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Strict Diets Don’t Work- Try These 10 Small Changes to Your Eating Habits Instead

Are you weary from the constant struggle to stick to a strict diet, yet yearning for a healthier lifestyle? The uplifting news is that you can achieve your goals without solely fixating on your dietary choices.

Instead, it’s time to focus on cultivating some simple yet effective eating habits that will make you feel great and stand the test of time. In this article, we’ll explore ten such habits that seamlessly fit into your daily routine, helping you on your journey toward a balanced and nourishing lifestyle.

1. Eating Just the Right Amount

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Eating in moderation can play a significant role in developing a healthy lifestyle. It is because when you eat only as much as your body needs, you can consume whatever you want (within reason, of course!). –It is also important for your overall well-being as it can be mentally exhausting when you have to give up all your favorite treats.

To form the habit of eating in moderation, meal prepping, and mindful eating can be a real game-changer for you. Also, always have healthy foods at home and eliminate unhealthy foods in your fridge and pantry as best you can. This way, the temptation will be smaller!

2. Paying Attention to Portion Sizes

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Paying attention to portion sizes is a great way to practice eating in moderation. Try these tips to avoid overeating:

  • Use smaller plates – this one is actually super effective for having fewer calories! 
  • Splitting a dish with your family members when eating out. 
  • Measuring portion sizes- This way, you will know your exact calorie and nutrient intake.
  • Eat in a setting where you are tuned into your senses (not while watching TV) so that you can pick up on your body’s cues of fullness. 

3. Maintain Hydration Levels

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Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day has many health benefits. Therefore, do your best to stay hydrated. Keeping a bottle of water on your desk at work and taking it with you wherever you go can make it easier for you to drink the recommended daily amount of water (about eight 8-ounce glasses).

Although it’s not only water that contributes to your daily water intake, it’s always better to opt for clean water instead of soda or sweetened drinks. This will help with cravings, hunger, and more. A win-win!

4. Avoiding Skipping Meals

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When you skip your meals (or breakfast), your metabolism slows down, leading to gaining weight in the long term. Besides, it lowers your blood sugar levels to a great extent. 

Instead, eat a nutritious, healthy breakfast to kickstart your metabolism and get enough energy to keep going. It can also help you prevent overeating later in the day as you will feel less hungry to grab snacks.

5. Eating Mindfully

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To practice eating mindfully, do as many as you can from the following:

  • Eat slowly – it’s crucial because it takes nearly 20 minutes for the brain to send the signals of being full.
  • Pay attention to what you are actually eating (notice the smell, flavors, textures, etc.)- a life changer!
  • Understand the difference between real hunger and other triggers for eating.
  • Learn how to deal with feeling guilty about eating.
  • Recognize how food affects your mood and figure (and vice versa).
  • Be grateful for the food you are eating.

6. Reading the Labels 

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Surprisingly, Many foods than you think contain added sugar and numerous unhealthy ingredients. To spot these ingredients, you need to check the label of the products. Avoid buying products with far too many ingredients you don’t know or can’t even pronounce. Also, choose organic foods when doing grocery shopping. Those products are generally healthier and contain more nutrients than their conventional counterparts.

7. Eating More Fruits and Vegetables

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Let’s admit that most of us don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. According to a study conducted in 2017, only 1 out of 10 adults meet the recommendations for daily fruit and vegetable intake in the U.S. It’s truly shocking!

This is why one of the best healthy nutrition habits is adding vegetables and fruits to each dish. For example, green leafy vegetables are super easy to include in your diet! Since both fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibers, this healthy eating habit has numerous benefits for your health.

8. Regular Meal Times

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Try to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. This can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent overindulging later in the day.

9. Listen to Your Body

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Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied, rather than eating out of habit or boredom.

10. Moderation, Not Deprivation

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Having a healthy diet doesn’t mean that you can’t allow yourself to have a dessert or a takeout night with your friends from time to time. This is why you should not feel guilty the next time you are about to have a cheat day. If you punish yourself, you will feel worse and lose motivation.

Instead, enjoy the food and focus on your long-term goals. Eating a donut once in a while won’t make you gain weight. It will only do this if you regularly reward yourself with donuts or other sweets and junk food.

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