Building any new habit takes time and determination. You need to have the mindset that you want to change your habits in order to find success. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, building healthy eating habits requires “a thoughtful approach in which you Reflect, Replace, and Reinforce.” You must first reflect on your current habits and triggers which cause unhealthy eating. Next you must replace your unhealthy eating habits with healthier alternatives. Finally you must reinforce the new healthy eating habits which you are implementing into your lifestyle.
Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy eating habits are vital for both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Not only are healthy eating habits important for weight control but also for improving your overall health and well being. There are a number of aspects to consider when building healthy eating habits. An often overlooked aspect of healthy eating is eating at the appropriate calorie level for your goals whether they be losing or maintaining weight.
Another important aspect of healthy eating is balance. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans a healthy diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat and fat free dairy, lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and nuts. The guidelines also stress that a healthy diet should be low in saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, cholesterol, and refined sugars.
Making it a Lifestyle Change
Your healthy eating habits must become a part of your lifestyle in order to be successful long term. It is important to remember that you are making a lifestyle change and not dieting per say when your catalyst for changing your eating habits is a desire to lose weight. Additionally, in order for these positive changes to become a lifestyle you must feel satisfied and comfortable with them.
This means that you cannot give up all of your favorite foods; however, you do need to find ways to make them healthier or be able to practice strict portion control. Adding variety to your diet can also aid in boosting your feelings of satisfaction with your new healthy eating lifestyle. Trying new healthy choices such as exotic fruits or new cooking techniques and seasonings can help keep you on track.
A great way to help ensure that you stay on track with your healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes is through a journal. Keeping track of what you eat and when along with your emotions and how you felt while eating can aid in ensuring that you are eliminating your bad habits. It is also important to track how much water you drink daily and your daily exercise and activity.
Remember that new habits take time to solidify and that if and when you slip up to not let that derail your entire day. It is also important to find a solid support system in order to help ensure your ongoing success. Finding a structured support group or an accountability buddy are great ways to get the support and help necessary to successfully maintain your lifestyle changes.
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