Good eating habits take time to develop. Be sure to identify the good habits you have in place, then work to strengthen them and add new ones to the list. Make one or two changes at a time and remember that over the course of a year, small changes add up to big ones.
1. Eat regularly.
This keeps ravenous hunger from sneaking up on you – and making you eat more than you normally would.
2. Eat a light, healthy dinner.
If you have had all your meals, this shouldn't be too difficult. If you haven't eaten all day, the smell of dinner may hit you all at once when you get home and cause you to eat more than you need to.
If you eat late and go to bed before you finish digesting your food, you won't sleep as well or you may have trouble falling asleep.
3. Plan ahead.
Pack healthy lunches and cook nutritious meals at home instead of picking up something quick at the end of the day that's less than healthy.
4. Focus on food.
Always eat at the table without distractions such as television or your computer, which can block satiety cues. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to signal to your stomach that you are full.
5. Savour your meal.
Take small bites, chew your food well and enjoy the flavour. This allows you to digest your food well, relax and let your brain tell your stomach you've had enough.
6. Listen to your hunger.
Don't ignore it, but avoid eating out of boredom or for emotional comfort. Food won't solve any problem except hunger.
7. Get some satisfaction.
Eat just until you feel satisfied – even if that means leaving half behind. Serving smaller portions is one way to keep from wasting food.
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The problem: Unfortunately, you can't depend on thirst as an indicator of your fluid needs, so you could be mildly dehydrated without knowing it; fatigue is often one of the first symptoms of mild dehydration.
The solution: Get in the habit of consuming fluids regularly, even if you are not active. Besides drinking water, you can get fluids from juices, sports drinks, lemonade, milk, soups or watery foods, such as lettuce, cucumbers and fruits.
If you're worried about toxins in your tap water, use a faucet filter – it can make your water taste better, too. There's not necessarily any advantage to drinking bottled water, but if you prefer it, read the label for the water's source, content and taste. For more info, log on to the Canadian Bottled Water Association's website.
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