by Wendy Humphris, ROHP
Breaking habits can be even harder than starting new habits -- wouldn't you agree? Especially when those habits are related to your health. If you tend to gravitate toward unhealthy junk foods, it can be a considerable struggle to change your eating habits to incorporate healthier items.
There are a few reasons why this is so difficult to do, and even better, there are several tricks you can implement to get over that hump.
Today we're speaking specifically to breaking the junk food habit and beginning to eat more whole foods...
Go gradually with your cutbacks
Junk food is loaded with sugar, and your body gets hooked on it. Start by cutting down on these junk foods that are currently in your diet. You’ll get less of a high from them, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy eating goals. Start by taking the sugar out of your coffee, or by switching out your snacks each day with a healthy snack. Whatever small step you choose, stick with it until you're comfortable with your new healthy habit -- then move on to your next healthy habit. It works like a charm!
Never buy foods with more than five ingredients
In the supermarket, you should mainly roam the fresh aisles where the produce and unprocessed foods are. However, there are still staples you’ll need from the inner aisles. Read those labels when you find items in those inner aisles, and try to find the healthiest option possible of what you're shopping for -- the fewer ingredients and the more you can pronounce those ingredients, the better.
Add more colors and textures to your plate
A salad is impossible to eat if you just throw soggy lettuce in a bowl. Instead, make it a rainbow of colors and a playground of textures. Add tomatoes, colorful peppers, crunchy nuts, and even a bit of goat cheese to please your palate.
Break your bad habit cycles
If you always ventured to the vending machine at work in the mid-afternoon, break the association with that by starting a healthier habit. Take a walk that keeps you away from that vending machine, for example. It will only take a few weeks to replace that old bad habit with a good one, and you'll be feeling so good about your swapped habit that you'll be ready to tackle your next habit swap.
Make healthy foods more accessible
You’re more likely to eat right when you’ve got a healthy snack ready to go. Bag up portions of mixed nuts, make your own trail mix, and keep cut up veggies with hummus around and you’ll always have a healthy go-to snack.
Don’t keep junk in the house
To make the switch complete, keeping those junky items out of your house is best. That way if you get a craving at midnight, you won’t be willing to run out and get it. You’ll train yourself to save sweets and treats for special occasions instead of for late night snacks.
Allow yourself to be disgusted
A great way to make the change to eating less processed foods is to really learn what’s in them. Go ahead, pull those packaged foods out and research the labels. Look up all the ingredients you can’t pronounce. They sound much less delicious now, don’t they?
Be patient and kind with yourself, too. Your inner voice needs your nurturing to make this change for the better.
Wendy Humphris, ROHP
I’m a holistic nutritionist and I transform health for a living.