For the most part, we all know what we should and shouldn't be eating. It isn't not knowing what to eat that throws us off our healthy paths, it's a number of other factors. The first step to understanding why you might make poor food choices is to get a better understanding of your habits, emotions and routines.
The disorganised eater
Yes we have all been there, rushing out the door in the morning, no time to make lunch or eat a healthy breakfast so instead you grab something on the go or tick up take out. Maybe you're too busy making the kids lunches and forget about yourself. Hmm I've heard all the excuses before but at the end of the day you need to prioritise yourself and your health. It doesn't take much longer to prepare an extra meal at the same time as you are preparing others.
Find a meal prep solution that works for you. Some people like meal prep Sundays, which I personally hate because having one meal set out for the whole week seems incredible boring to me and I prefer lots of variety. Every night I make sure that I cook double, at least double the protein and use this as lunches for the next day. This way it doesn't take up your whole Sunday and you get something different everyday. It just means buying a little extra and planning to cook more. This is all about what works for you though. If mornings are crazy busy and leave you no time for a healthy breakfast, prepare bircher muesli or egg muffin cups the night before so that you can easily eat on the run. Also it takes no more than 5 minutes to make a healthy smoothie so try wake up 5 minutes earlier and make yourself a priority.
The Bored eater
Bored at work or when you get home and you're waiting for dinner time, this even falls in to the procrastination category, when you eat to avoid studying or cleaning or starting that huge paper that's nearly due. If the bored eat is your downfall, you need to look at when and where you are doing this. Something that is really soothing no matter where you are is making a cup of tea. Not only will it fill you up but it is quite satisfying as well. I love a tea called Bengal Spice, its got cinnamon (great for sugar cravings), carob and a whole bunch of other spices, I love this tea with coconut milk in it because it makes it even more satisfying.
You also need to find something for satisfying to do with yourself that isn't eating, like going for a walk outside, calling a friend, picking up a book or magazine, doing a meditation, doing some sun salutations, really anything that you might enjoy that'll distract you from heading to the pantry. Honestly I have been the bored eater in the past and I put barriers in place for myself to help me be more mindful. I would mindlessly reach for nuts in the cupboard when I was bored so I moved the nuts up to the top shelf of the pantry so that I had to thing and take an extra step before grabbing them. This is where notes to yourself can help "Are you bored?" sticky notes on your weakness foods can help trigger you into realising what you are doing.
If you are actually hungry though, please eat something!
This has got to be one of the trickier habits because it takes a lot more to get yourself our of it. Movies and tv shows don't help with the image of women gorging themselves on Ben & Jerrys after a breakup, but eating junk food never makes anyone feel better physically, emotionally or mentally. Again with emotional eating you need to understand when and when you fall into this pattern. Put steps into place that prevent you from falling into your usual trap. Tea like I mentioned above is a great way to feel soothed without consuming too much. You need to dig into you emotions either before or after you've fallen off the wagon. Take a few moments and do some deep breathing to connect with yourself and try and feel what is happening emotionally. I like to write my emotions in a journal so that I can see them out in front of me and write as many emotions as you can. By writing them down you are also releasing them or at least consciously recognising them. Then I would also suggest an emotional releasing meditation to help you let go of these feelings.
If after some time of trying to release and move through your emotions, you are still struggling, I would recommend a kinesiology session to help you dig a little deeper and release what ever emotions are causing this deep subconscious pattern.
Not eating enough
This is the person who is doing the fasting diet, or on a strict eating plan or the one who forgets to eat. You limit yourself and then binge or overeat at your next meal. Basically your body is so hungry that when you finally eat, it becomes difficult to stop. You need to listen to your body's needs. You should never be afraid of eating when you are hungry and its also best to not ever feel overly full. There is a balance with respecting your body's needs and food. This is also the mommy who fixes her kids food when she is starving and then picks off their plate. The problem can also be not eating enough of the right nutrients. Each meal should consist of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, of course always vegetables too
. Of you are eating all three of those in the right quantities then you shouldn't find yourself binging at your next meal. You always want to eat to satisfaction rather than under eat because thats when you over eat or snack in between meals.
Healthy food swaps
Once you understand where your downfall is and the places where you usually make bad decisions, you can make swaps or choose healthier options instead. If its at work and you usually head to the vending machine for a snack or get tempted by your local coffee shops treats, instead have healthy options waiting for you in you desk. Having a container of nuts like almonds, macadamias and cashews in your desk at work prevents you from reaching for sugary or fatty treats when you are feeling like a snack or that 3pm slump. I also like to have 90% Lindt chocolate around because its very low in sugar and it satisfied that chocolate craving, also you cannot eat more than one or two pieces because its so rich. Remember to drink water throughout the day too, sometimes our brains register as hungry when we are actually thirsty.
Recognise what food you crave when you reach for something naughty. If its chocolate, swap it for 90% Lindt and a few nuts like I mentioned before. If you crave salty chips, swap it for kale chips or maybe salty nuts, I also really like carrot sticks dipped in a mixture of tahini and tamari because it's healthy and curbs that salty craving. Here are some more healthy swaps:
Pasta - Lentil pasta
Chips - air popped popcorn, nuts, kale chips
Energy drinks/ coke - Kombucha
Muffins - a bliss ball
Biscuits - nuts
Milkshakes - My Healthy chocolate frappe recipe
Chocolate bars - a teaspoon of peanut butter with 90% Lindt
Fast food - Home made
Coffee - green tea