12 Signs Of Unhealthy Eating And What You Can Do About It

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How would you know if you are eating nutritious food and have healthy eating habits? Keep on reading and check what you can do to improve your healthy lifestyle.

Food is intended for the human body as sustenance and nutrition. It provides us with energy and is essential for the proper physical development.

Sadly, the essence of food got lost with commercialization and modern lifestyle. Along with it, many people develop eating habits that do not satisfy what the body needs.

It becomes excessive or deficient in terms of the amount of food and the number of meal times.

As a result, more serious and chronic diseases manifest over time like obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes or cancer.

Check the list below of 12 signs of unhealthy eating and assess yourself which one you should avoid or stop doing.

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1. Eating a Limited Variety of Food

If you just eat the same limited amount of food each day, you stand a good chance of missing some key nutrients in your diet.

Fill your menu with different foods so that you can be sure to get the nutrients you need. Colorful plates are healthy, filled with many colors of vegetables and fruit for dessert to get key nutrients from plant foods.

 

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2. Skipping Breakfast

This is an important meal that you should not miss. It will drain your energy but makes you eat more snacks or lunch later on the day.

Not only that, it also disturbs your metabolism. Make it a habit in spite of your hectic schedule to have a good start with a healthy breakfast.

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3. Eating Two or Less Giant Meals Daily

It is much healthier to eat 5 to 7 small meals each day than to eat two or worse yet one large one. When you eat small meals several times per day you keep the metabolism revved and never let your blood sugars drop.

When you starve yourself the whole day and then down a big meal, you put yourself at risk for obesity and you will not maintain optimal energy levels you’re your daily activities.

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4. Eating More Calories Daily Than You Burn

The simple formula for weight management and weight loss is to eat fewer calories than you burn so to create a deficit.

This is true for men and women and becomes even more detrimental as we age and out metabolism slows naturally.

Online calorie calculators can determine how many calories you need to either lose or maintain weight based on your age, weight, and activity level.

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5. Finishing Your Meal Before Anyone Else

If you are the first one done eating at the dinner table, you are probably eating mindlessly and are not savoring your meal in healthy ways.

Chowing down your meal within a few minutes can lead to indigestion and seconds, which can lead to your becoming overweight.

Instead, you should eat more slowly, taking part in whatever conversation is going on around the table.

Your hormonal signal to turn off eating takes about 20 minutes. So, if you finish much sooner than that, you will feel hungry even when you have taken in enough calories, which typically results in eating more food than you really need.

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6. Eating to Appease Emotions

Emotional eating or overeating is always unhealthy. Mainly this takes place when people are bored, lonely, tired, upset, stressed, or angry.

It always occurs when one is not truly hungry but is trying to use food to cover up emotions and the food or foods of choice are always junk food.

Like cocaine or other illicit drugs, junk food stimulates pleasure centers in the brain because it is loaded with sugar, fat or factory created flavoring that holds no nutritional value.

Emotional overeating can be a serious problem that can lead to obesity, depression, guilt, and anxiety over the eating itself.

This is one of the most serious unhealthy eating habits and plenty of help is available to address the problem.

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7. Eating in Secret

If you are hiding food, or eating meals in secret so that your spouse, friends or family do not see you, something is wrong.

It could be that you have a negative association with your eating habits that you want to keep secret or you have some guilt or shame attached to eating.

In this case, it is important to identify and deal with the issue, a therapist can help.

Eating healthy is not really so hard if you follow the tips noted above. Healthy eating means eating mindfully and choosing foods that are best for your body.

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8. Eating Right Out of the Box

If you find yourself eating potato chips right out of the bag or ice cream out of the box, you are probably not eating the right portions of food and will have a tendency to eat more food than you had originally intended to eat. This is a sure fire way to obesity.

Instead, portion out your foods onto a plate or bowl so that you stop when that portion is gone and save the rest for another meal.

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9. Eating in Front of the TV

When you find yourself drawn toward eating in front of the television, it means you are probably eating mindlessly and not directing your attention to how much you are eating or to the signals your body gives off when you are full. This leads to overeating and obesity.

Sit down to your meals and listen to soothing music or to nothing at all. That way you can focus on your meal and not on something else.

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10. Eating Food that Has Been Created in a Factory

Instead of cooking with fresh ingredients, you might be choosing to eat pre-processed foods, which are high in preservatives and are usually high in salt and/or calories.

Take the time to cook a meal with fresh ingredients, which are healthier foods. Find a nice selection of home-prepared meals you can put into your own personal cookbook.

