As much as you may be committed to your health and fitness, it's easy to get a little lazy about eating well, especially around the holidays. Who wants to say no to all the sweets, all the time? Not me! But with the New Year almost here and bathing suit season coming soon, (Memorial Day is only five months away!), perhaps we need to give ourselves a swift kick in the butt and kick these five poor eating habits to curb along with all our other baggage from 2015!
1. No Breakfast
I don't care if you're not a breakfast person. Get hungry! Eating small, frequent meals will rev up your metabolism. If you wait until lunch to take your first bite of the day, I bet you any amount of money that you end up eating more than you should. You overeat because your body needed food hours before your brain started sending hunger signals. Once you create the habit of starting your day with a small breakfast, your brain will begin to send more regular signals you need to pull out a fork or spoon in the a.m.
Think: high-protein whole-grain oatmeal, egg-whites, turkey bacon, whole-grain toast, fruit, and more for your brand-new breakfast habit. Eating on the go? A protein bar is better than nothing.
2. Lack of Protein
Yes, fruits and veggies are low in calories and good for you, but a lack of protein means your stomach will get hungrier faster!
Learn from me: every time I start the day with cereal and skip the protein, an hour later I am both hungry and exhausted. Complex carbs are amazing so do eat those, but simple carbs and low-calorie fruit won't tide you over.
If you're a vegetarian, invest in high-protein grains, beans, tofu, and cheese — if your diet includes dairy.
3. Watch Your Snacking
Are you really hungry at your desk or do you just need something to do while you work at the computer?
Watch how often you snack and what you're snacking on. A whole bag of pretzels is a whole bag — even if you think they're healthy! Nuts, fruits, carrots, and other veggies with hummus, or crackers with peanut butter are all good mid-day snacks. That's right. Throw a little protein into your snack.
4. Sip Less Starbucks
A little caffeine is not a big deal but typically these tasty drinks are loaded with syrups and milk: high in both sugar and calorie counts! You may think, "Well, I'm only drinking this," but a calorie is a calorie whether you sip it or chew it. Cut down on the milk and flavored syrups if you need your coffee or daily cup of tea.
5. Late-Night Dinners
If I eat late, I eat like a football player when really I'm simply a petite mom. When I'm tired and famished, I whip out the pasta, the cheese, and every other savory item my hormones and fatigued body have told me I deserve. Problem is, I end up feeling like a Macy's Thanksgivig Day parade balloon after my after-hours dinner.
Pay attention to the clock and don't eat dinner too late when you're tired, feeling lazy, and so hungry that you will eat anything and everything in your path. Just try to plan ahead a little.
And One Last Thing to Remember
No one is perfect and life is meant to be enjoyed. Pick a small daily sweet or savory treat to enjoy and relish in one solid cheat day per week — this way you can enjoy a moderate diet and feel healthy and fit while doing it.
2016 is a brand new year and it's a great time to banish the bad eating habits and bring in the good. Set reasonable goals for yourself and never leave your home empty handed — always have a snack on hand. Almonds, anyone? Remember: you're not you when you're hungry, so plan ahead!
Happy New Year!