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Changing Our Eating BehaviourChanging your eating pattern or behavior can certainly make for a
healthy lifestyle change.
Healthy food is a great way to improve your general health and lifestyle.
Healthy recipes are the best way to stay interested in healthy food.
Make a healthy lifestyle change today by adding healthy food recipes
to your daily routine.
by Scott Hayward
Changing our eating behaviour is one of the critical lifestyle
changes necessary if we are going to successfully lose weight
and keep it off.
For many people, changing eating habits is one of the hardest
things they’ll ever do, as anybody who has gone on a diet and
tried to stick to it can attest.
If you’ve tried to change your eating habits before and have
failed, or if you’re about to embark on a weight loss plan of
your own that involves a change towards healthier eating, the
tips in this article are designed to improve your chances of
First things first
One of the reasons most people fail to stick to a diet is that
they take the wrong first step.
There are broadly two ways to change your eating habits in order
to help you lose weight:
1. Change what you eat
2. Change how much you eat
Ideally, in order to maximize weight loss over the LONG TERM we
need to change both. But it’s not a good idea to change both at
This is where most people make mistakes. They try to change both
at once or if they only change one, they change the wrong one
When faced with the above two options, most people take option 1
first when the best first option to take to help you lose weight
is typically option 2.
Why? The reason is actually quite simple.
It is far easier for most of us to go from eating 3 to 2 pieces
of fried chicken for dinner than it is to go from 3 pieces of
fried chicken to a garden salad.
Sure, eating the salad will help us lose more weight than
forgoing only one piece of fried chicken, but permanent weight
loss is a long term process and going down to 2 pieces of
chicken forever is far better than eating a garden salad for
dinner for 1 week and then going back to 3 pieces of chicken for
the rest of our life.
Remember, we are trying to make permanent lifestyle changes here
and most of us won’t stick to these changes if they are too
radical compared to what we are currently doing.
Food reduction tips
Here are some tips to help you reduce the amount you eat:
• Making small permanent changes are better than radical changes
that you won’t be able to live with.
• Don't worry about falling back to your old behaviour for a day
or two, only the long term counts.
• Use portion controlled packaged foods to help you (prepackaged
frozen meals and single serve snack packs for example).
• Use smaller plates than usual to serve your meals.
• When eating out, buy entrée sized meals or share a full sized
meal with your partner or friend.
• Separate a third or quarter of the food on your plate and move
it to one side before you begin eating, then leave that third or
quarter uneaten at the end of the meal.
• Eat small amounts of food every couple of hours so you’re not
starving at main meal times.
• Drink plenty of water throughout the day – most people mistake
thirst for hunger.
• Eat slowly and concentrate on your meal – don’t watch TV while
you’re eating for example.
• Gradually reduce your serving sizes over time until they reach
the ideal size.
• When eating take away, don’t buy super-sized options.
• Remember that to make these changes habit you are going to
have to continue to practice them consciously for awhile (maybe
up to 3 months) until they become unconscious.
• Be the last one at the table to start eating.
• Put your fork or food down between bites.
• Chew or swallow each bite before the next.
• Pause in the middle of the meal.
• Don’t eat while cooking – this increases your total serving
size, often without being noticed.
• Place leftover food in small, single serve containers.
• Have soup or a salad with low calorie dressing to begin a meal.
• As soon as you begin to feel full, stop eating.
• Try to reduce stress in your life and other things that cause
you to eat on emotion.
The second step
OK, you’ve gradually started to reduce the amount of food you
eat and are starting to slowly (but surely) lose weight.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to start to become more
active to improve your general level of fitness, increase your
energy levels and of course speed up the weight loss process.
Now that these habits are well established, it’s time to start
thinking about making minor positive adjustments to what we eat.
Instead of eating a piece of fried chicken for dinner for
example (we’ve migrated from 3 down to 2 and now down to 1)
maybe we can have a piece of fried chicken without the skin or a
piece of grilled or broiled chicken instead.
And maybe we can replace half of the chips that accompany our
chicken with a corn cob or a handful of your favourite steamed
vegetables. See how we’re making small positive changes that we
can live with?
While changing what we eat is often more difficult that slowly
but gradually reducing how much we eat, there are things that we
can do to make sure that when we do begin to change this aspect
of our behaviour that we are successful.
Healthy diet modification tips
Here are a couple of things to consider when improving our diet:
• A healthy diet is a balanced diet and a balanced diet has
plenty of variety - occasional fast food meals are OK; just
don't make them the staple.
• Plan ahead – don’t be forced into choosing inferior food
options because you failed to think ahead.
• Start by modifying your breakfast. Breakfast is so important
that it is the logical place to begin when trying to improve
your diet. Whole-grain, high-fiber cereals with low-fat milk are
an excellent choice.
• Understand and read the Nutrition Facts labels on packaged
• Compare the nutritional facts of like products and if
possible, opt for the choice with the lowest calories, sugar,
salt and/or fat.
• Be adventurous; try new dishes whenever you can.
• Remember that the cooking method you use can increase or
reduce the calories contained in food.
• Buy a new cookbook or food magazine for food and healthier
• Exchange healthy recipes with friends.
• Try new restaurants.
• Alternate alcohol with low calorie drinks (water is perfect).
• Join a healthy cooking class.
• Start a healthy cooking dinner club.
• Invite friends over for a vegetarian (or other theme) meal.
• Make meals delicious as well as nutritious.
• Remove temptations from your home.
• Become physically, not externally connected to eating.
• Shop using a shopping list and never shop when hungry.
• Be wary at cultural and social events – don’t let your guard
• Feel proud every time you say "no" to a problem food.
• Neutralize food. There are no good or bad foods - all foods
are OK when eaten in moderation.
• Stop Dieting.
General Guidelines for behaviour modification
In addition to the tips above, try some of these general
guidelines to behaviour modification:
• Be ready to change.
• Develop a plan.
• Set goals, track your progress, and reward yourself to stay
• Make change fun.
• Slow down your busy lifestyle.
• Understand your personal barriers to change so you can avoid
• Don’t look for quick fixes and easy options.
• Keep a positive attitude.
• Watch your language, especially when talking to yourself.
• Change your reward system so that it is not based on food and
rewards behaviour modifications, not weight loss results.
• Enlist the help of qualified professionals (e.g. a registered
dietitian, a physician, a personal trainer and/or a
Good luck and remember you can do whatever you set your mind to!
For all your weight loss and healthy lifestyle needs, visit www.weightloss.com.au and
become a happier, healthier you.
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