Changing your eating habits can sometimes be overwhelming. We have a lot of deep-rooted behaviors and habits surrounding when, why, how, and when we eat. Vegetarians, vegans, and cannibals also have to deal with the question of “who” they eat, but that’s not what this blog is about.
If you’re thinking about losing weight, cutting out unhealthy foods, or addressing recent changes to your eating behavior, you’ve noticed the numerous of diets and meal plans that claim to put you on a path to wellness in just one week, one day, or one article. Sudden radical lifestyle changes may be normalized by some diet gurus, but these changes rarely become permanent, and some can actually have negative health consequences. How can you change your eating habits?
Getting a handle on compulsive eating, binging, weight loss or weight gain can be tough. By examining your habits, their origins, and your relationship with food, you can plan more mindful eating decisions and build them into healthy daily behaviors. Here’s our guide to changing your eating habits through self-reflection and small progressive changes.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Making positive changes to your eating behavior is a process, and because eating is such a basic human necessity, it can be a challenging one. You got this!
Farm to Fit makes it easy to build a healthier routine, with weekly deliveries of ready-to-eat gourmet meals designed for all diets.
CBT and the psychology of eating
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a somewhat recent psychological technique. CBT has become a standard for treating a wide array of issues, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and disordered eating. CBT’s core principles of self-reflection, self-monitoring, metered small changes, and long-term maintenance have been effectively utilized for personal goal-setting and achievement. These practices have been translated from the therapist’s couch to become somewhat synonymous with “self-improvement” techniques. Many articles, including this one, base their advice on these techniques.
While CBT still works best when in coordination with a specialized professional, these tools can be extremely useful when embarking on a journey to personal betterment. It just takes diligence, fearless introspection, and an open mind.
Phase 1: Self-assess your goals for changing habits
“How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the lightbulb has to WANT to change.”
The first step to change your eating habits should always be determining if you’re ready for a change. Examine your motivations for healthy eating. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to have more energy? How prepared are you to handle roadblocks and setbacks? Write these down and keep them somewhere to help you remember your initial reasons for embarking on this new path.
We often think we know ourselves better than we do. Our minds constantly distort reality, however, and our self-image is often distorted as well. One of the best ways to truly self-monitor is by journaling.
If you’re trying to monitor eating habits, consider keeping a food journal. Make note of what you eat, the time of day you ate, where you ate, what you were doing, and your emotional state prior to and after eating. The CDC has a template here to make things easier.
“Cues” or “triggers” are terms referring to emotions or circumstances that instigate bad habits as a coping mechanism. These cues can be environmental, physiological, psychological, social, or even economic.
When it comes to disordered eating, these cues are often things like stress, boredom, or a lack of time. Identify these cues using your food journal and make a list of the ones that occur on a daily or weekly basis. Pick a few that you want to work on first, remembering that building good habits isn’t an all-or-nothing equation.
Ask yourself what cues can you avoid altogether? Which can you reduce? What can you replace with a healthy alternative?
Phase 2: Find good habits to replace old ones
Positive self coping
One of the best ways that CBT helps the mind understand itself is through analysis of “self-talk.” These are statements, either verbal or internal, that comment on our actions or situation. These can be broken down into self-defeating statements and positive self-coping statements. Self-defeating statements are almost unilaterally damaging rather than useful, things like “I’m not good enough to do this” or “I deserve what’s happening to me.” These lines of thought lead to shame, self-loathing, and often repeated unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Try to note these negative self-statements as they come up and examine them. Write them down if it’s helpful. Re-format these into positive coping statements that more accurately describe the reality of your situation, and determine how you can move forward with your goals. For example, instead of “I can’t stop snacking, I’m too weak,” consider re-framing this self talk to “I’m snacking again, I need to find a better way to address this issue.”
Meal planning is an essential tool in breaking bad habits and avoiding the cues that cause them. You can remove the stress of figuring out what you’ll eat and whether it fits your goals by planning meals out in advance. You can avoid excessive snacking, overeating, or relying on fast food by deciding on healthy meals and snacks before putting yourself in a place where you’ll be tempted. A good meal plan should also account for your shopping, cooking, and prep times as well, which makes cooking multiple meals easier as well. You’re also more likely to keep your home stocked with healthy options this way. Here are some templates to get you inspired.
