talk about your eating habits

Photo: Man eating a salad

When it comes lớn eating, many of us have developed habits. Some are good (“I always eat fruit as a dessert”), and some are not ví good (“I always have a sugary drink after work as a reward”).  Even if you’ve had the same eating pattern for years, it’s not too late lớn make improvements.

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Making sudden, radical changes, such as eating nothing but cabbage soup, can lead lớn short term weight loss. However, such radical changes are neither healthy nor a good idea and won’t be successful in the long lập cập. Permanently improving your eating habits requires a thoughtful approach in which you reflect, replace, and reinforce.

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  • REFLECT on all of your specific eating habits, both bad and good; and, your common triggers for unhealthy eating.
  • REPLACE your unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones.
  • REINFORCE your new, healthier eating habits.

Photo: A woman making a list.

  • Create a list of your eating and drinking habits. Keep a food and beverage diary for a few days. Write down everything you eat and drink, including sugary drinks and alcohol. Write down the time of day you ate or drank the item. This will help you uncover your habits. For example, you might discover that you always seek a sweet snack lớn get you through the mid-afternoon energy slump. Use this diary [PDF-105KB] lớn help. It’s good lớn note how you were feeling when you decided lớn eat, especially if you were eating when not hungry. Were you tired? Stressed out?
  • Highlight the habits on your list that may be leading you lớn overeat. Common eating habits that can lead lớn weight gain are:
    • Eating too fast
    • Always cleaning your plate
    • Eating when not hungry
    • Eating while standing up (may lead lớn eating mindlessly or too quickly)
    • Always eating dessert
    • Skipping meals (or maybe just breakfast)
  • Look at the unhealthy eating habits you’ve highlighted. Be sure you’ve identified all the triggers that cause you lớn engage in those habits. Identify a few you’d lượt thích lớn work on improving first. Don’t forget lớn pat yourself on the back for the things you’re doing right. Maybe you usually eat fruit for dessert, or you drink low-fat or fat-free milk. These are good habits! Recognizing your successes will help encourage you lớn make more changes.
  • Create a list of “cues” by reviewing your food diary lớn become more aware of when and where you’re “triggered” lớn eat for reasons other than vãn hunger. Note how you are typically feeling at those times. Often an environmental “cue”, or a particular emotional state, is what encourages eating for non-hunger reasons. Common triggers for eating when not hungry are:
    • Opening up the cabinet and seeing your favorite snack food.
    • Sitting at home page watching television.
    • Before or after a stressful meeting or situation at work.
    • Coming home page after work and having no idea what’s for dinner.
    • Having someone offer you a dish they made “just for you!”
    • Walking past a candy dish on the counter.
    • Sitting in the break room beside the vending machine.
    • Seeing a plate of doughnuts at the morning staff meeting.
    • Swinging through your favorite drive-through every morning.
    • Feeling bored or tired and thinking food might offer a pick-me-up.
  • Circle the “cues” on your list that you face on a daily or weekly basis. While the Thanksgiving holiday may be a trigger lớn overeat, for now focus on cues you face more often. Eventually you want a plan for as many eating cues as you can.
  • Ask yourself these questions for each “cue” you’ve circled:
    • Is there anything I can bởi lớn avoid the cue or situation? This option works best for cues that don’t involve others. For example, could you choose a different route lớn work lớn avoid stopping at a fast food restaurant on the way? Is there another place in the break room where you can sit ví you’re not next lớn the vending machine?
    • For things I can’t avoid, can I bởi something differently that would be healthier? Obviously, you can’t avoid all situations that trigger your unhealthy eating habits, lượt thích staff meetings at work. In these situations, evaluate your options. Could you suggest or bring healthier snacks or beverages? Could you offer lớn take notes lớn distract your attention? Could you sit farther away from the food ví it won’t be as easy lớn grab something? Could you plan ahead and eat a healthy snack before the meeting?


photo of man in front of open refrigerator

  • Replace unhealthy habits with new, healthy ones. For example, in reflecting upon your eating habits, you may realize that you eat too fast when you eat alone. So, make a commitment lớn share a lunch each week with a colleague, or have a neighbor over for dinner one night a week. Another strategy is lớn put your fork down between bites. Also, minimize distractions, such as watching the news while you eat. Such distractions keep you from paying attention lớn how quickly and how much you’re eating.
  • Eat more slowly. If you eat too quickly, you may “clean your plate” instead of paying attention lớn whether your hunger is satisfied.
  • Eat only when you’re truly hungry instead of when you are tired, anxious, or feeling an emotion besides hunger. If you find yourself eating when you are experiencing an emotion besides hunger, such as boredom or anxiety, try lớn find a non-eating activity lớn bởi instead. You may find a quick walk or phone Gọi with a friend helps you feel better.
  • Plan meals ahead of time lớn ensure that you eat a healthy well-balanced meal.


  • Reinforce your new, healthy habits and be patient with yourself. Habits take time lớn develop. It doesn’t happen overnight. When you bởi find yourself engaging in an unhealthy habit, stop as quickly as possible and ask yourself: Why bởi I bởi this? When did I start doing this? What changes bởi I need lớn make? Be careful not lớn berate yourself or think that one mistake “blows” a whole day’s worth of healthy habits. You can bởi it! It just takes one day at a time!