If you’re struggling with your weight, it’s not just bad food choices that are to blame. It is also a way of eating. Choose wisely what you put on your plate, but also learn to eat in a way that maximizes the satiety benefits you get from your diet. Here are five habits that can wreak havoc on your best weight loss plans.
Collecting meals on the go
Eating on the go is a common habit that can lead to weight gain over time. When you eat on the go, you reach for convenience foods that you can eat in a hurry and are rarely a healthy choice. The problem with eating junk food is that it contains high amounts of fat and sugar which are linked to obesity and other health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Fast food can also be expensive compared to preparing meals at home. Despite popular belief that fast food is cheap, you can prepare a healthier meal at home for less. Additionally, you will pay for this low-nutrient fast food meal later when you are in poor health.
If you swallow food, your brain won’t get a notification that you’re full. It takes about twenty minutes for your brain to receive this message. Eating on the move also increases cortisol levels, a stress hormone that promotes weight gain in undesirable areas such as the waist and abdomen. Slow down and enjoy your food and appreciate its sensory properties and you will be more satisfied!
If you know you will be in a hurry, plan ahead. There are healthy snacks that can extend you into dinner or lunch. For example, try carrots with hummus or avocado halves with whole grain crackers. If you don’t have time for a decent meal, grab a salad from your local grocery store or make it yourself from fresh ingredients.
Crunch in front of the screen
Are you watching your favorite TV show or working on your computer while eating? Such habits can widen your waistline and reduce the pleasure of a meal. You can even eat your meal without trying it!
We all have bad habits that we’re not proud of, but they don’t have to stay that way. Here are some tips to help you break your bad food multitasking habit:
1) Sit down at the table while eating. Do not eat in front of the TV or computer screen. If possible, create a specific dining area – away from other activities such as watching TV or working on the computer.
2) Turn off the electronics before sitting down to eat. No checking of your email, tweeting or watching videos while eating – even if it only takes 10 minutes! This is an important step as it will help you focus on what you are eating. Thanks to this strategy, you will enjoy your food more and feel satisfied after each meal.
3) Take small bites and chew slowly. This gives the brain time to recognize that you are full so you don’t overeat! It also provides flavor and appreciation of what’s going on in your body.
Research shows that the size of the plate or bowl you eat from can affect how much you eat. If you eat on larger tableware, the food appears smaller on the plate and you get the feeling that you are eating less. Therefore, you are more likely to come back for a few seconds. In contrast, a meal looks more when it is on a small plate, so you’re happy with less. If you want to cut down on calories without feeling hungry, try setting the table with smaller foods.
Also choose muted colors for your plates. Red, orange, and yellow are bright, motivating colors that stimulate your appetite, while the muted shapes of blue, green, or brown are less likely to stimulate your appetite and make you eat more.
Eating out with others
Research results suggest that people consume more calories when eating with others than when eating alone. Why? When you eat with others, you focus less on eating because you are distracted by conversations and good times.
Additionally, for social events, you are more likely to justify ordering a high-calorie dessert or drinking a high-calorie alcoholic drink. You may feel that eating more calories in restaurants than at home is expected or socially acceptable.
For example, if everyone at the table orders an appetizer or dessert, the indulgent choice of one person can influence everyone else’s choices. In addition, drinking alcohol can make you lose awareness of how much you are eating.
Stick to protein, carbohydrate, and fat-balanced meals (such as salmon with brown rice and broccoli). What if you go out to dinner with friends or family members who aren’t healthy eaters? Maybe you can convince them to order something healthier.
Using food as a way to relieve stress
We’ve all been there: you’re in a stressful situation and all you want is comfy food. Maybe it’s a gigantic bowl of ice cream or a plate of fries. But here’s the point: eating your feelings doesn’t make you feel better! It can also cause weight gain.
Eating high-calorie foods when you’re stressed can increase blood sugar, increase insulin production, and tell your body to store fat instead of burning it. This means that instead of losing weight due to work-related stress, you may start gaining weight due to stress!
So what should you do? Put your ice cream down (or don’t buy it at all) and find other ways to relieve stress, such as listening to music or chatting with friends to make you laugh.
Better nutrition isn’t just about making healthier food choices. It’s also about creating an environment that will help you resist temptation. Keep these tips in mind to avoid eating habits that are causing you weight gain.
- Daily medical. Do you want to stop eating so often? Try to eat from the red plate “
- “Stress and weight gain – Mayo Clinic.” August 18, 2020, mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress/faq-20058497.
- “Why Stress Makes People Overeating – Harvard Health.” February 15, 2021, health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-stress-causes-people-to-overeat.
- Appetite 58 (2012) 299-302.
- “A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Social Facilitation of Eating,” Helen K Ruddock, Jeffrey M Brunstrom, Lenny R Vartanian and Suzanne Higgs, August 21, 2019, The