Sometimes, when it comes to eating, it's not what you do, it's the way that you do it.
Do you rush a meal? Rely on takeaway? Inhale your dinner while standing up and checking emails? All these habits could have more to do with your struggle to lose weight than what you are eating.
“What you eat and how you eat it are intertwined with the quality of your digestive health and weight management,” explains Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Owner of The Good Nutrition Co, Nicole Dynan.
Following these tips will help make sure you have a happy relationship with your food.
Habits to Adopt:
- Eat slowly: “This not only reduces your risk of indigestion but helps prevent over-eating as the brain takes 20 minutes to catch up with the ‘fullness’ signals of the stomach,” Nicole explains.
- Do one thing at a time: Focusing on eating alone can help make the food experience more pleasurable and help you to be more mindful.
- Eat high fibre foods: “Consuming a diet that is high in fibre and rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits can improve your digestive health,” Nicole explains. “It can also help you prevent digestive problems, such as diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as achieve or maintain a healthy weight."
- Eat to your hunger: Eating when you are hungry can help keep your digestive system in good shape. “Try and eat to your appetite, which means eating when you have a good level of hunger and stop before you are full,” she says. “Having a glass of water before your meal can help you to re-hydrate and reduce your risk of over-eating.“ Nicole also insists you sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Stay hydrated: “Drinking plenty of water is good for your digestive health and weight control. Water in your digestive system helps prevent constipation and over-eating as it serves to fill you up.”
Habits To Avoid:
- Eating too many ‘extras’: “On average, Australians consume 35 per cent of their daily intake as ‘extra foods’ or junk foods. This should be much less for most people, especially as most of us are now more sedentary,” explains Nicole. ‘Extra foods’ are usually high in energy, refined sugar and/or saturated fat and contain little nutrients, she adds. “Excess energy in the body is stored as fat.”
- Eating late at night: “While there is no ‘best’ dinner time, late night eating is linked to obesity. So the key thing to remember is whatever time you eat, don’t over-do it. If you can’t avoid eating late, plan your meal ahead of time, stick to the assigned portion and include plenty of vegetables,” Nicole advises.
- Skipping breakfast: “A healthy breakfast can help you reduce your hunger throughout the day and give you better levels of energy," Nicole says. "If you avoid it, you are also more likely to choose higher calorie foods throughout the day and be less likely to exercise. So even if you eat late at night and wake up still feeling relatively full, have a light breakfast like a piece of fruit or a low-fat Greek yogurt — it will help keep your hunger at bay throughout the rest of the day.”
- ?Multi-Tasking: Have you ever sat down in front of the TV with a full plate of food only to reach for the next bite and find nothing left? “Being more mindful when you eat by focusing on the task at hand can make a big difference to your sense of ‘satiety’ or ‘satisfaction’ at the end of the meal and help you consume less,” Nicole explains.