They say that it takes 21 days to form habits. What! Just 21 days? So, that means change is possible! But when thinking about breaking a routine can make us feel like it’s an impossible journey, “Well, I’ve been struggling with this for ten years. How will I ever overcome it?” The ultimate answer – you need to be super intentional. If you can consciously choose and have a challenge written out on a piece of paper to stick it in ten different places, you continuously remind yourself about it. Remember, it’s all about the small choices you make every day that can help you break bad habits. Even when they are bad eating habits like over eating and mindless snacking.

9 Questions to ask yourself to determine the source of your bad eating habits!

1. Are you a heavy snacker?

You could be overeating. A small healthy snack between meals is fine. Snacks can keep blood sugar steady. When you snack instead of having real meals, you are more likely to lose track of how much you are eating. Since a small serving of snacks is not that satisfying, it is easy to overeat.

How to avoid getting ‘snacky’?

To satisfy your hunger and keep your energy up, allow yourself to have two low-calorie snacks a day of 100 to 300 calories each. Have something that feels like real food, e.g., half a sandwich, a handful of nuts, whole-grain crackers, baby carrots with hummus, or yogurt sprinkled with cereal.

2. Are you a mindless muncher?

It could be the telly or mindless Netflix binge, but people who eat while watching the TV can take in about 20 to 60% more.

How to break this eating habit?

Figure out your trigger situations and set limits on what you will eat. Help yourself with a single serving before you sit down on the couch, or delay your snack until you can pay attention. Minimize damage by dipping into low-cal foods, such as cut vegetables, air-popped popcorn, rice crackers, and whole-grain cereal.

3. Do you eat your way out of a bad mood?

Many people turn to carbs that produce tryptophan, a type of amino acid used by the brain to manufacture serotonin. With the brain making more serotonin, your mood temporarily improves. Feeding your fears and frustrations, instead of confronting them, can lead to a cycle of worse moods and steady weight gain.

The solution!

Stop thinking about what’s bothering you. Try a nonfood mood booster, like walking, watching a movie, or calling a friend. If nothing else works, get your serotonin boost without triggering a binge. Go for a whole-grain treat to get more fiber and less sugar.

4. Do you eat all week carefully, but blow it over the weekend with your eating habits?

It is possible to undo five days of good eating with weekend binges. If you are consistent in your eating habits, you are 1.5 times more likely to stay within five pounds of your weight than those who are vigilant only on weekdays.

Fix your eating habits with this 👇🏻

Don’t severely restrict yourself from Monday to Friday to feel the need to indulge on weekends. You can strategize your weekend socializing by having a “mini-meal” before you go out. You can even offer to be the designated driver for the day to limit alcohol intake.

5. Do all your meals come in cans, bags, or boxes?

Most packaged foods can be sneaky sources of unhealthy fats, sugar, salt, and excess calories. Even a can of low-fat soup can contain more than half a day’s worth of sodium.

The solution!

Be smart about it, not guilty for relying on packaged foods. Lower calorie or lower-sodium versions of frozen food can provide a quick controlled meal. Check labels to find the healthiest ones that are high in fiber and lower in salt, and have whole grains, nutrient-rich vegetables at the top of their ingredient lists. You can wrap up your meal with a piece of fruit or low-fat yogurt for dessert.

Related: 10 Amazing Plant-Based Recipes (On a Budget) To Try Today

6. Do you eat on the run?

You ignore what’s going into your mouth if you eat while driving, walking down the street, or shopping. It can mean an upset stomach and can leave you dissatisfied, unsure of what you ate that didn’t agree with you.

The solution!

If you need to schedule a reminder, do it, but build time to eat into your day. When you don’t have the option, come prepared with a granola bar, nuts and dry fruits, and a single-serving packet of crackers. Store them in your bag, glove compartment of your car, or office drawer. Even fast-food joints are today offering healthy options for satisfying real food.

7. Are you a speed eater?

Gulping food makes you take in excess air, which can lead to bloating. Research says that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize that your stomach is full. Consequently, a recent study concluded that women who ate within 30 minutes ate 10 percent fewer calories than those who finished their food in 10 minutes.

Slow down with this eating habit!

Avoid finger foods, and instead, choose items that require a plate to eat with utensils. Pause often, and drink water throughout meals. Try to slow down.

8. Do you skip breakfast?

Studies have shown that cognitive skills and memory improve once you’ve had breakfast. Blood sugar usually drops overnight, so the brain runs on empty until you eat in the morning. People who skip breakfast also lean on eating more calories during the day than do people who don’t.

The solution!

If you are habitually short on time, you can stock easy-to-make breakfast foods. Keep packets of oatmeal handy in the office. Your breakfast need not be a drawn out affair, but you should aim to eat within an hour or two after getting up. Try to have around 250 – 400 calories and include at least one serving of whole grains, a protein source, and one serving of fruit.

9. Is sugar your BFF?

A sugary snack provides very few nutrients and is mostly empty calories. Too much sugar can make you obese but also undernourished. Sugar gives that high energy but will slump you down later.

Here’s what you ought to do 👇🏻

Unsweetened dried fruits, peanut M&M’s, and a handful of lightly sweetened whole-grain cereal are all excellent swaps for candy or cookies. This way, you don’t have to go off the sweet stuff altogether. Read labels and seek out less-sugar or sugar-free versions of your favorite food. This is primarily the most important aspect of fixing bad eating habits!

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