How to change eating habits and save them.
“Easy for you to say, you’re skinny,” says a lot of friends who think I’m just lucky to be born skinny. But it wasn’t always that way. And my eating habits have been changed a lot.
I remember when I was twenty years old, as most of my age, I ate whatever I could: chips, McDonald’s, soda drinks, tons of sweets. When I got older, things improved a bit: I moved from real fast food to what I thought was healthier: quick oats, granola, canned tuna, and “healthy” yogurts with high sugar content” (today I look at them with horror and think: “How!? How could you not only buy them but eat them?!”
Only the size of my clothes which started to increase quite fast, helped me to come back to my mind. So I was sharp in my mind, stopped eating at all. At the same time, despite my young age, my energy was zero, and my back and face covered with acne rash.
The good thing, in Greece I got a real taste of the food
At the age of 23, I went for an internship in Greece, and I carried in a different direction. I began to eat more natural food; in Greece, they cook very well. But still this food was far from healthy: sweet croissants with chocolate for breakfast, fat Greek yogurt with honey and all kind s of toppings, national moussaka for lunch and pasta for dinner. And wine, cheese and lots of bread. The good thing, in Greece I got a real taste of the food and fell in love with it even more. It finally pushed me to start learning how to cook.
My biggest discovery was sugar rejection four years ago.
My biggest discovery was sugar rejection four years ago. I gave up not only sweets and pastries but also dried fruits with honey. I lost a lot of weight, I got rid of my sugar addiction, and at the same time, my ideas about my routine food completely changed. After all, when we do not eat sweets, all other flavors are felt differently.
And then there’s more. I learned how to cook, and the semi-products have completely disappeared from my life. I began to pay attention to the ingredients. I remember the shock of the ingredients I had to put into cookies following the recipe. I had no idea that there could be so much butter and sugar in such a small piece!
It took me a few years to get gluten out of my life little by little. I haven’t gotten my hands on the dairy products yet. (Sometimes I can’t resist mozzarella or unsweetened frozen yogurt). But not all at once!
Today I eat only natural food, cook perfectly, and even learn how to create quick recipes using tasty and healthy ingredients. Sweets from shops, fast food, semi-products, chips, fries, soda, milk, sugar, white bread, and other harmful things have left my life forever. In return, I received an incredible level of energy, clean skin, and excellent health.
In general, I have significant experience in acquiring healthy habits. So let me share it with you.
How to train yourself to eat less and healthy
I won’t talk about willpower and motivation. Of course, both are very important, but there some factors that genuinely keep us away from replacing a bun with a carrot. That’s what I want to show you.
Why people have trouble changing their eating habits?
First reason: Gut microflora
Why am I used to vegetables, and for me, it could be more than enough one to have stew vegetables for dinner. And why it’s hard to convince a McDonald’s lover to eat a vegetable salad, and if he does, he’ll stay hungry no matter how big his portion was? It’s ridiculously simple.
Various research confirmed the connection between our taste habits and the gut microflora balance. The main thing is that there’s an incredible amount of bacteria in our body! They all live, multiply, and waste. During all these processes, different chemicals are produced, which change our mood, behavior, and taste preferences!
Why is it right to eat vegetables and fiber?
Because they are an excellent source of healthy bifidobacteria, which should dominate in our gut. Bifidobacteria need the right food to be able to make space on the gut walls. If there are a lot of them, then you start to crave salad and other vegetable dishes.
What to do:
Start taking probiotics. This way, you will settle new colonies of useful bifidobacteria into the gut. But! Without the vegetable in your diet, the effect of probiotics will be temporary. It’s not enough to get the bacteria into the gut; you have to feed them. You have to take care of your microflora – supply it with everything you need: vegetable fiber. In the beginning, it will be difficult, so go to the goal in small steps: add at least one vegetable but to each meal.
Eat at least one vegetable but with each meal
At least a tomato or cucumber, but one vegetable should always be on your plate. And then useful bacteria will be more, your taste preferences will gradually change, and it will be easier for you to choose a salad over a hamburger.
Important: Before buying probiotics, talk to your doctor or nutritionist who will find the right product for you.
Reason two: Physical food addiction
You can’t just change your eating habits because many foods are really addictive. And sugar even more addictive than drugs. Now you understand why it is so hard to live without the usual sweet? Why do you not only feel the urge to eat it, but you even have a bad mood, and you feel a slight (or strong) anxiety, can not concentrate, and so on? These are signs of addiction. And while drugs are expensive, unavailable, and illegal, sugar is a different story – it’s not just legal, it’s everything. On the table, in shops, in a cafe, on parties and holidays… No wonder it’s so hard for you to resist!
