Although people are slowly starting to realize that in order to be healthy they need to eat healthy, most don’t know how to get started. The best advice is to be aware of what you are eating. Get educated about what your body needs and doesn’t need. Here are some easy steps to get started on your new healthy eating plan (Your unique, personalised TLC-Program):
The first step in becoming aware of your eating habits is to record what you are eating and when in a food diary. A food diary can help you to take steps to change your bad eating habits by helping you to see where and when you’re eating the ‘wrong’ sorts of food or skipping meals. In the end, it will make you more accountable for your food intake.
It can be hard to remember what you’ve eaten at the end of the day so it’s best to record things as you go. Print off our food diary (from your TLC-Well-Log) and keep it handy, then write down everything you eat and drink (we mean everything!) and include the times of your meals.
Once you’ve kept your food diary for a week or so, it will help you to identify any ‘trigger factors’ that may lead to any poor eating habits you have. You may be surprised how often hidden kilojoules sneak into your day, even if you think you have a great diet. If you stick at it, you’ll soon find your food diary can be a powerful tool to help you be in control of your diet.
Timing of meals
Now that you have started your food diary, do you notice any patterns in the timing of your meals?
Do you regularly eat breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?
Food needs to be seen as energy for your body, like coal for a steam train. The timing is very important as too much food in one period of time can cause over eating for the day, and too little means that you will run out of steam!
Reliance on ‘take-away’ meals, preserved foods & unhealthy snacks
So, back to your food diary and mark all the ‘take-away’ meals, preserved foods, and unhealthy snacks, like chips, chocolate and sweets. Why did you eat it when you did? Was it because of convenience?
Preparation plays a vital role in creating healthy eating habits as it gives you a sense of direction as to what to eat for your meals. Generally, when we are not sure as to what to eat for a particular meal or snack and we feel too tired to cook; we turn to some sort of convenience food, namely take-away meals or unhealthy, packaged snacks.
The goal is to prepare yourself for your meals. This means buying fish, chicken, and red meat in bulk, and freezing it in your correct portions in zip lock bags. Taking your prepared lunch and snacks with you to work, and always having the right foods available in your kitchen.
How often do you eat out?
Eating out is fun and relaxing, but you can make it healthier.
Firstly, you need to be aware of the problems associated with eating out while you are following your eating plan. These include:
- Uncontrollable portion sizes (their plates are also generally bigger)
- Uncontrollable quality and quantity of ingredients
- Accompaniments with meal (e.g. bread, wine, side orders, etc), and
- The temptation to eat dessert.
The key is to plan what to order in advance and stick to it. Decide on your priorities before going to the restaurant and simply do the best you can with some smart choices. Note: eating out during Phase 2 of your TLC-Program is not advisable (speak to your TLC-Wellbeing Coach about this).
Variety of foods
Do you constantly end up buying and eating the same foods each week?
Having a variety of foods in your diet is important, not only to keep meal times more interesting, but for you to get an intake of a variety of nutrients. If you are constantly eating the same foods, you may be missing out on some key nutrients that your body requires.
So, get out those cooking books and have a look for some new recipes. Then next time you visit the supermarket, buy your new ingredients and give them a go.
For more assistance go to www.tlcforwellbeing.com or contact your TLC-Weightloss Coach