So much of improving overall health is about introducing discipline into our daily lifestyle and actively working to reduce and ignore cravings for things not inline with our goals.
I see and treat food addiction in the same way I see and recommend quitting smoking – Break the habits associated with the action and the action will lose its grip.
In my smoking cessation protocol small changes in actions are changed each week until habits around use are broken (such as hand you smoke with, type of cigarette and timing of smoking).
The same thing can be done with food.
In weight gain and difficulty losing weight the action that needs to be addressed is usually one of either overeating or poor food choices.
The following habitual actions can make the event of consuming food more mindless. Reduce the association with these events and caloric consumption can drop with ease.
3 Habits to Quit to Lose Weight Easier
1) Eating at night
If you listen to our podcast you know that I am very much into circadian rhythm intermittent fasting at the moment. What that really means is I have quit eating at night.
There are a few reasons this can be beneficial in weight loss:
- Reduction of daily calories
- Improved digestion
- Reduction of inflammation
- Feeling lighter
- Improved sleep
- Improved morning energy
I have noticed all of these.
The most important point from my perspective is that restriction nighttime eating results in a significant reduction in mindless eating. The actions we take at night that we commonly associate with eating often result in poor food choices and over consumption.
These are the habits I recommend stopping to achieve the benefits listed above:
- Do not eat while you watch tv
- Do not eat after the sun has been down for two hours
- Do not eat in bed
- Do not eat when upset or sad
- Make family time more about conversation and relationships and less about food
Break these habits one by one (or all at once if you are ambitious) and over time your caloric intake will significantly decrease.
2) High calorie drinks
In weight loss it is important to think holistically – looking at all the systems of the body and how they are functioning.
Sometimes it is simpler than that.
Sometimes over consumption of calories simply goes unnoticed.
The most common habit causing this sneaking calorie consumption is high calorie drinks.
They should be avoided.
This is a short list but the effects are significant. To reduce the calories from high calorie drinks stop the following habits.
- High Sugar Coffee – Do not add sugar to your coffee. Get used to your coffee being how it was meant to taste make this restriction in calories easier.
- Sodas – regular and sugar free – Find the habits that you have associated with these (restaurants, in front of the TV, grocery store, etc) and quit them).
- Alcohol – High sugar alcoholic drinks can have a significant impact on weight. Keep your consumption to a minimum.
3) Overfilling plate or bowl
Let’s face it – our portion sizes have gotten out of control.
With the increase in size of portions provided at restaurants and the ease of food prep we have become accustomed to huge portions at home.
In general North Americans are consuming portions that are too large. It has become a habit and our appetite hormones have adapted. We expect this much food every meal but we don’t need to be eating so much.
Here are three tips for breaking this habit. These all will result in a reduction of calories and they will not significantly impact satiety. You may have to go a bit hungry waiting for appetite hormones to reset and get used to new consumption amounts. It doesn’t take long and the results are worth it.
- Size of plate – use smaller plates.
- Portion of carbs – eating more than 1 cup of cooked carbohydrates is never necessary. They contribute to significant weight gain
- Restaurant out of control – Reduce your visits to restaurants (the portions are usually large) and while you’re there remember – you don’t have to eat the entire portion.
What other habits have you had to break to reduce your caloric intake? Let us know in the comments below.