In the never-ending quest to squeeze into last year’s jeans with minimal discomfort (and tears), you’ve probably developed a whole arsenal of healthy weapons, like regularly weighing yourself and eating more baby carrots than you can count. But chances are, you’ve got a couple of unhealthy eating habits lurking around that aren’t doing you—or your weight—any favours. Let’s find out those secrets.

Dr. Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director, Atmantan Wellness Centre shares the secrets of how to break free from your 10 most common unhealthy eating habits—and make those jeans looser for life.

5 secrets to get freedom from unhealthy eating habits

  1. You use artificial sweeteners in everything

If you think sweetness doesn’t count as long as it’s calorie-free, you may want to reconsider. A recent article published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism links artificially sweetened products with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome—the same health issues associated with sugar-laden foods. “The only way to really get off artificial sweeteners is to either use less or learn to like things less sweet”. Try using one less packet each time you flavor your coffee, oatmeal, etc., and gradually substitute honey or agave nectar.

eating habits
Coffee. Photo: Amit Sengupta
  1. You never drink water

Let’s face it, within the beverage world, water’s not very enticing. But even slight dehydration can make your workout feel harder, not to mention lead to other unenjoyable issues like fatigue, dry skin, and constipation. Getting in eight or more glasses a day is easier if you drink every time you eat and when you work out. “You need about half your body weight in ounces of fluid. A 140-pound person needs about 70 ounces of fluid plus any amount sweated out during exercise.

eating habits
Drinking water
  1. You never plan your meals

Trying to configure a healthy meal when you’re hungry and want something now isn’t the best approach. The saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Plan your meals for the week on Sunday. Keeping a well-stocked kitchen is the first step toward developing healthy eating habits.  Keep the following items on hand for quick meals: whole grains, beans, jarred tomato sauce (no added sugar), fresh veggies, eggs, yogurt, high-fibre cereal, fruit, and chicken breasts.

eating habits
Fresh vegetables
  1. You always eat while doing something else

It’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve eaten when you’re not focused on the food in front of you. Instead of snacking while standing in the kitchen or while watching TV, prepare a healthy snack and then sit down. “Choose a protein like Greek yogurt and berries, a few whole wheat crackers with a little peanut butter or few grapes. Then pick it all up and walk out of the kitchen with only your snack.”

eating habits
Cultivate eating healthy
  1. You skip meals when you know you’re going to eat something indulgent

Starving yourself all day in preparation for a party at night isn’t a good way to save calories and will more than likely backfire. “Skipping meals is a sure way to wind up overeating, no matter how well intended,” “So that indulgence you planned now becomes a whole lot more calories than you might have ever thought.” Instead, stick to your regular eating schedule. You can still indulge but will be less likely to overdo it.

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Baked Chicken Parmigiana. Photo: Amit Sengupta

This is a guest post on Blackboard by Atmantan Wellness Centre, Mumbai.