The key to getting healthy is turning your bad habits into good habits that become a normal part of your daily life. Motivation might come and go, but habits last forever.
They’re a lot like muscles: the more you flex them the stronger they get. And the longer you stick with a new habit, the easier it gets. Whatever it is – walking to work instead of driving, eating breakfast – at first it’s hard to change but eventually it becomes automatic.
It’s been proven that it only takes a maximum of 21 days to break a bad habit, so even if it feels hard at first, keep going! After 21 days you will have created a lifetime habit that will lead to positive change.
Here’s five tips for you to consider in helping take control of your food intake:
DON’T PUT CRAP IN YOUR TROLLEY
Steer past the specials and fill your trolley with real man food found at the perimeter aisles of your supermarket. Remember, if you don’t put the crap in your house, you won’t eat it! The ends of aisles are money-making machines for retailers. According to data cited by the New York Times, 45 percent of Coca-Cola sales come specifically from end-of-the-aisle racks. Importantly make sure you head in with a full tank. Our primal instinct is to go for sugar when we’re hungry and there’s plenty of that on offer, so don’t go shopping on an empty stomach.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
As fat has been taken out of many foods, sugar has been added. Sugar is cheap and addictive, which is great news for food manufacturers, but bad news for the rest of us as too much sugar plays havoc with our insulin levels and is quickly stored as fat. That’s why you need to read the label – if the food is ‘low’ in or ‘free’ of fat and low in sugar (5g or less per serve) then it’s not going to sabotage your weight loss. Anything over 5g of sugar per serve is bad news for your weight. Once you know what to look for, it doesn’t have to be a chore – just a quick scan and you know where you stand with that container of yoghurt or box of cereal.
SMARTER FOOD CHOICES WHEN EATING OUT
Research has shown that when guys eat out with 7 or more people they eat 96 per cent more food than they normally would alone, and 75 per cent if eating with 4 mates. One reason for this is peer pressure – people make poorer food choices if they order after someone else who has chosen a high-calorie meal, and are more likely to go an entrée and dessert if others do, too. So make sure you order first and set the tone of the meal – for your sake, and your mates’.
BYO AT WORK
The most obvious danger at work is lunch and our number one rule here is, take your own. You’re not only going to eat better, but you’ll save money too. Also, be aware that we tend to eat mindlessly when we’re stressed. It’s easy to mistake stress or boredom or dehydration for hunger – so stay alert to these dangers. Move around as much as possible during the day, and drink plenty of water.
AVOID THE 3:30 SUGAR HIT
We can all relate to hitting this particular brick wall. Our levels of mood-stabilising serotonin start to drop off in the early afternoon and this causes the unconscious urge to find quick energy from sugar. Highly processed carbohydrate-laden lunches like pasta or pizza only make things worse, sending blood-sugar levels into free fall and causing a massive energy crash. So make sure you have a high-protein lunch and keep some healthy man snacks on hand.