Habits for a Healthy 2022 :)

The start of a new year is a perfect opportunity to think about how you want to live your life and what you would like to achieve.

If you have struggled with yo-yo dieting and an on-and-off the wagon struggle to lose weight, then let this be the year to finally let go of this "diet" mindset and rather start to focus on health.

Focusing on health rather than on losing weight prevents future weight regain due to healthy lifestyle choices beyond a weight loss goal.

When you start to see yourself as a healthy individual, making healthy lifestyle decisions, you will be more likely to want to always feel this good and repeat these healthy behaviours or habits.

Habit change requires goal setting and repeated performance of these goals until they require less effort and become more unconscious behaviours which can easily fit in to your lifestyle.

Here are my top healthy eating habits and ways in which to achieve them:

Habit 1: Count nutrients instead of calories.

Why? Considering the combination of nutrients in each of your meals or snacks will help to stabilise blood sugars, improve energy levels and productivity, regulate mood, prevent high hungers and cravings, increase satiety and improve gut health. How to achieve it:

  • Fill half your plate with vegetables/salad at lunch/dinner

  • Add fruit to your breakfast

  • Add some fruit or raw vegetables to your snack times

  • Include wholegrains/starchy veg/legumes with each meal (1/4 plate OR fist size)

  • Include a lean source of protein with each meal (palm size)

Habit 2:

Think of treats/extras (less nutritious foods) as being only an addition to your intake of nutrients for the day.

Why? All foods should be enjoyed in moderation. Meals and snacks should provide energy, satiety and nutrients, while extras are for pure enjoyment only. When you are actually hungry and need to refuel, treats/extras will only give a quick, short-term energy spike, followed by a dip in energy and a higher hunger soon after again.

How to achieve it:

  • Avoid choosing treats/extras as a snack replacement

  • First choose real food when you are hungry and decide after if you still want a treat

  • Savour and enjoy every mouthful of a treat when you do choose to eat it

Habit 3.

Eat to feel energised, satisfied, sustained, content and no longer hungry.

How to achieve it:

  • Eat when your body first signals hunger and follow a regular meal pattern

  • Incorporate a nutritious snack between meals if meal gaps are longer than about 3-4 hours

  • Avoid eating to the point of feeling stuffed, bloated, lethargic, uncomfortable and overly full.

  • Be present at meal/snack times and use them as a refuelling, energising time-out from your day

  • Eat at a table, from a plate, with a knife and fork where possible

  • Slow down your pace of eating and aim for 20-30 minutes per meal

Habit 4:

Drink plenty of water throughout the day

Why? This will help you feel more alert and awake and less hungry. Your body may signal hunger instead of thirst when you are dehydrated

How to achieve it:

Pair the habit of drinking water with other habits in the day

  • With each meal/snack

  • On waking up

  • Around and during exercise times

Happy new year! I hope this is the most nourishing, healthy year ahead :)

For personalized guidance in making healthy food choices or planning a diet that works best for you book a consultation here: https://www.gabimeltzerdietician.com/book-online.


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