If you're like me, you're probably bombarded with every type of “diet” advice under the sun on a daily basis, and it's seriously overwhelming.
I've talked about my overall nutritional philosophy in depth before, but ultimately I try to keep things simple: Eat real, nutrient-dense food. Choose water over other drinks. Move some each day. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Reduce stress.
Easier said than done though. I know, I really do. So I wanted to share five habits I'd recommend you ditch as you go through your own health journey.
And do note, I said health j-o-u-r-n-e-y. This is not a sprint, people!
A light breakfast (of mostly sugar!)
A granola bar and a non-fat yogurt. A fruit smoothie. A bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins. These all seem like healthy breakfasts, right? Wrong! These breakfasts are all mostly sugar (natural sugars can do the same thing to your appetite as added sugars in many cases) and will cause your blood sugar to spike, then drop pretty quickly thereafter. After these meals, you almost always need a second breakfast or a mid-morning snack.
TIP: Instead of a sugar / carb-heavy breakfast, balance it out! Eat protein first – think hard boiled eggs, some lean breakfast sausage, or leftovers from last night’s chicken dinner – then add your healthy carbs like a piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts for satiating fat. This approach will keep you full until lunch, and get your day started with even blood sugar.
Heaping helpings of healthy fats.
You’ve heard the good news about how eating healthy fats are actually good for you, but did you know that there’s more to the story than that? As you might have guessed, over eating anything is not the healthiest of options. A small handful of nuts or a tablespoon of nut butter or olive oil, for example, is a good serving. But, often you’re eating nuts handful after handful, and pouring the oil on your salad liberally, without measure.
TIP: This one’s a super simple fix – measure it! When eating nuts, grab a small handful from the container and pack in a baggie for snacks in your desk. Or, when using olive oil on your salad, portion it out with a tablespoon over your dish before you dump it on. This way, even if you use more than one spoonful of olive oil, or eat more than one baggie of nuts, you are super tuned-in to what you're actually consuming.
Gum-chewing to freshen your breath.
To your body, chewing = food is coming. When food is headed your way, your entire body gears up the digestive process and begins “looking” for food. Ever chew some gum and start to hear your stomach grumble? Well, your body is hard-wired to associate chewing with calories a’ coming! This can actually stimulate your appetite when you didn’t mean to, sending you looking for snacks all day long.
TIP: Instead of chewing gum for fresh breath, grab some easy spa water – flat or bubbly, your pick! Throw a few pieces of mint and some cucumber slices in it. Not only will this give you body more of what it loves – fresh water – but it’ll also keep your breath fresh and your mouth occupied.
Coffee all day?
Coffee can be a lovely way to kick off your day – it’s warm and comforting, and simply part of the routine, right? That may be perfectly fine, but if you’re sipping on it all morning or even all day long, the caffeine can actually suppress your appetite in the short term (during the day), sending it soaring higher than it would have been in the long term (late at night when you can’t figure out why you’re starving).
TIP: To avoid this massive swing in your appetite that send you to the pantry every night, switch from coffee to herbal tea after your first morning cup. Don’t worry, I’m not saying never drink your coffee, but make the changeover after that first cup (and I’m talking a cup that’s no more than 16 ounces) and feel how your appetite levels out. A peppermint, ginger, chai, or any tea you love works great.
Up late binge-watching TV?
We all know that when the newest season of Real Housewives releases, we’re all going to be a bit worse for wear that week, that’s a given. But, what you may not realize is that missing out on sleep is setting you up for sugar and carb cravings the entire next day. And, while what you need is sleep, if you’re at the office or going about your day, what takes the place of sleep in the short term is sugary foods to prop up your energy – a recipe for disaster!
TIP: Give yourself a cut-off time. The shows will be there when you’re ready to come back for more, simply let your friends know not to spoil it for you while you catch some zzz’s in an effort to keep your healthy choices on-track and avoid the extra sugar-bombs you really don’t need.
Looking for more tips like this? Be sure to check out the following post:
Let me know below – what's the number one health tip that you stand by?