By Bob Otieno
Some of your daily habits may be hindering your health or weight loss goals. Here are a few bad habits that take you back a step.
1. Not planning meals
Going anywhere without knowing what or when you’ll eat is a set up for making unhealthy eating choices. If you know you’re going to be out all afternoon, bring a piece of fruit, nuts, a cheese stick, or a bag of crunchy cut-up veggies along with you. This will help you avoid feeling ravenous and being tempted to drive through fast food or grab processed snacks.
Plan what you are going to have for lunch the night before, and if possible, bring your meal with you to work, school, or on your daily errands. Plan out your meals and snacks for the week, and head to the grocery store with a list of ingredients.
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Having a game plan for the week and being prepared will prevent your being caught off-guard and giving into tempting unhealthy food choices.
2. Rewarding yourself with food
Frequently treating yourself with desserts or another food treats can sabotage your health goals. Justifying a reward for your hard workout at the gym can negate your hard work and hinder your weight loss. If you want to treat yourself, go for a non-food reward like new workout pants, shoes, a massage, or pedicure. Practice this technique with children as well.
3. Letting yourself ‘starve’
If you know you are going to be away for long, or have a busy day, bring some food with you. When you go for too long without eating, you are more likely to choose unhealthy foods. Avoid this by eating something small every three to four hours. This will help stabilise blood sugar and prevent blood sugar swings.
Ideally, you should pair a healthy carbohydrate, like a piece of fruit or some vegetables, with a lean protein to keep blood sugar levels stable.
4. Skipping protein for breakfast
You have probably heard the importance of eating breakfast in the morning. It is, of course, the most important meal of the day — especially for those trying to lose weight. However, including protein to breakfast may have an added advantage because it can help you stay feeling fuller longer. Increase protein at breakfast by adding in some eggs or egg whites, nuts or yoghurt.
5. Eating a lot of packaged ‘diet’ foods
Pre-packaged foods can be an easy, convenient source of nutrition on the go. However, as with anything, overdoing the packaged foods may not be the best way to stay healthy. Labelled ‘diet’ or low-calorie foods can still be high in things like sodium, saturated fats, sugars, unwanted preservatives, artificial colours and flavours. Natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins have other components that your body actually needs, like antioxidants, non-synthetic vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
Eat natural foods as much as possible. If there are a lot of ingredients that you don’t recognise and can’t pronounce, that means there are a lot of chemical ingredients that may be hard for your body to break down.