Changing your eating habits is really tough. Most of us want to jump into the deep end of the pool and start some rash cleanse regime followed by eating grapefruit morning, noon and night. That is a diet; deprivation. The problem with diets is that most folks see it as a short term fix. So I’ll diet until I lose 20 pounds and then I can jump off the wagon again. The key to itzy bitzy habits is that small changes have more longevity.
Most of these habits below are set up so that when your will power is lacking, like at the end of the day or after a glass of wine, it will be a habit. This way, you never eat in front of the television so you never grab a box of Oreos or a bag of Cheetos. The other habits are all about scheduling, so that (when you might be low on self-control) you will be on autopilot to make that Kale Soup for dinner because it’s already purchased and planned out instead of driving through the fast food lane. Pick out one or two of these and then add after you have the first two changes down. Do NOT bite off more than you can chew (literally); HA HA!
1. Drink a glass of water before every meal.
2. Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast every weekday.
3. Clear the table once you have finished a meal.
4. Take three slow deep breaths before eating.
5. Don’t eat in front of a screen.
6. Don’t eat baked goods (including birthday cake) at work.
7. Plan your weekly meals on Sunday.
8. Make a grocery list.
9. Put your fork (or hand) down between each bite.
10. Eat at a table (as opposed to a desk or while working).
I know what you are thinking. Why not pick up three at once? I mean, I can eat at a table, put down my fork between each bite and plan my weekly meals on Sunday. I know you can. The problem is they won’t stick. Get a few weeks of just two of them and then add one or two more. This is not a sprint folks! This is the long haul. Here are some more:
11. Banish all food from your car.
12. Eat dinner on salad plates.
13. Keep extra food and bread on the stove.
14. Carry a bottle of water in your purse or backpack.
15. Fill your office candy dish with candy that you dislike.
16. When at a party, drink a glass of water after each alcoholic drink.
17. When at a party, bring your own beverage.
I also realize that you may already be doing some of these. That’s great. Just add one or two more. Acknowledge that you already have some great habits and add two more for the next three weeks. Save this for later or print it out and pick out two more when you have processed your first few. This is how habits are built to last.
18. No food outside of the kitchen or dining room.
19. Split entrees with a friend when eating out.
20. Put out your credit card before they bring the dessert menu.
21. Eat the same thing for breakfast during the workweek.
22. Eat before grocery shopping to stop impulse buying.
23. Shop for only the items on your grocery list (no Oreos, etc.).
24. Eat with your non-dominant hand.
25. Be the slowest eater at the table.
If you can accomplish one or two of these itzy bitzy habits for a month or two, you will be on auto pilot. You won’t have to think about it anymore. You know how difficult it is to break a bad habit, so once it is ingrained in your brain, you will never have to remember to take three slow deep breaths before eating. Trust me, I have done most of the things on this list (not all at once) but over the last few years. Now I don’t even think about it. Where do you want to start?