Healthy eating habits play a big part in reaching your goals. At the beginning of your journey, it’s easy to want to tackle several changes at once, but Gold’s Gym Wellness Director Connie Cheng says baby steps — taken one at a time — will yield the best results.
“The most general rule is to slow down,” she says. “It’s all about the small victories that cascade into making healthy eating decisions during the day.”
Three healthy eating habits to try first
Conquer these habits to help set yourself up for long-term success.
1. Eat regularly. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and you’re more likely to continue making good eating choices when it’s time for lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the rest of the day. Plus, fueling your body regularly helps you stay full and avoid making impulse decisions.
2. Cut back on caffeine. Your body produces appetite-regulating hormones while you sleep. Caffeine can affect your sleep pattern and, therefore, that hormone production. Additionally, too much caffeine will give you a spike of energy that eventually plummets, and people tend to react to that crash by eating or drinking high-sugar items to get their energy back up.
“Your body can get addicted to the spike-and-crash roller coaster,” Cheng says. “Avoid it by having 24 ounces or less of coffee or energy drinks per day, or try matcha instead for a more focused energy.”
3. Curb heavy late-night snacking. Carb-heavy snacks before bed can suppress production of the hormone in charge of burning fat and building muscle while you sleep. Eating a variety of balanced meals during the day will help you avoid cravings. However, if you decide to eat a late-night snack, Cheng recommends something high in protein and fiber, such as Greek yogurt with fruit or hummus with veggies.
“Tackle one change at a time and take however long you need to master it before you try another one — especially if you’re looking for a lifelong transformation,” Cheng says.
Accountability and technology help create healthy eating habits
Cheng recommends asking for help when taking on a big lifestyle change.
“Tell your close friends and family about your plans,” she says. “Hopefully they will encourage you to stay disciplined when you are tempted to make an unhealthy decision.”
Health and fitness apps and devices can also help you stay accountable (and you can connect your fitness tracking devices and record your workouts with the Gold’s Gym Member App). In fact, when she’s been sitting at her desk for a long time, Cheng appreciates a reminder to get moving from her wearable device.
“I like that I’m always aware,” she says. “I want to reach my daily steps and make sure I’m getting the sleep I need, and I like knowing those things are being tracked.”
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