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My nutrient clients talk to me about succumbing to bad nutrition habits quite regularly--some even refer to them as addictions and they certainly can be! If you feel as if you have routines or possible addictions which prevent you from hitting your goals, you are definitely not alone. Let's face it, one of the biggest culprits of weight gain is sugar and it can be very hard to kick, but I do have six strategies to help you along the way.
Take It Day by Day
Let's say you drink three soda per day and you just want to give it up cold turkey. If you think in terms of months or weeks or even several days, that can sound overwhelming and maybe even impossible. Take it one day at a time and set a goal for the day. When a goal is very short-term (such as 24 hours) it's far easier to reach as it isn't as daunting as thinking long-term.
Did You Say "Cold Turkey?" I Can't Just Quit!
If you can't give up your vice of choice right off the bat, that's totally fine--not many people can! Try weening off gradually in attempt to create new habits. Let's get back to the soda as an example since I do get asked about kicking that habit on a regular basis. If you drink three sodas per day, simply start by only drinking two sodas per day. That way, the change can be less jarring as it will happen gradually. After a couple of weeks of two sodas, try to get to one soda or even one and a half. After a month or two, maybe you can attempt the day-by-day task of zero sodas!
Find Other Activities to Fill Your Time
I don't know about you but I certainly get up to my worst nutrition habits when I'm bored. I find myself digging through the pantry for something fun to eat even if I'm not even hungry. When Covid and quarantine struck, this problem grew worse so I started to seek out new activities to fill my time. When I feel like eating something for fun, I first ask myself if I'm truly hungry and usually the answer is no. Sugar can be extremely tempting even if you're not necessarily needing any calories so at that point, I'd leave my place (and my kitchen) and go on a walk or a swim to get some activity versus just filling up with calories. And to my pleasant surprise, since exercise gets the blood pumping and endorphins flowing, I would notice my fake feelings of hunger (i.e. sugar cravings) would subside.
Find Substitutions that Give Satisfaction
Let's say you have a sweet tooth and candy, cookies, and other treats are you thing. There are so many substitutions that can be eaten in place of those items while still giving the same satisfaction, all while not sabotaging your weight loss goals. See some of our high protein, low-carb and low-sugar desserts here--I promise they will not disappoint!
Some bad nutrition habits are expensive! Let's take alcohol, for example. Happy hour or even some wine at home with dinner certainly adds up. If you abstain from the habit, add up the amount of money you have saved and get yourself something special. Not only will your waist line improve, you'll also enjoy some new clothes or gadget with all of that money you saved.
Take Charge of Your Social Group
Does your friend group eat out a lot? If so, take charge of WHERE your friend group eats, confirming that there are healthy choices for you to enjoy as well. Does your friend group drink a lot? If so, plan other social activities that involve physical activity or the outdoors. Explore new options around your area! Discover your local community. Make sure you are open by sharing with your friends and family about your journey and what changes you are implementing. With regard to celebrations, you can still participate, however, take the initiative and bring approved foods such as veggie platters to parties so there is a healthier option. Suggest other home-cooked meals or snacks for others to bring to the party as well! Guacamole is a great option, but skip the chips!
Kicking a bad nutrition habit can be really tough--if it were easy, everyone would do it! If you implement these six strategies, you'll be sure to have some success. And if you need some help along the way, we are always here to assist via our virtual and Covid-safe clinic!