Improve Eating Habits With Daily Behavioural Goals
When it comes to eating, the things we do once a week are rarely the issue- it’s the little things we do daily that have the biggest impact on weight. Many people focus on calorie-counting when they’re trying to lose weight, but by focusing on your daily behaviours you can start making significant changes to your current eating and improve eating habits in a way that will help you to lose weight gradually without having to calorie-count. Identifying some specific behavioural goals and committing to them on a daily basis can have a big impact on your overall food consumption.
Working On Our Own Personal Eating Habits And Challenges
When it comes to weight loss, one size doesn’t suit all- as individuals we have different needs, challenges, attitudes, behaviours and habits. Some people eat very large portions, others might drink an excessive number or teas or coffees; others might overeat specifically in the evenings; some people might graze all day on the ever-present biscuits and cakes in the office, whilst others might feel the need to eat dessert after meals. Rather than embarking on a specific diet plan where someone else creates the rules and you obediently follow them, it’s better to target your own personal challenges to improve eating habits otherwise, once the diet is over, your old eating habits are likely to creep back in.
Target Specific Things To Help You Improve Eating Habits
If you’re trying to lose weight, take a good look at your current eating habits and identify what behaviours you think you need to work on- focus on them with a view to making some specific positive changes that can help you to reduce your overall food consumption. Keep it simple- don’t try tackling too many things at once. Perhaps identify two or three eating habits you carry out more or less on a daily basis, and give yourself a daily behavioural goal for those current habits. For example, instead of drinking your usual four or more large lattes every day, a new behavioural goal might be to drink just two regular-sized ones. Choose goals you feel are realistic and achievable; don’t be over-ambitious. Remember that baby steps are better than taking on too much at once, otherwise you might not commit to it. Here are just a few examples of some daily behavioural goals that could be implemented to help you reduce food intake and improve eating habits overall:-
- Eating from smaller plates, dishes and glasses
- Eating 1-2 healthy snacks instead of grazing on the office snacks- taking in your own healthy snacks to work and not touching foods brought in by anyone else
- Swapping your large lattes for Americanos
- Swapping starch (potatoes, rice, pasta) for 2-3 green vegetables, for your evening meal
- Not eating leftovers of any kind
- Counting a certain number of tablespoons to help you reduce, and stick to, a smaller portion of breakfast cereal
- Preparing less food for the evening meal
- Not having second helpings, in order to eat less
- Planning (and preparing) what you intend to eat that day
- Eating breakfast every day to stop you getting overly hungry and overeating mid-morning/at lunchtime
- Asking yourself when tempted to eat more food, ‘Am I actually hungry?’, and not eating if not hungry
- Doing a non-food related activity in another room instead of eating snack foods in front of the TV.
Commit To Daily Goals So That They Become Automatic
By committing to your behavioural goals every day you will find they become automatic, long-term habits, which is just what you need when you want to not only lose weight, but improve eating habits for good so that you can maintain your new weight for life. We only set up rock-solid habits if we carry them out consistently, so by committing to daily actions they can become unthinking, automatic habits that you do with very little effort, a bit like cleaning your teeth- you want to get to the point where the new habit is so automatic that you don’t have to think about it- this is why it’s important to focus on creating new dietary behaviours that you do daily, not just once or twice a week, in order to make those habits familiar and automatic.
Just A Couple Of Dietary Changes Can Have A Big Impact
If you want to improve your eating habits to help you lose weight, it’s important not to underestimate how effective it can be to commit to even just one or two daily behavioural goals. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of calories we’re consuming each day, and by cutting down on the amount you currently eat by committing to specific daily actions, you’ll be surprised what a difference this could make to your overall calorie consumption. If you swap one behaviour for another, or add in a new behaviour, although it might seem insignificant it’s the overall accumulation of those behaviours over a week, and then a month, that makes committing to daily behaviours extremely significant and beneficial. Although it’s important to be aware of the energy (calorie) density of foods, by tackling your eating habits you won’t feel the need to rely on rigid calorie-counting, measuring every bit of food you eat or denying yourself your favourite foods. Try combining your new daily behavioural goals with a bit of mindful eating, and you should start seeing some great results!
If you feel you could benefit from my Mindful Eating service, give me a call (Emma Randall) on 07961 423120, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am based in Lightwater, Surrey. Skype sessions are also available.
See ‘Services‘ for more information.