5 tips to help improve your eating habits26th March 2020
Beauty starts from within, right? In the current climate, it’s very tempting to sit indoors every night drinking wine and eating crisps! Many of us go through the day experiencing cravings and reaching for sweet treats, when healthier options would be much better for us. I came across a few tips to help improve eating habits and would like to share them with you.
When you next experience a food craving, stop and think of ways you can manage the craving without indulging in the food itself. Consider your common cravings – what are they cravings for? Might you just be feeling thirsty? Or tired? Or perhaps you are bored and need to get up and wander around to stretch your legs? Some examples of why we crave certain foods are listed below:
1. THIRST: Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty. Dehydration can be misinterpreted as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water.
2. EMOTIONAL EATING: Being dissatisfied with a relationship, being stressed or bored or feeling uninspired by a job may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to satisfy an emotional void.
3. LACK OF NUTRIENTS: Unusual cravings may be a sign of inadequate nutrients. For example, inadequate mineral levels may produce salt cravings.
4. HORMONES: Low levels of serotonin (a ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter produced in the gastrointestinal tract) can be due to depression, anxiety, alcohol, poor gut health and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Carbs and sugar increase the release of serotonin and can give a temporary mood boost.
5. AN UNHEALTHY GUT: Serotonin is produced by bacteria in the gut. If you are eating an unhealthy diet and have an unhealthy gut it may not be getting the right nutrients from your food or producing adequate amounts of serotonin.
So what can we do to help fight these cravings?
1. GET MOTIVATED: It is really important that you have a clear reason why making these changes is important to you. Keep reminding yourself of your goal and it will help you resist temptation in those harder moments. If you are aiming to get in shape, perhaps keep a photo of you on the fridge or on your desk to remind you what you are aiming for.
2. PLAN AHEAD: Catching up with a friend for coffee and worried you’re going to be tempted by the cakes on display? Plan ahead to help avoid temptation- suggest going for walk instead, or mentally plan your order in advance (a pot of herbal tea is a great alternative to coffee and cake). Perhaps have a piece of fruit before you go, so you don’t feel hungry and then tempted to buy the cake.
3. DISTRACT YOURSELF: Cravings often pass by themselves with enough initial distraction. A change in thought and environment may help stop the craving. Going for a brisk walk or a taking a shower will often help shift your mind onto something else. Distracting yourself by slowly drinking a herbal tea is also a good idea. By the time you have finished hopefully the craving has faded.
4. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU ARE EATING: Most of us make our decisions about food whilst on auto-pilot. What makes diets harder to stick to sometimes is the need to actively make decisions about food, which can be exhausting. If you slip back into auto-pilot, it can make you feel less in control of your choices. These auto-pilot
choices can be reset but it will take some time.
5. STAY HYDRATED: Thirst is often confused with hunger or food cravings. If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. You may find that the craving fades away because your body was actually, just thirsty.
I hope these tips help to set you on the right path to improve your eating habits. Have you got any other tips you’d like to share, I’d love to know?