Updated: Mar 9
Eating and drinking are two of the primary sources of happiness for some individuals. In a way, food and drink connect us to others and opens a variety of doors that were previously closed.
However, what if eating felt more like a chore as opposed to something beneficial? What if the guilt associated with eating left you feeling worthless? Unfortunately, unhealthy eating habits can cause a certain anxiety around food that can have lasting effects on our psyche.
If you have experienced debilitating consequences from bad eating habits, likely you didn't notice the initial signs. In order to better understand how food impacts our body, let's first consider six signs identify flawed eating habits.
1. You Don't Enjoy Your Meals
As mentioned, eating is supposed to be enjoyable. If you find yourself dreading meal times, likely you aren't eating what you like. Sure, nutritious food has the reputation of being bland. However, there are countless fun and exciting recipes that incorporate healthy eating without skimping on the flavor.
One health source recommends "not eliminating major food groups from your diet." They continue, "If you really like a certain dish and it doesn’t fit completely into your healthy eating plans, find a cleaner way of making it."
2. You Are Always Hungry
The media will have you believe that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you must starve yourself. This myth is far from the truth. In fact, when you are watching your diet, you are encouraged to eat more! Eating small, nutritious snacks in between meals will prevent binge eating. Increasing your protein intake by snacking on nuts, healthy fats, and fibers will make the transitional period between meals easier.
3. You Avoid Social Outings or Eating Out
If your diet has you constantly saying no to dinner with friends or turning down invitations, you probably need to revisit your mentality. There are valuable options at many restaurants that offer calorie reduced meals. By planning ahead, you can still enjoy your time with friends without feeling guilty.
As mentioned, dieting shouldn't hinder your lifestyle. In fact, it should be a compliment. If you avoid social outings for fear of eating something "bad" you will burn out and resent healthy eating. Remain balanced and understand what you can eat.
4. You Constantly Feel Guilty After Eating
This is one of the most common bad habits associated with dieting. For example, you eat clean for breakfast and lunch, but you overindulge in that chocolate cake after dinner. Next comes the feeling of guilt and regret that pounds on your self-esteem. This is a nasty habit that can lead to more serious consequences if left untreated. One of the beginning signs of an eating disorder is overwhelming guilt surrounding eating.
One way to break this habit is by being easy on yourself. You're human! Mistakes are bound to happen, and it's important that you understand that now. Also, being balanced with your mentality will also make a difference in how you view yourself.
Sure, you slipped up during breakfast, but don't allow that to affect your lunch choice. You're on the right track because you acknowledged the slip-up and you're not letting that determine your future.
5. You're Constantly Consumed with Numbers
Sure, dieting is all about understanding how much of something you are eating. In the long run, the number on the scale can provide some satisfaction when we see it going down. However, constantly checking your calorie intake or weight can turn into a nasty obsession.
This may cause feelings of discouragement which could prompt you to give up. Although keeping track of how much you're eating is key, don't let that overshadow how you feel. Remain balanced and understand that healthy eating is all about the journey, not the destination.
6. You Aren't Planning Ahead
The popular quote, "those who fail to plan plan to fail" can be applied to healthy eating. Meal prepping is an essential element to obtaining results. If you fail to plan your meals, likely you will eat whatever is convenient during meal times. Often, these meals aren't the healthiest. Make time to really schedule your meals to remain on track. This eliminates unnecessary worry associated with eating.
There are countless eating habits that prove to be unhealthy when making a lifestyle change. However, despite the challenges, the process can be quite fun when done correctly!