When you cook for yourself, you know exactly what has gone into making any particular meal and you have the piece of mind that comes with knowing what you put into your body.

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11. Eating From The Drive-Thru Regularly

Unless you are ordering a salad every time, which most of us don’t, eating from a drive-thru regularly is not conducive to good nutrition.

Most drive-thru restaurants offer fast food, which is greasy, fat filled and lacks any real nutrients.

Consider whole food, which is food typically made up one ingredient and unprocessed.

Fresh fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are whole foods and they are not offered at the drive thru.

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12. Shopping in the Center Part of the Grocery Store Most of the Time

If you find yourself going up and down the center aisles of the market, where canned and processed foods reside and less or no time in the periphery of the store that holds fresh produce, meat and dairy you are eating foods that are high in preservatives, salt and sugar and NOT real whole food.

Remember, food that does not need refrigeration is usually processed, except whole grains of course.

Spend more time in the produce section of the grocery store because this leads to eating healthier fruits and vegetables instead of eating unhealthy, processed foods.

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Beat Bad Eating Habits

The first step is to brace yourself for the challenge. It goes without saying that bad habits are hard to break.

When you’re trying to eliminate something that has become a part of your life, you’re bound to encounter resistance and see your willpower seriously tested.

You’re in for a marathon—one in which that old addiction will tempt you at every step, trying to lure you back into that old vicious circle.

Slow down.

People who eat faster consume more calories because their brain doesn’t have the chance to recognize that the stomach is full.

Instead of choosing finger foods that can be eaten quickly, always eat food from a plate with utensils.

At first, this might be quite a challenge.  You have been conditioned to live in a fast food world.  You rush meals in order to have time to run to soccer practice, to a piano recital, or to school and work.

You think that rushing saves us time—but such a routine can easily backfire, leaving you with unwanted pounds.

Studies have shown that at least 10 minutes is required before the brain receives the message that the stomach is full.  This means that you could be eating long after you are actually satiated.

Your meal—whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or evening—should last at least ten minutes.

Train yourself to lengthen your meal by engaging in conversation, resting your fork between courses, chewing slowly, and drinking plenty of water between courses.

You should also wait at least ten minutes after your main meal before deciding if you need dessert.

Within that period of time, you may discover that you weren’t really hungry after all.

Salad is an excellent choice since the bulk of it fills you without ramping up the calories or clogging your arteries. Drink water throughout your meal.

Bad eating habits can ruin your life.

They can turn you into a wild man at the table, force you to lose control, and influence you to make poor and unhealthy food choices that will eventually make you overweight and obese.

Stop torturing yourself.

By torturing yourself too much, you will eventually give up in all these funny tools and use both of your hands to eat instead!

So, whether diet fork, diet spoon, chopsticks or teaspoon, at the end of the day, it is the will power that makes the difference when it comes to diet control.

Remove temptations.

Keep food out of sight and store a minimum amount of food in kitchen cabinets and in the pantry.

Never store your favorite foods. Keep on hand only those foods that require preparation before they can be eaten.

Do a little, not a lot.

By cutting 500 calories per day for a week, you will have lost 3,500 calories, one pound a week—a nice, natural weight loss that won’t freak out your metabolism.

A good, brisk walk each day can cut out 250 calories, and skipping dessert (but not breakfast) can do the rest. Go slow and gentle. Don’t try to lose a lot of weight at once.

Experiment with what you’re willing to let go of. The Grande latte you usually enjoy at 10 AM; the buttery movie popcorn that’s become a nightly habit. Target foods you don’t especially love and stop eating them.

Rate your hunger.

Ask yourself, “how hungry am I on a scale of 0 to 10?”

0 means you’re starving—woe to anyone who gets between you and the fridge!

10 means you’re so stuffed you can’t eat another bite—you might explode!

Eat when your hunger falls somewhere between 4 and 8. But, stop eating when you feel you’ve reached 7 or 8.

Plan your meals.

Planning your food a day in advance ensures that when that emotion or a challenging time of day hits, you are not tempted by incompatible foods as you try to combat old habits.

Plan your meals and ensure you have your trigger times well covered and plenty of food and/ or options all day long so that you no longer have to resist all those choices.

When you do this, the old emotions and trigger times of day will still happen, the difference is you made the choice about your food intake yesterday when your emotions did not have a grip on you.

 Place serving dishes on the counter and leave them there. 

As a result, you’ll actually have to get up out of your seat in order to get more food.

You may decide that it’s not worth the bother.  Or you may find that you discover that you need no more food between courses.

