Fall is officially here and that means the holiday season is right around the corner. Besides family gatherings and football games, the holiday season guarantees one thing… holiday dinners.
Whether you are looking forward to turkey, honey glazed ham, or string bean casserole, we all know how easy it is to lose control when we are surrounded by delicious food and family. Most nutritionists will agree though, there is no such thing as “bad food” and “good food”, rather there are “good” and “bad” habits when it comes to food. Moderation and consistency are far more important than following the perfect diet and is key to establishing a healthy relationship with food, all year long, not just around the holidays.
Here are some things to keep in mind to help you maintain your healthy diet, and not fall off your eating plan.
1 – Not Getting Enough Sleep
Okay, this one may not be so obvious. But, it is of the utmost importance when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet. A lack of sleep can disrupt your digestion, and if this continues over time can lead to inflammation and chronic disease. Getting 8 hours of sleep consistently will help keep your digestion on track and regular.
2 – Not Drinking Enough Water
This one might seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people fail to drink enough water and properly hydrate themselves. Hydration can disrupt hunger cues, so by not drinking enough water, you might be overeating when what your body actually needs is water.
3 – Not Eating Veggies & Buying Out of Season
We all know the feeling of biting into a big juice tomato, but it isn’t what we were expecting… The explosion of flavor you were expecting seems… dull, bland, and lacking. Out of season veggies are often shipped around the world, frozen, or grown in unnatural environments. This means not only are they generally less flavorful, but also less nutritious.
Shopping local is a great way to guarantee you are getting fresh and seasonal vegetables – which are crucial to maintaining a healthy diet. Roughly 9% of Americans meet their daily recommended veggie requirement. That means 91% are not getting enough fiber to aid digestion, and the natural anti-inflammatory benefits that only fresh produce can offer. You might also want to read our article about the lectin-free diet.
4 – Not Shopping at the Grocery Store & Relying on Take-Out
If you have no food at home, you aren’t going to cook. It seems obvious, but it has to be said. By not doing regular grocery shopping you are opening yourself up for “convenience store” shopping and regularly ordering takeout. That means more chips and pizza, and less healthy thought out home-cooked meals.
Most grocery stores are open all day and night, so find a time and day of the week that works for you. Make it a habit, and go with a plan. We recommend planning an entire week’s worth of meals out before you go to the grocery store. This means you have less room for impulse purchases and are forced to put thought into what you will eat for the week following your grocery shopping trip. Pizza three days a week is a lot less appealing when you have to write it down on paper a week ahead of time.
Also, keep in mind that by cooking for yourself you have more control over what goes into your meals, and portion sizes. All restaurants have competitors, and one way to get a leg up on that competition is by offering larger than average portions. If this becomes your normal, you can be overeating day after day and have no idea.
5 – Skipping Meals
Eating less may seem like a good idea, but actually isn’t doing much to help. Skipping meals can leave you feeling sluggish and even slow your metabolism. More often than not it leads to binge eating later in the night, and we all know that eating too much before bed is not a great way to maintain a healthy weight or get a full restful night’s sleep.
6 – Eating In Front of the TV
We all know the feeling of eating popcorn at the movies and coming to the realization when the lights turn back on, that you have been shoving your face for 90 minutes without any thought. Then it hits you like a ton of bricks. Your stomach is full of pop-corn and feels heavy… even though moments before you didn’t notice your hand was making constant trips back-and-forth from your mouth to the popcorn bag.
When you are distracted, it is very easy to overeat. Your mind is caught up in the movie or TV show you are watching and may not even notice your body is no longer hungry. Meals should be something you share with the people around you, not the TV screen.
So, what do you think of these tips? They might seem obvious but keeping these in mind can go a long way to help you feel and look your best! Want more tips to improve your life?
Do you have any tips that we did not include? Make sure to stay up to date on all things Smarter-Choices, and check out other great content, like this article all about conducting a natural colon cleanse. Or this article where we ask the question, is the stomach the secret to anti-aging?