Good eating habits should be a priority in everyone’s life, not just of those who are into sports. This area is too important and influential to be neglected. Your approach to eating will be reflected in your appearance, well-being, and long-term health, so it’s worth considering how to improve your eating habits in order to get more out of life. Here are some proven strategies and areas for optimizing your diet.
Eating habits are much more than just the type of food you consume. It’s also your broader approach to diet, a kind of philosophy of nutrition.
I have my own and I encourage you to develop yours, just like with long-term training goals. In order to maintain a diet (and when using this term, I don’t just mean a calorie deficit aimed at losing weight), you need to internally understand why you’re doing it.
The purpose of this post is to point out areas where you can optimize immediately, effectively improving your eating habits.
There is no single right diet
Let’s start by debunking one of the biggest nutrition myths – there is no such thing as the best diet.
Don’t waste your time searching for it. Don’t focus on grouping foods under the label of a specific diet – keto, paleo, Mediterranean or any other.
The absolute foundation for influencing weight and body composition (muscle vs. fat) is calorie intake and calorie expenditure. No special combination of foods will accelerate fat burning or muscle building. What matters is whether you consume less energy than you expend during the day (to lose weight) and whether you consume enough protein (to build new muscle fibers).
This is a simplification as there are more factors involved, but at the same time, these are the basics that you must absolutely remember if you want to change your eating habits.
A healthy approach to eating is thinking in terms of what proportions of macronutrients your body needs depending on your goals and lifestyle.
All kinds of diets are an imperfect “product” designed for people who do not know the basics of nutrition and are therefore susceptible to solutions promising better results than others.
Meanwhile, the source of their effects or lack of lies elsewhere.
Give up the all-or-nothing approach
Another very important aspect that has a huge impact on good eating habits. At the same time, it is very close to my heart because I have tried and failed to implement it many times. Now I know better.
In fact, we shouldn’t operate in extremes in any aspect of life, but in the context of eating habits, this advice means that no matter how strong your enthusiasm is, assuming that you will never eat anything sweet or fast food again is doomed to failure. More importantly, there is no need to make such drastic restrictions.
That said, departing from extreme restrictions does not mean a lack of discipline. It is absolutely crucial indeed to achieve the results related to diet and training. Healthy eating habits are about balance. A half-hearted week of dieting won’t make you fit, just as a few slips a month won’t completely ruin your progress. Long-term consistency is what counts.
Continuously maxing out in one direction or another is neither possible nor desirable.
Eat regular meals
The total number of calories consumed during the day is one thing, but the distribution of those calories across meals is also important. There are people who practice OMAD (one meal a day), eating, let’s say, 2600 calories in one meal at the end of the day, and claiming that it has a number of benefits, but I don’t see any sense in this approach, both from a physical and mental point of view.
If you train and have physique goals, eating regular meals will put you in the best possible position to achieve them.
There are people who skip breakfast, others allegedly forget to eat meals (say what now?!), both of which sabotage their efforts.
For me, regular meals have been a game changer. Irregular eating is simply very ineffective.
Good dietary habits include, among others, routine, which will help your body function better and process the nutrients you provide it with more efficiently. The bio-machine that you are constantly operating sometimes works very intensively. Make sure you regularly supply it with the necessary fuel.
Sugar is your biggest enemy
In principle, I am not a supporter of grouping food products into good and bad categories. The poison is in the dose, and macronutrients are not inherently harmful. However, they can be more or less useful to you.
The main problem with sugar is that it is present in many processed foods, including those that are not primarily sweet. This makes it very easy to unknowingly consume a large amount of sugar.
This leads to an overdose of energy (calories), the excess of which, along with low expenditure (caloric expenditure = physical activity), leads to the accumulation of fat tissue for storage.
A sweet snack without solid physical activity is a guaranteed new deposit of fat, especially if you don’t have muscles, which require a lot of energy just to maintain.
Good eating habits certainly include controlling sugar intake, not just from sweets.
One of the simplest changes you can make is to cut out ALL soda and juice. If you feel like having something sweet, buy the Zero version. And if you eat something sweet, a walk is the minimum recommended physical activity.
Get more water and vegetables in
No matter what you do or what kind of lifestyle you lead, you need to find a way to incorporate more water and (raw) vegetables into your system. This is non-negotiable.
Good eating habits include daily portions of vegetables and drinking water not just when you’re thirsty.
Few people practice these incredibly beneficial habits, but incorporating them into your life is really not that difficult. Vegetable portions don’t have to be huge and can accompany something that you enjoy eating more. Personally, in addition to their taste, I value the richness of colors and textures that vegetables add to meals. Cold water with lemon juice, on the other hand, is simply a tasty and refreshing drink.
For someone who is not used to regular consumption of water and vegetables, it may seem difficult because it is not associated with exciting taste experiences, but habit formation can help here. Over time, you simply start to crave them.
There’s not much to dwell on with this issue, you just have to increase your supply of vegetables and water.
Investing in better dietary habits is an investment in yourself that guarantees a return in many areas of life. It’s incomprehensible to me why anyone needs to be persuaded to do this. If you’re wondering how to improve your well-being, diet is a great starting point.
Changing your eating habits is a process that can initially be challenging, depending on your current habits, but it gets easier with time and you stop having any desire to go back to your old ways.
To develop good eating habits, don’t look for shortcuts or magic solutions, just focus on the basics:
- Don’t try to find a special diet promising amazing results.
- Don’t fall into unsustainable extremes.
- Eat regular meals.
- Avoid excessive sugar intake.
- Consume plenty of water and vegetables.
If you don’t master and optimize these basics, forget about any long-lasting effects. You can starve yourself to lose weight quickly. You can overeat to gain weight quickly. However, in the perspective of your entire life, only good eating habits will bring you results and satisfaction.
There are plenty of aspects you can improve. Start gradually, choose one for the next week, stretch it into a month, and then move on to the next one. Invest a quarter, half a year, a year in improving your eating habits and enjoy what you have achieved for the rest of your life.
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