Whether you’re old, young, short, tall, rich or poor, you’ll have to break a bad habit at some point in your life.
I’ve been trying to stop biting my nails pretty much since I started – probably when I cut my first tooth – and now at the ripe old age of 23, I alternate between having beautifully manicured nails and bitten off stubs; all depending on how stressed I am at any given moment.
Ah well, we can’t have it all.
However, I’m sure that the majority of us have made some healthier substitutions to our diets and methods of cooking at some point in our lives, because we’ve realized that “the way Mom always did it” may not be the best way for our waistlines.
Picking up habits from our parents or other relatives means that we often don’t see the cooking methods or eating habits that we perceive as totally ‘average’ or ‘normal’ could actually be doing us more harm than good.
For example, when I was a kid, I used to absolutely wolf down my food at break-neck speed, and when I read Tom’s Why You Should Take Your Time When Eating, it really resonated with me. I often found myself still hungry at the end of large meals and would end up going back for seconds, causing the inevitable weight gain. It also left me (TMI alert!) horribly gassy and generally dissatisfied with what I was putting into my body.
Another bad habit that I see almost daily is piling our plates too high (here’s how to combat that). We often associate large amounts of anything with comfort, affluence, or homeliness, but we don’t stop and think how much our bodies actually need.
I found that consciously upping my water intake to two to three litres a day meant I wasn’t as hungry, and my portion sizes were downsized, or I couldn’t finish what I had previously perceived as ‘average’. I started to take my time when I ate – because my tummy was already half-full – completely eradicating the gassy, going-back-for-seconds problem.
Lastly, when I left home and moved into college dorms, I found that I was automatically adding a substantial amount of oil or butter to the pan to cook my food in without actually realizing why I was doing it. Surprise, surprise – that’s the way I’d seen someone else do it! Once I realised I could use a smaller amount of oil (these days, I only use about a teaspoon) and get the flavours going with herbs and spices instead, the weight began to fall off me. I found it fun to experiment with what works with different tastes and textures, all while losing weight in the process.
All of the tips I’ve shared with you are tried and tested methods by yours truly and are perfectly actionable; you can get started today.
Remember – you don’t have to give up anything that you enjoy or do things that you don’t want to do to take action today. We’re simply creating a lifestyle that works for us and our bodies, one small step at a time. Think of it as a fun challenge, not a chore. The feeling of knowing what foods and portion sizes work with your body and suit your lifestyle is an incredibly satisfying one, so try it today!