As I talked about in my previous post, living abroad can create some (delicious) bad eating habits.
An integral part of a healthy lifestyle is having a good knowledge about food and the effects different food can have on your body. Once this knowledge is in the forefront of your mind, you will be more inclined to make healthier choices. A good starting point to this is limiting the amount of processed sugars and saturated fats.
Remember, carbohydrates are not your enemy...they are the fuel we need!
We all know that knowledge is important, but discipline is essential to succeed. Sometimes, you may face the temptation to fall back to your bad eating habits. Without proper self-control, you will fall back into old habits you are striving to change.
These few tips below will assist you in breaking bad eating habits.
1. Plan your meals ahead of time:
Everyone trying to be healthy start off the day with the best intentions. Starting with a healthy breakfast, followed by a nice clean lunch avoiding carbs and processed sugar. However, towards the end of the day, you feel tired and hungry and bad eating habits start to creep in. You become either too busy or too tired and have no time to cook a decent meal. On your trip home the hunger kicks in and the street food looks so tempting. Sound familiar? This happens with everyone, and you can avoid it with proper planning.
Plan for failure:
One way you can prevent bad habits creeping back is by preparing various healthy meals days or weeks before time and storing them in your freezer. Personally, I load my freezer with several foods placed in food containers. These foods become very useful when life gets in the way. It is too easy to resort to street food when you are hungry and running out of time. This is one way to avoid that.
On the rare occasion, I have time to cook at home... I always cook too much. Rather than eating larger portions, I store the leftovers in the freezer. This makes things easier for me and helps me follow through my plan of eating only healthy meals. It takes little effort to put your leftovers in the freezer and can be a real asset for maintaining your routine.
2. Before going for shopping, make a shopping list and ensure you stick to it!
Supermarkets can be heaven or hell depending on your willpower. Without any doubt, when you go to a supermarket, many things will catch your attention. Walking down the aisles can be challenging, especially when your favourite foods are on special offer.
Deliver us from temptation
To avoid exposure to all these temptations, you should make a shopping list before leaving your house and go with it to the supermarket. Put down on paper the things you need and how much you need to buy them. Once you are at the supermarket, this list will guide you to shop for only the things you want. It will tailor your purchase to only those things you planned on buying before you left the house. Following this strategy will not only help you buy only healthy foods, but it will also help you save money by kerbing your spending act.
Home delivery and Wet Markets
Avoiding visiting the supermarket altogether could be another way of success. Tops and Tesco Lotus in Thailand provide online shopping via their website and offer home delivery. A great alternative is to shop at a local wet market. The prices are usually a lot cheaper and the usual temptations you find in the supermarkets are not available there.
3. Do not store unhealthy food in your house
As simple as this is to follow, a lot of people still overlook it. Some people decide to stop eating ice-cream and still buy a cup or bucket to store in their freezer. This is sabotaging the effort you are making and having a bad day could derail your achievement. Emotional eating is triggered it by being sad, mad, or bored. However, it can easilybe avoided by not keeping unhealthy foods in the house.
Throw a bad food party...
Although I doubt it is classed as a good recommendation...I had a junk food party with some friends. I got all the unhealthy food out of my cupboards, fridge and freezer and then we ate it all. Yes, I ate so much junk that evening...but after the party, there was no temptation left in my home (and we had a great time!)
4. Clean Food Delivery Service
Does the idea of having all your meals prepared for you and delivered to your home/workplace sound good? Well, this might be what you are looking for.
In response to bad eating habits, over the past few years, clean food delivery services have been popping up all over Bangkok. These range from the worldwide phenomenon of Paleo Robbie to home kitchen set ups available through Facebook and Line.
These services can really help you if you are struggling to change your lifestyle, relieving the pressure of deciding what to eat and how you are going to cook it. It helps you keep your portion sizes under control and is a great way to keep a calorie deficit.
It is worth noting that the most popular of these services seem quite expensive. With a little research, you can find some very affordable services available.
This is could be a great option for you if:
You don't have the time or space to cook your own food.
You live alone and it is too expensive to cook for just yourself.
There are no healthy options for lunch around your place of work.
You are too lazy to be in control of your diet.
Over the next few weeks, I will be trying out different services from around Bangkok. Hopefully, this will provide a comprehensive guide of the best options for us. Look out for my 'Operation' series coming soon.
5. Make 'Cheating' a Part of Your Habit.
Some nutritionists believe in the 90/10 rule. This rule is that 90% of what you eat is healthy, 10% is cheating. So if you are following a healthy eating plan every day, give yourself one cheat meal once a week.
I agree with this mentality but for me sometimes I will give myself a whole cheat day. Nutritionists don't recommend this but having a cheat day definitely helped me keep to my diet. It is never easy to adjust to a new routine so give yourself a break once in a while. Eventually, a cheat day will turn into just a cheat meal, once you see the progress in your own body...having a whole day of bad eating will make you feel guilty.
Breaking bad eating habits can be difficult and you need to want the change of lifestyle. Hopefully, you have found some of this useful.
Finding a friend or colleague that wants make a change will make a big difference. Having a support network and someone to hold you accountable can push you to keep going.
Stay positive and keep pushing forward!
If you found any of these tips helpful or have some other advice to share...comment below!