Do you have some unhealthy eating habits? In order to measure your success you have to know what bad eating habits you have when you start your eating plan. To set goals you have to know the areas that need change. To figure this out I recommend two steps: first, examine your current unhealthy eating habits and second, find out your nutrition IQ.
Sensible Weight Loss Step 2 – Assessing Your Unhealthy Eating Habits
The easiest way to do this is to answer the questions in the sections below.
I’m not going to have you fill out a checklist. These are simply things to think about, but they are important.
For instance, when we eat in places other than the dining room at mealtime, we have little or no awareness of what we are eating.
If you continually take bites out of the pan when you are cooking, how do you know how much you’ve had? (I’m talking actual bites, not just little nips to taste.)
When you sit down with a bag or box of chips in front of the TV you usually keep eating until the bag or box is empty. A lot of extra calories can come from these sources so when you are preparing your assessment, be sure to include all of the “other” places that you eat.
You may be able to shed weight without making any changes to your regular meals.
This leads right into the question of why do I eat. I don’t believe that all “outside of mealtime eating” stems from emotions, but I do believe that a lot of eating takes place when we experience an uncomfortable emotion and grab for food because the food is there. The food can cue us and serve as a distraction from what we are feeling.
If it’s common for you to eat because of your emotions, take this into consideration when goal setting. Perhaps you can come up with a list of diversions to use when you feel the impulse to eat and it’s not coming from hunger.
Are you ready to get started?
Read and answer all of the questions in your head. Make some notes about any unhealthy eating habits that you’d like to change and be sure to give yourself credit for those healthy eating habits that you’ve developed.
Remember this list is not designed to judge your eating. It is merely to make you aware of habits, whether they are healthy eating habits or unhealthy eating habits that you may not have noticed before, and to prepare you for smart goal setting.
Where Do You Eat?
- While standing
- Straight from the pot or pan
- In rooms besides the dining room or kitchen
- Right from the cartons
- While watching TV
- While reading or studying
- While driving
- While sitting at my desk
- Away from home
When Do You Eat?
When you are:
- Do you eat at a particular time of day?
- Are you a night eater?
- Do you wake up in the middle of the night and eat?
- Do you eat only at meals?
How Do You Eat?
- Do you eat very fast?
- Do you hide to eat?
- Do you eat structured meals or graze all day?
- Do you grab a bite or a handful of something every time you’re in the kitchen?
- Do you skip meals and make up for it in between?
- Do you eat quickly so you won’t be seen eating?
- Do you eat structured meals or eat when you feel like it?
- Do your eating habits vary from day today?
- Do you eat based on what the scale told you this morning?
- Do you usually eat alone or with others?
- How many meals a day do you eat?
- How many snacks?
- Is snacking important to you?
How Much Do You Eat?
- Do you eat until the food is gone?
- Are you a member of the clean plate club?
- Do you eat large portions?
- Do you eat until you’re uncomfortably full?
- If you finish your plate and you don’t feel “full” do you start searching for something else to eat?
- Do you serve family style?
- Do you plan on having seconds?
- If you’re the cook, do you make sure there will be leftovers?
What Do You Eat?
- Are your meals balanced?
- Do you crave sugar?
- Do you have dessert with every meal?
- Do you like high-fat food?
- What do you put on your salads?
- Do you dip everything?
- Do you like sauces or gravy on your food?
- What kind of beverages do you drink?
- Do you drink alcohol?
- What kind of foods do you prefer-sugar, carbs, heavy protein, fruits, veggies?
I want to emphasize that these questions are not meant to criticize your unhealthy eating habits or to determine that you are doing anything wrong. They are designed with only one purpose in mind – to get you to think about how you interface with food so that you can be aware and decide for yourself if and what changes you might choose to make.
Assess Your Nutrition IQ
Part of this assessment phase is assessing what you know and understand about eating foods that are healthy. I think you’ll find the following articles helpful.
Benefits of Drinking Water
Nutrition Facts Label
Reading Food Labels
Six Meals a Day
Food Serving Sizes
Low Fat Diet Plans
15 Fat Burning Foods
If you are familiar with these topics, great! If not, I suggest you check out the links I’ve provided and beef up (no pun intended) your nutrition IQ.
By the way, it has been shown that people who keep track of what they eat in a food diary are more aware and able to control their eating more effectively.
After you finish this assessment you are ready for step 3 – Smart Goal Setting.
Return to Step 1 – Believe In Yourself
Also see, Improve your oral health.
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