Whenever and for whatever reason you have to change your eating habits, it’s going to be a little struggle. You’ll miss some of your favourites, you have to think more about what to buy and what to cook and sometimes, just because you’re used to it, you will crave for something. Whatever your diet or eating habits might be (I won’t start a discussion about which one is the best, don’t worry), how can you make the change a little easier? Here’s what helped me.
Right now, after the lazy weeks in Vienna and also because I recognized that in my new office there is ALWAYS something sweet and I started to eat it without thinking, I want to reduce my industrial sugar intake as well as I want to try to reduce the carbs, meat and fat a bit and at the same time increase the daily dose of vegetables and proteins. That doesn’t sound like a big change, but believe me, also small ones can be hard. My plan:
- Don’t buy what you don’t want to eat.
It might sound simple, but what isn’t in your fridge, can’t be in your mouth. You will be thankful for that in a weak moment. In my case this is high fat cheese (because I love it as a substitute for chocolate). No ham, no bacon and if, only organic, high quality, but low fat meat and ham. And I only buy a certain amount of bread, because I know myself too good to know that I will always grab a bite when there’s nothing else that I can have easily.
- If there are things you are craving for, portion it.
For example, I buy those little bars of chocolate, where there are 5 bars for 40 grams in each package. That is the same amount as a normal big bar, but looks so much more! You can also weight your gummy bears and put it in a bowl which has to last for a week. Easy peasy!
- Don’t go shopping hungry.
Old thing. But true. I sometimes even start to want things I would never ever buy when I’m not hungry in the grocery. And if you go hungry because you have to due to your daily schedule, chew on a chewing gum. Believe me, it works!
- When all of a sudden you feel “hungry” – wait.
Why? Because it is only a quick appetite and not a real hunger, it will vanish after 15 mins. True story!
- Make a cooking plan.
Yes, boring. But at least think about what you can cook out of certain ingredients, so you are not forced to order something or eat nothing at all. And have a look on the menu plan of your company restaurant. If there’s nothing I can live with, I am well prepared with my own meal. And yes, if you don’t have to go shopping every day, you also save time and money.
- Start cooking.
Low effort, high results. Last summer, I mostly ate my own food and bam, I lost weight and even more important, I felt so much better. Because you know best what your body wants and needs and what makes you feel bad. And, btw: learn how to use spices and herbs. You won’t miss sugar and salt after a while anymore, when there is a lot of other taste in your food.
- Eat from small bowls as much as possible.
I don’t believe that certain colors of your dishes help you to eat less. But I realized in Sri Lanka that eating from small bowls helps you to avoid over-eating. When I had my curries there, they often were served in many small bowls. It looks so much more than it actually is and at least I personally get a better feeling when it is enough easier. Even if I take another portion, it still is less than if you have a big plate. Of course, this won’t work with something like a steak. But even in that case, I would put the side dishes in small bowls. On the one hand, you focus on that lovely piece of meat in front of you (and really appreciate it). And on the other hand, you won’t eat too much of potatoes and stuff.
I personally also love eating from bowls because it gives me a cosy feeling. No idea why. Experiment with different ways of presenting food (ever tried caprese with those mini-mozzarella-balls in a big wine glass? Then it’s time to try ;-)) and you will see, how attractive daily food can be.
- Celebrate each meal.
We all are constantly in a hurry. But hey – there’s always time for some minutes of eating. If you have to stay in your office – at least lean back and eat and don’t write emails or answer calls. Don’t eat while driving or walking, your body simply won’t recognize that you just have a real meal right now. Take your time. You’re not a human trash can and have to shovel your food in! And if you have nicely prepared food in front of you, it even can be a reduced, boring meal without some of your favourite ingredients, it still is very nice to enjoy.
Of course, not everything works at every time. But I recognized if I follow those advices more or less and don’t judge myself too hard for some cheating moments, I can enjoy everything without a bad conscience and start to crave less. Try it, find your own tricks and don’t be too hard on yourself ;-)