5 Important Nutrition Habits to Break

by Amy Revell, Certified Personal Trainer 

You’ve heard mountains of conflicting advice on what to eat, how to eat, where to eat, when to eat; sifting through it is quite a chore. Some habits are more harmful than others to your health and weight management. Following are five of the most important habits to break, and a few tips on how.

1. Skipping breakfast.  Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It wakes up your metabolism and gives you the chance to get a nutritious start.  If you’re in a hurry like most of us, grab a Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit on the go, find a granola bar high in protein and fiber, or make a quick yogurt and fruit smoothie to sip during your commute.

2. Eating refined carbohydrates. It can’t be stressed enough that quickly-absorbed simple carbs are on the bad habit hit list. Their nutrition has been stripped, including fiber, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Beginning the transition to complex carbs should be slow and easy, though, to allow your palate to adjust. Start by trying white whole wheat bread, instant oatmeal, and pasta that’s half whole wheat. Working at it one step at a time will help you adjust gradually while increasing your nutrition and energy.

3. Demonizing fat. Yes, there are certainly bad fats to avoid, specifically trans fat and saturated fats. Unsaturated fats, like olive oil, nuts and nut butters, coconut oil and avocado, can help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar and lower your risk of heart disease. Adding olive oil to stir-fry meals, eating a handful of almonds a day and enjoying some sliced avocado in your salad are all great ways to get beneficial fats.

4. Depriving yourself. When you cut foods you love out of your diet entirely, you can end up craving them. This can lead to binge eating on a bunch of other “healthier” foods to help satisfy the craving. Allow yourself small servings of what you really enjoy!  Dark chocolate, red wine, beer, ice cream, chips – they can all be enjoyed in moderation and help you feel satisfied.

5. Eating too little. Many people, especially those trying to lose weight, can cut calories too much. It sounds counter-intuitive, but your body needs fuel no matter what. Your body will go into starvation mode, which can cause it to hang on to every last calorie you give it. When you eat enough to sustain daily activities, your body feels safer and will allow those pesky fat stores to get burned up and flushed out. Find a calculator online, such as at www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate, to see how much you should eat to lose or maintain your weight, then journal your food to stay on track.

Start working on breaking some of those bad nutrition habits. You’ll feel better and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and high blood pressure. Take your time to slowly adjust. Making something a new habit can take three weeks, but you’ll get there!

Reference sites: www.livestrong.com, www.webmd.com, www.mayoclinic.com