When you think of the phrase, “eating habits,” what do you think of? Most likely the first thing that comes to mind is how much you are eating and how often you are eating, however there are many more factors that determine your eating habits. Unhealthy eating habits are very common, and can lead to serious conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and obesity; in fact, one of the best ways to effectively improve your health is through changing unhealthy eating habits – although many people have trouble using this method as they are unsure of what makes a healthy or unhealthy eating habit. In our 8 Weeks to Wellness program at McLaughlin Care we coach our patients on how to make the healthiest choice of food to improve over all health goals. Any of the following can be considered to be unhealthy eating habits, or they just maybe your “Kryptonite” and as you know thing to truly avoid:
While you may play it off by saying “I’m just a fast eater,” finishing your meal before all others at the table can signal poor eating habits. When you eat more quickly than others around you, this indicates that you are not properly savoring your food, and are instead eating quickly to feel full sooner. This can be tricky to combat if it’s been a habit for any extended period of time, but you can practice your meal pacing by taking smaller bites of your meal, eating more slowly, and taking time to participate in conversation around you. By doing this, you are giving your body more time to send signals to your brain, telling you that it is full, allowing you to better regulate your food intake and improve your over all wellness.
2. Eating the “Fake Food”
It’s no secret that processed food is harmful to your body, and its presence in your diet will not do your health any favors. These foods are typically full of preservatives and calories, which are harmful to your health in large amounts. Avoid eating processed food by preparing your own meals using fresh, organic ingredients.
3. Eating out of the Container
It may be tempting to eat ice cream out of the container or cookies out of the box, but it’s not healthy to consume meals in this way. Not only are those processed foods but you are eating a unknown quantity that is way more than a serving size. If you do not take the time to portion your meals, you can easily eat double or triple the recommended serving of something, which could in turn have serious health side effects.
4. Drive thru Dining
The average American looking to lead a healthy lifestyle should not be dining in the drive-thru if they want to prevent it from negatively impacting their health. If you do have the occasional drive thru dining experience definitely don’t supersize it! Unless you are ordering a salad from a fast food restaurant, it’s best not to eat there at all; almost the entirety of the menu is loaded with carbs and sugars which will cause you to put on weight and feel worse overall. Instead, try a healthier alternative by preparing your own meals; if this is not feasible, order a salad or grilled chicken off the fast food menu. In our nutritional counseling we always advise against soda and yes even diet soda. Both of these lead to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
5. Eating When You Are Not Hungry/Feeling Ashamed of Your Eating
There are two primary reasons for a person to eat at any occasion: when they are hungry, and when they want to taste something and learn its flavor. If you are eating to appease emotions of any kind, this is unhealthy and should be stopped as soon as possible. When you begin to rely on food for emotional appeasement, it becomes more of an addiction than a meal, as if you were using illicit or illegal drugs to cope with deep seeded issues. When this happens, you will need to find the reason for which you are eating, and deal with it. If it continues to go unchecked, you will form a highly addictive eating habit that could plague you and your health for years, so it’s best to stop this kind of eating as soon as possible. In addition, eating in secret or feeling shame for what you are eating is also highly dangerous, and should be addressed.
If you need help making healthy choices in nutrition or just want overall wellness call McLaughlin Care and check out our next 8 Weeks to Wellness Workshop. They are held bi-monthly and are always free. We offer other services in addition to nutritional counseling, massage, acupuncture, Chiropractic, fitness training and functional medicine. 847-234-2346