5 strategies for healthy eating

1. Watch out for the special occasion

Never did I expect that this is a big killer. When I recount back each time I binge or give up on my diet, I traced back to the moment I give in to ‘the special occasion’. The special occasion can be a festive gathering (countdown party), a wedding, or anniversaries and birthdays. Sometimes, the special occasion can be as subtle as a good offer too good to miss. I’m not saying not to celebrate. Be mindful of the possibility of overeating. Give yourself a limit and not to cross it. For example, set yourself a rule — “I will only order a tall latte regardless of any occasion / offer.” Or “I allow myself to feast on ONE serving of unhealthy food”. By drawing this boundary, you help yourself not to mess your diet up.

2. Eat small healthy snacks throughout the day

We were taught to eat 3 big meals a day. By lunch time or dinner time, we are famished. The survival instinct kicks in. We gorge ourselves mindlessly until we feel full. Unfortunately, our mind process satiety slower than in reality. That’s where we overeat even when we are full. How can we overcome that? By feeding ourselves with small meals throughout the day. Pack nuts and fruits to munch on as snacks. When lunch or dinner arrives, we are a little satiated. This gives us control to choose what and how much to eat.

3. Watch out for stress & late nights

This is a special form of special occasion. I’m guilty of that. After a hard day at work, I want to reward myself by finishing a bucket of fried chicken. I lied to myself, ‘I deserve it’. Yes, I should practice self-care from the stress at work. Interestingly, my choice of self-care is destroying my health. After I noticed this discrepancy, I start to consider other alternatives to pamper myself after a stressful day. I opted for baked salmon which is tastier and healthier or I give permission to sleep more. The trick is to find a win-win solution to manage stress and diet.

4 Exercise for 10 minutes daily

We all know that exercise is beneficial for health. There is other factor that exercise helps to manage overeating. Once you start exercising, you are more mindful of what you eat. There is less reason to gorge once you start exercising. Start light. Take a stroll or a short jog.

After a hard day at work, I want to reward myself by finishing a bucket of fried chicken. I lied to myself, ‘I deserve it’

5 Track for intake

Maybe it’s too difficult to change your eating habits totally. Our eating habits were heavily reinforced by emotions and over learned. Attempts to stop overeating are often met with failures. Do not lost hope. One strategy to counter failure is tracking your feed intake. Tracking our current behaviour gives insights about our eating habits. I found out I tend to gorge on fried chicken on Monday nights, drink at least 5 pints on Friday and never plan for dinners. The food journal gives me a detailed blueprint to make customised changes. I just need to mange these ‘high risk situations’. I learnt so much about myself that I didn’t thought about. This helped me to make wiser and minute decisions to overcome overeating.

Originally published at The Mental Falconry.