What to do:
Get rid of your addictions. Only one at a time, or you’ll snap. Choose the product you are least interested in first. By choosing the most “independent” addiction, to begin with, you are more likely to be able to cope with it. Victory will give you the strength to move on, which is very, very important. When this addiction is completely gone, wait another month or two for the habit fully established, and then give up the next enemy of your health.
Reason three: Mental food addiction
There’s a coffee machine in our office, just outside the entrance. I used to make myself a cup of coffee every day when I came to the office. By Friday, I was beginning to worry that I have a caffeine addiction, but magically at the weekend, I did not even think about coffee. And there’s nothing magical about it. It’s just that I don’t have a habit of drinking coffee at home.
This example shows how often we drink and eat something we don’t need, and it’s not because of physical addiction or microflora. We do it as a habit, that’s all. For example, if you’re used to eating cake in the afternoon, you’ll want it no matter how much food you eat. If you are used to ordering dessert at a restaurant and drinking coffee and croissant at the airport, it will be difficult to abandon these traditions.
The meaning of the ritual is to release the energy that spent on making decisions.
The rituals (candy in the afternoon, picnic with wine, beer in front of the TV after work…) turn our actions into automatic. The meaning of the ritual is to release the energy that spent on making decisions. It may be under our control, or it may work against us. If you consciously meditate for 15 minutes every morning, this process will eventually become automatic, and you will not have to remind yourself of the morning meditation. The same principle applies to cakes!
What to do:
Break the rhythm you’re used to. Move by small steps. Can’t give up cake seven times a week in the afternoon? Start with two times. Replace the cake with another treat, walk around the office, talk to your friend. In this way, you will destroy the ritual, and over time you will become more conscious of what you eat (or not eat) in the afternoon. Instead of having dessert, after the main course, order tea or fruits. At the airport just have salad or buy a new lipstick. Acting like this, step by step, will make it much easier for you to deal with your bad habits.
Start to develop useful rituals
Another idea: start to develop useful rituals. For example, start your morning with a smoothie. Once you get involved, you won’t have to make the painful choice in the morning: eat a sandwich or smoothies. I, for example, replaced my coffee-automatic ritual in the office with a water bottle and tea thermos. It was only difficult for the first two weeks.
Reason four: poor preparation for the changes
Many of us lose in the fight against unhealthy food, not only because of our psychological and physical addiction. We make life harder for ourselves. First, we wait for the right moment for change: so that this period does not coincide with vacation, with the reception of guests, with birthday and other events. Then, realizing that this moment will never come, we rush into battle. Unprepared. Without weapons or tactics. No wonder that on the first birthday, we still cut off a piece of cake, “so as not to offend the birthday boy,” and in the trip, we eat the wrong sandwich, justifying ourselves by the fact that “nothing else to choose”.
What to do:
Cook at home. If you decide to change your eating habits, do yourself a favor – free your home from harmful foods. Why torture your mind with shelves of sweets “for children and husband.” You’ll save their health at the same time. I can already anticipate cries, but to talk to them, ask your family to support you. If your husband can’t live without sweets, at least let him keep it in his bag. Anyway, what is all that food storage? Luckily, there are no wars yet, and now there are 24-hour shops every step of the way.
Get ready for the rest of the action.
When you go on a trip, take your food with you. Before your colleague’s birthday, pop in with a postcard, kiss it on the cheek and, referring to urgent matters, open it before you start eating cake together. Skip unhealthy lunch at work and get your food with you.
Reason five: The things looked easier
Most of us, starting the battle for health, underestimate the scale of the event. We believe that switching to the right breakfast or giving up dessert will be easy. But, as the four previous reasons show, it is not! We are not only fighting the eating habit, but also an army of bacteria and the real physiological addictions, with rituals, and society. We’re not ready for this kind of effort, so most attempts to change nutrition end in failure.
Accept that learn how to train yourself to eat less and healthy will take time
What to do:
Accept that changing your eating habits will take time. Understand that it won’t be easy. Do not give up and, even if you fail, return to the path of war as soon as possible. Schedule a plan of action. For example, if you can’t bear the thought of refusing something, leave in your schedule one day a week, when you can still treat yourself. Sometimes it works.