If you find yourself overeating while alone, consider eating in a more social setting. Even just one other person can change the cadence of the meal. We are social creatures, and often unconsciously mirror the behaviors of those around us. Pausing for conversation or pacing your bites with another person can slow down your eating, giving your food more time to digest. You’re less likely to be distracted and unaware of how much you’re eating.
The 20% rule
Many of us eat until we’re “full,” but it’s a somewhat nebulous term. Everyone’s personal definition of “full” is different, and many people only reach this state once their plate is clear. Instead, nutritionists recommend eating until you feel 80% full. There’s a delay in communication between the stomach and the brain, meaning that the “full” signifier often doesn’t set in until after we’ve passed this. By pausing once you feel mostly full and allowing your brain to catch up to your stomach, you can avoid feeling bloated or dealing with those extra calories.
Phase 3: Maintain and reinforce your new habits
Again, we’re social creatures. You can’t change your life all by yourself. Find a friend, family member, significant other, or co-worker with similar goals or a sympathetic view to hold you accountable to your new lifestyle habits. Studies show that those who have a support community are much more likely to stick to their new changes in the long term.
One day, one meal, one bite at a time
We work best when we focus on the present. Don’t worry as much about sticking to your new habits for the rest of your life, or you’re likely to overwhelm yourself. Instead, focus on each day or each meal as an opportunity to make healthy choices. As these small changes accumulate, you’ll be building momentum to continue these good practices in the future.
Patience and self-care
Habits take time to make and break. Remember that it’s a cumulative process, with each small good decision building on the last. Of course, no one’s perfect, so when you do go against your new habits, make sure you’re ready. Think about challenges you might face, roadblocks on your path to healthy living, and what detours you can take to avoid getting stuck. Don’t berate yourself for slip-ups, but do reward yourself (with something other than food) for good ones.
Farm to Fit 2021
Signature Menu Meals
Signature Breakfast Sandwich
Start with a whole wheat English muffin, then melt gouda cheese over a caramelized-onion and egg disk, and top it all off with roasted red bell pepper & Canadian bacon. That’s what we call healthy morning munchies on the go!
Signature Tortilla Espanola
Salud! Start your morning in shades of Spain with a slice of our Tortilla Espanola, smeared with lemon-sweet paprika cream and finished with Canadian bacon.
Signature Chicken & Shrimp Paella
Saffron, Spanish rice, stir-fried vegetables, and seared chicken and shrimp. One of the world’s favorite one-dish meals, delivered to your door.
Signature Farm to Fit Kitchen Salad
A tangy, protein-packed lunch. Grilled chicken breast, BBQ-spiced garbanzo beans, edamame, and fresh veggies. Sprinkled with blue cheese and zesty house dressing.
Signature Beef Tuscan Stew
Stay warm until Spring’s here with a hearty bowl of our Tuscan style beef stew, complete with creamy polenta and wilted greens.
Signature Poached Salmon
A perfectly poached salmon fillet with a dill reduction drizzle. Served with a side of simple mashed potatoes and quick braised vegetables.
Fancy? Delicious? Easy?
Yes, yes, and always.
What People are Saying
“I am loving the meals!”
“Everything is so good and I’m trying and enjoying things I’ve never tried before. Eating is fun again!” – C.P.
“I have lost 53 pounds so far because of Farm to Fit.”
“After 9 months on Farm to Fit, my doctor now says I am no longer pre-diabetic.” – H.N
“I appreciate the variety.”
“Also, I noticed the ingredients on the nutrition labels which helps educate me as well as confirm that your ingredients are healthy and wisely sourced.” – K.S.
“I LOVE Farm to Fit.”
The meals are fantastic, and the customer service has always been outstanding… It’s like the best aspects of cooking at home and eating out combined.” – J.L.
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Menus and News
Core Plans Include 1200, 1600, 2000, Diabetes Friendly and BOOST Low Carb Monday – Wednesday (Sunday Delivery) Broccoli & Cheddar Omelet: with breakfast yams (D) Winter BBQ Brisket Sandwich: grand central bun, braised cabbage slaw, warm bean salad (B, O, BP)...
Core Plans Include 1200, 1600, 2000, Diabetes Friendly and BOOST Low Carb Monday – Wednesday (Sunday Delivery) Leek, Mushroom, Goat Cheese and Herb Omelet with breakfast potatoes (D, M) Polish Chicken in Roasted Carrot Sauce with spaetzle & green peas Herb-baked Cod...
Keto requires so much of our body. Should you keep exercising the same way when switching over? Find your keto exercise plan here.