Nobody is perfect and making mistakes is part of being human. So the good news is that you’re not the only one to make the #1 nutritional mistake. We’ll take you through analyzing the biggest shortcoming in your diet and show you ways to avoid it in the future.
Let’s start by saying that this article is less about weight loss and more about healthy eating habits for a fully energized body. Our Daily Vitamins will help you with this, day in and day out.
The #1 Nutritional Mistake: Unhealthy Habits
Some things we do quite consciously, even though we know they’re not exactly healthy. With a big family holiday like Christmas, pretty much everyone eats too much, and too unhealthily. That’s okay, too, because the ‘mistake’ is intentional and indulgence (albeit in moderation) is part of a healthy diet. But we indulge in other nutritional habits without giving them much thought. Or they might be so ingrained in our routines that we have a hard time shedding them. The problem with these nutritional mistakes is that we make them over and over, so we’re constantly taking in too much sugar, unhealthy fats and calories. In contrast, healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit and so on fall by the wayside. In the long run, this damages your body – it can cause you to gain weight, negatively affect your blood counts, or even rob you of energy. In other words, your overall health is at risk.
We’ll show you typical habits that many of us have. It’s worth rethinking your unhealthy routines and becoming more aware of them in the future.
Both Consolation and Reward
We learn this nutritional mistake from an early age, when sweets or food in general are used as both a consolation and a reward. You might recognize some of these situations from your childhood: you’ve been awarded your first swimming badge in the outdoor pool, so you get fries from the kiosk as a reward. You’ve had a tumble off your bike, so the ice pack comes with a lemonade to make you feel better.
When we grow up, those habits aren’t broken – and some people take it even further. The best example of this is the after-work beer. Drinking a beer as a reward after a hard day’s work is an almost unconscious habit for many, which will harm your health in the long run.
Sweet and Salty: Habit Forms Taste
It’s no secret that sugar and salt in excess are not particularly healthy, but did you know that we get used to sweet and salty flavors? In other words, half a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee eventually doesn’t taste so sweet anymore, so you gradually increase the amount. That means how much sugar and salt we eat is also a matter of habit. The crux of it is that the food industry likes to use both because they’re cheap and add flavor. If you eat a lot of ready-made meals, you get used to the exaggerated sweetness and high salt content.
Perception Becomes Routine
Ready for lunch at 12 o’clock sharp, no matter how substantial your breakfast was? But are you really hungry or is it just habit and appetite? There’s nothing actually wrong with having regular meals because they help you avoid cravings. But if you only eat out of routine, then you won’t even notice when you’re full and when you’re hungry. And if you’re in the habit of always clearing your plate, that can add up to 30 percent more calories if you use a large plate. In a study conducted by New York’s Cornell University, researchers found that plate size affects how much we eat. This clearly shows that we aren’t particularly mindful when it comes to eating. But that’s something we can learn – and intuitive eating is the solution.
How to Do It Better
The list of unhealthy dietary habits certainly doesn’t stop here, but we’d rather find a solution instead of continuing to focus on the mistakes. As the proverb “old habits die hard” shows, changing habits isn’t easy, yet it is possible. It doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and perseverance. These tips will help you to avoid the #1 nutritional mistake:
Mindfulness: Simple mindful exercises can help you gradually become aware of your surroundings, as well as of your inner feelings such as hunger.
Turn old into new: The best way to break unhealthy habits is to replace them with healthy ones. For example, many everyday recipes are very high in fat or contain few vegetables, so try out some new, healthy recipes. Try foods you don’t know yet and let delicious flavors convince you. This is how you gradually replace unhealthy dishes with healthy recipes. Once healthy behavior is routine, everything gets easier. Click here for your route to healthy habits.
Take one step at time: Instead of changing everything at once, take small steps and consolidate them. It takes time and patience. If changing our behavior was quick and easy, it wouldn’t be the biggest nutritional mistake.
Ask questions: Think about why you do things the way you do. This makes it easier for you to spot unhealthy habits. You can also ask friends if they can observe your eating habits and give you feedback on them: some mistakes that you can’t see yourself are obvious to others. Caution — don’t let yourself be talked into the latest diet fad.
Decide for yourself who influences you: although many of our habits date back to childhood, we can still form unhealthy nutritional habits as adults. Other people may often have an influence on us, but you can decide for yourself who influences you. For example, if you share your home with health-conscious people, it will be much easier for you to break unhealthy habits. By the way, you also influence your partner, your friends and your family, so you get to decide what influence you have on your fellow human beings.
Conclusion: The #1 Nutritional Mistake
Routines and habits are both a curse and a blessing. We don’t consciously notice our unhealthy behaviors, and getting rid of them is challenging. They are a real stumbling block on the journey to a healthy diet, but you can change them with time and patience. If you succeed, you’ll have overcome the biggest nutritional mistake people make, and you’ll find it easier and easier to stick to healthy eating.
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