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9 Ways to Break Bad Eating Habits for 2016

9 Ways to Break Bad Eating Habits for 2016
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 4 min read

2016 is the perfect year to break your bad eating habits, and there are several ways that you can change them without having to spend a lot of extra effort or energy. Breaking bad eating habits can take time but with the right plan and by following a few tips you can change your worst eating habits and start to lose weight gradually. Dieting is one way that you can change some of your eating habits, but it does take a lot of long term effort and focus. Try some of these 9 tips to break bad eating habits and see if they help you with appetite control.

Method #1 - Eat breakfast regularly

A main reason why people stay hungry throughout the day is because of the fact that they don't eat breakfast. Breakfast is essential to controlling your appetite because it provides you with a quick source of energy, and as long as you eat a healthy breakfast with protein, natural carbs from fruits and vegetables and healthy fat, then you won't be feeling starved before your next meal. Several studies have linked breakfast with appetite control and weight loss so if you have struggled with snacking and eating junk food and you haven't been eating breakfast, you should definitely consider eating it on a regular basis. Remember that the quality of what you eat is just as important as the meal, so avoid any high carb or high sugar foods.

Method #2 - Don't eat and watch television

Watching TV can cause you to "€œspace out"€ and eat more than you normally would because it draws your attention away from your meal. As a result it's best to avoid eating when you are watching TV. Studies have shown that people who eat while they are distracted consume approximately 10 percent more calories at the time. Also, you can start to develop the habit of having to eat something every time you turn on the television, and that can easily lead to mindless eating of way more calories than you need. Focus on eating without any distractions at all, and it's a simple way to break a lot of bad eating habits and reduce your calorie intake.

Method #3 - Eat from smaller dishes

Eating from smaller dishes can actually help you eat fewer calories per meal. When you use large plates you are more likely to load them up with large portions of food subconsciously. Using smaller plates may seem too simple but it can actually work, and a study on portion size in Australia found that one of the biggest influencing factors in how much people ate during a particular meal was the size of their plates [1]. The study found that a small decrease in dish size can result in a substantial decrease in calories consumed per meal. Of course the quality of the food that you eat plays a role in the healthiness of your meal as well, but changing your dishes to a smaller size is an easy fix that you can implement right away.

Method #4 - Reduce your nighttime alcohol consumption

Drinking one or two glasses of red wine in the evening won't really hurt you, but if you find that you are gaining weight it can quickly become an extra source of calories that you really don't need. The health benefits of red wine are real, but if you're trying to lose weight you really don't need any extra fluid calories. Use smaller glasses for wine in the evening, or better yet try an alternative stress reduction technique like yoga or exercise or meditation to reduce your evening stress levels. Or, limit your wine consumption to once every few evenings.

Method #5 - Don't eat at night

Eating in the evening is one of the biggest causes of weight gain and a bad eating habit and it's fairly easy to prevent. Make sure first of all that you are eating a balanced dinner that has healthy fat, natural carbs and protein. If your dinner is lacking in protein or healthy fat then you are likely to be hungry again a few hours later. Set strict time periods when you are going to eat, and after dinner the best thing to do is to avoid any eating at all, or if you do have to eat something limit it to a piece of fruit or vegetables only. If you eat a lot of calories after dinner they are more likely to turn into fat and it's easy to gain weight this way.

Method #6 - Keep only healthy foods within reach

One of the biggest reasons for snacking and bad eating habits is the availability of unhealthy foods. You can fix this pretty easily by just keeping them out of reach, and ideally completely out of your home. If you surround yourself with nothing but healthy options you'll have no choice but to eat them when you're hungry, and that alone can break a lot of your bad eating habits. Just be careful to keep your pantry and fridge clear of any junk foods or high carbohydrate foods and it can help you control your appetite for junk food quite a bit.

Method #7 - Don't eat when you're in a bad mood

It can be difficult to break this cycle, but emotional eating can drive you to want to snack when you're in a bad mood. Junk food can trigger the release of serotonin which gives you a temporary mood boost, but relying on junk food for that can quickly turn into a vicious cycle. The best thing to do is to avoid eating at all when you're in a bad mood, or to try something else other than eating like exercising, or watching a movie. Try your best to break the association between eating and being in a bad mood, and you'll reduce one of the biggest causes of weight gain. And, if you do have to eat something at least make sure that it's healthy rather than a high sugar food.

Method #8 - Have a small meal before you go out to eat

Another bad eating habit that can be difficult to break is eating when socializing. Going out to eat is a great way to get together with friends and family but you don't want to always go to a restaurant on an empty stomach. Of course you probably know already that most of the menu options available at many restaurants at not going to be the healthiest choices, and if you are the type of person who eats out often then you need to be careful with what you eat. An easy way to control your appetite when eating at restaurants is to have a quick meal, a salad or a smoothie right before you go out, and this way you won't be tempted to order a huge portion or appetizers which can quickly add to your calorie count.

Method #9 - Drink fewer sugary drinks

Ideally you shouldn't drink any sugary drinks at all, but at the very least you should try to reduce your consumption of them. Sugary drinks can lead to fast weight gain because they are a source of fast liquid calories, and they don't provide you with any fiber or any other nutrients to fill you up. There are many other negative health effects of drinking sugary drinks, and you should do your best to avoid them, especially drinks with high fructose corn syrup. Use stevia as a natural sweetener for your drinks, switch out soda for carbonated water or mineral water, and if you drink fruit juice dilute it or limit it as much as possible.

Just by cutting sugar drinks out of your diet you can reduce your weekly calorie consumption by over 1000 calories or more, and this can quickly add up and make it a lot easier for you to manage a healthy weight. By following these tips you can definitely make major changes to your eating habits in 2016 and live a healthier life, and you'll be surprised how far a few of these changes can go in helping you lose weight. Some of these tips may work better than others for you, so focus on your weaknesses and also be sure that you are following a healthy diet which is more important than anything else.


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.