Also, do not eat directly from an ice cream carton, tortilla chip bag, or cracker box.  Otherwise, you could find yourself easily overeating.

You should always eat at the table. 

This prevents you from trying to engage in multi-tasking, such as surfing the ‘Net, watching television, or flipping through magazines while you eat.

At the table, you’ll be forced to concentrate on how much food you are putting into your mouth.  If you eat anywhere else, you may lose track of how much food you’re consuming.

Abandon the idea that you must clean your plate. 

It is simply not true.  Research has shown that more than half of adults insist on cleaning their plates, even when they are already full.

This means that you are overeating simply out of politeness.  Such a habit only serves to add unwanted pounds.

Instead of cleaning your plate, try eating only that portion of food that makes you feel full.  You’ll be healthier and happier that way.

Do not keep food in plain view during the day. 

If the cookie jar is open or the pretzel bag is out on the table, you’ll have a tremendous urge to eat, even if you are not hungry.

After a meal, put your food away in the refrigerator, inside your cupboard, or in the Lazy Susan.

This way, you’ll actually have to do some work to get at the food before you consume it.

If you happen to overeat, don’t spend a great deal of time sulking. 

Accept your mistake and move on.  If you’ve veered off course, take corrective action and forget about it.

Otherwise, you could find yourself eating out of frustration, or going off your diet entirely.

It’s better to sabotage a single meal than a lifetime’s worth of meals.

You may be self-conscious at first as you attempt to change your eating habits. 

Realize that your bad habits did not start overnight, so it will take some time to correct them.  While it may seem an arduous task initially, it is well worth the effort.

You’ll quickly find that your new eating habits have helped you to lose unwanted weight.

Granted, such techniques as hiding your food and eating more slowly will not in themselves cause you to lose weight, but they will help you to curb your overeating over the long run.

And you’ll be a better person for it.

Take time to consider the points presented above. What you learn may help you overcome your hesitation to take action.

Tips to Nutritionally Get Back On Track

Nutrition sustains your body. It sustains your very life. Is there anything more important?

Here are some tips on how to give your body the nutrients it needs. These are tips for a long and healthy life.

Eating the proper foods deserves your utmost consideration.

Fill up on vegetables during lunch and dinner versus fatty foods.

You can eat over twice as many vegetables while still cutting down your calorie intake. This way, you are full and still under your calories for the day.

You can add vegetables to any meal to have a larger meal without increasing the amount of fatty foods.

Don’t rely so much on artificial sweeteners to satiate your sweet tooth.

Also try to cut back on actual sugar, honey, corn syrup, and molasses. Try to opt for naturally sweet foods like fruits such as strawberries, cherries, peaches, and the likes. A fruit salad or trifle is also a great dessert that is very sweet.

In the grocery store, shop the outer areas and try to avoid the inner aisles.

The outer walls of the grocery store are where the good stuff is. Fruits and veggies, fresh meat, fish, bread, and dairy are all usually located on the outer aisles and areas.

The inner aisles are usually full of pre-processed foods that can tempt you off  the course like cookies, chips, pasta, and others. Stay away from them to keep your shopping in line.

When planning a nutritionally sound diet, account for a healthy breakfast.

Breakfast is more important than any other meal since it gives you nutrients as well as a boost in metabolism.

Now, you have seen the range of topics under “nutrition”. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Take charge of a nutritional program that suits your tastes and needs.

Remember that it has to be practical. A good nutritional program put into practice will pay off with the reward of a healthy body.

Tips To Make Changes

The takeaway is simple: Eat To Live… Don’t Live To Eat!

It’s really all about choices, and it’s all in our hands. Take the time to evaluate your diet and eating habits. Make the necessary changes before it is too late, as prevention is worth a thousand cures.

Make small changes every week, instead of drastic shifts where you will feel the biggest impact. Make a list of all the foods you need to cut down on in your diet, and keep cutting one out each week.

check4Be mindful of your eating habits and commit to change at least one each week.

check4Ask for help and support from family and friends.

check4Educate yourself on what are healthy foods, and the food groups.

check4Make friends with healthy eaters, they can be your best support and role models for changing bad habits.

check4Keep a list of all the changes you need to make and look it over every day to keep this information at the forefront of your mind.

check4Use positive affirmations to instill a healthier thought process toward food and eating as thoughts and beliefs guide our behavior.

Keep with it and before you know it, new healthy choices and patterns will become habits, just as the old unhealthy ones once were.

Certainly, these efforts are worth your while, as life is short and we should enjoy it at our very best!

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