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Taking a Deep Look Into Newer Habits

What are some new habits you picked up last year? Some things have changed for the best and others have not.

I’d like to take a look into some of the changes you’ve made that might not be serving you or your continued health.

You are mindlessly eating

You ate a whole sleeve of crackers or cookies while surfing Instagram!? It happens. You never really connected to the food you were eating so you never enjoyed it or acknowledged your hunger/fullness cues. A few extra calories here and there might not seem like a lot at that time but it can add up through the day.

Consider slowing down and really catching flavors and textures in your meals and put your devices away during meals and snacks!

You are not eating enough healthy fats

Healthy fats promote satiety, taste good and keep us full longer. Fat is digested slower and if you find yourself hungry all the time a low fat intake may be to blame.

Consider adding nuts or seeds to meals, top your toast or sandwich with avocado or plan to get in some fatty fish once or twice a week.

Your portions have gotten out of control-even for healthy items

This might be especially true in the area of protein. Many people assume if a little is good than more should be better. In reality any macro nutrient in excess is stored as fat. Protein doesn’t magically turn into muscle when you eat a bunch of it. Wouldn’t that be nice though. The same goes for the above mentioned healthy fats. They are so nutrient dense that a little goes a long way. One tablespoon of peanut butter several times a day really adds up over time.

Consider increasing the vegetables on your plate to take up half of the meal. This will ensure you are filling up on good fiber while keeping your carbs, protein and fats at regular portions and allowing yourself to get more if you are truly still hungry.

3pm snack attack hits hard

Common scenario: you’ve been doing extra great all day regulating what you eat, making sure its low calorie and vegetables, appropriate portions and healthy stuff...until 3 pm and your willpower crashes into primal hunger and fatigue. There is no stopping you from whatever food you find at this time.

Consider adding more nutrient dense choices, and more food overall earlier in the day and see if that prevents crazy hunger and low energy at 3pm. It’s worth a try.

Liquid calories are adding up with out you noticing

You are making or stopping for a quick coffee pick me up more often. It is likely not black coffee so adding syrup, whole milk, whipped cream and others can really add up over time with little nutritional benefit. These empty calories rarely leave us feeling satisfied or give us any lasting energy.

Maybe you are drinking more alcohol. While having a drink a day can be a healthy habit, more often than not our portions are off. A standard serving of wine is 4 ounces but most wine glasses are 12 ounces plus-making that glass of wine the equivalent of three!

Consider your options (less syrup, whipped cream and choosing almond/soy/skim milk) when making or ordering coffee and cut back on drive thru coffee runs. Start measuring your alcohol if you find yourself over indulging often.

You are home more therefore the kitchen is always open

When you eat your blood sugar rises and your body in turn releases insulin, a hormone. When you eat more than your body needs insulin will store the rest as fat. If you are constantly grazing throughout the day, every 1-2 hours, insulin is constantly being released and stored as fat.

Consider instead of eating less at meals and always being hungry-->eat more at meals with a balance of fiber, protein and healthy fats to last through a 3-4 hour windows with out constant grazing.

You have gotten used to sitting more

Whatever quarantine looked liked for you might just be your new normal. Fewer errands, shopping trips, home school, gyms forced to reduce clients, more zoom meetings and computer time, etc… that all makes for more sitting and less movement.

Consider in addition to your regular exercise, get up and taking a walk often. It doesn’t have to be long or strenuous, even several 15 minute walks can get more steps in your day.

If you have confusion or specific barriers related to any of the above mentioned items consider checking in with a registered dietitian to dive deeper into your personal patterns and habits.

This information was adapted from Eating Well, “8 Sneaky Reasons You Could Be Gaining Weight , According to a Registered Dietitian.” April 2021

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