or even boredom. Once you’ve identified what’s triggering your cravings, replace eating with a healthy activity like running, instead of eating.
2. Hooked On It
As tantalizing as it looks…
You could be addicted to sugar, making it difficult to resist the temptation to order an ice cream dessert. Research shows that sugar consumption increases our brain’s dopamine levels, the trigger of feel-good vibes. Dieticians’ have likened sugar to drugs since it gives us a high, and likewise withdrawal symptoms when deprived of it.
Banish it! Instead of completely cutting out sugar, try to cut out one sweet food from your diet each week. For example, gradually reduce the amount of sugar you put in your coffee and skip dessert after dinner. In time, your craving for sugar will subside.
3. Clearing Your Plate
Did your mum only allow you to leave the dinner table after you’ve cleared the last grain of rice from your plate? This habit might be causing you to overeat. According to a 1999 study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, those who were encouraged to finish up their food as children had a higher chance of being obese when they’re adults – yikes!
Banish it! If the restaurant you’re going to serves large portions, get them to pack some of your meal’s side dishes to go before you start eating. The key is to keep large portions out of sight – and out of mind – so you’re not tempted to overeat. You can also try ordering half an entree or share your dessert with a friend.
By Natalie Pang, CLEO, April 2014