Posted by: godswaytohealth | June 15, 2012

Changing Bad Eating Habits

Changing Bad Eating Habits

Changing bad eating habits can be successful if you follow a step-by-step process of behavior change.

Though there are some who can change ‘overnight’ or give up a bad habit cold-turkey, most people succeed in changing by taking small steps, making small changes in their eating habits and lifestyle.

Change happens as you keep moving forward toward your goal of developing healthy eating habits. Remember change is a process.

Recognize the need to change.

Changing bad eating habits begins with you recognizing that there is something wrong and you are not as healthy as you could be.

You have learned that excellent nutrition is the foundation, the basis, for excellent health and you don’t have excellent health. So, there must be some dietary habit that you have that is preventing you from experiencing excellent health.

At this point you can congratulate yourself because you have recognized the need for change and have the desire to do so.

Take a look at what you eat and drink

Sometimes we need to step back and reflect on exactly what we are doing. We need to try to look at our eating habits objectively, without rationalizing or defending our behavior.

So, in order to evaluate your eating habits, keep a food journal for a few days and write down:

  • Everything you eat or drink.
  • The time of day you eat it.
  • Where you ate and with whom.
  • Note how you were feeling, your emotions and your hunger level at the time.

A food journal will help you see any bad eating habits you have. You do need to be truthful though! 

Here is a sample of a WEEKLY FOOD INTAKE AND EXERCISE JOURNAL for you to print and use.

Name Them

Once you have at least 3 days of eating recorded, read it over carefully. Pray for the Holy Spirit to show you any bad eating habits you have.

 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans   12:2

In your journal, circle in red any bad eating habit you notice and ‘put a name on it’.

Is it emotional eating? Late night eating? Overeating? Refer to the list of common bad eating habits.

Identifying and naming any bad habits you have is very important to changing these habits. You can’t change if you don’t see what you need to change.

Reflect on why you developed the habit. Just some thoughts to get you started:

  • Do you overeat because you are tired?
  • Are you eating convenience food because you failed to plan ahead?
  • Do you take a second dessert just because you want it (lack of discipline)?

Admit your Bad Eating Habits

The next step in changing bad eating habits is to confess to yourself and to God. Do not justify them or make excuses for them.

Bad eating habits are not promoting health and as a result you are not honoring God with your body because He wants us to be healthy and have abundant life.

 

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

1   Corinthians 10:31

Time for Change

Now that you have acknowledged your bad food habit, ask God to help you and He will. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Changing your eating habits requires a plan. Using 3 columns, write down the bad habit in one column. In the next column, write down your healthy eating habit goal. In the third column, write down the steps you will take towards your new, healthy eating habit.

Here is an example:

Bad Eating Habit Healthy Eating Habit My Plan for Change
Binging when you get home from work because you don’t take time for lunch. Have a healthy snack when you get home from work to curb your appetite until supper. 1. Try to take time for lunch at work, even if it’s only 15 minutes. Take a green smoothie you can drink at your desk. 2. If no time for lunch, keep healthy snacks in the car that you eat on your way home.

3. Snack ideas: apples, bananas, or any fresh fruit, raw cookies or crackers.

4. Prepare a salad the night before or morning of and eat it when you get home.

 Old Habits Die Hard

Changing bad eating habits is not easy. Over time, habits become learned, automatic behaviors which are much stronger than the new habits you are trying to establish.

Fortunately, as Christians, we have the strengthening power of the Holy Spirit to help us. As long as you stay connected spiritually, you can change.

Here are a few things to remember for a successful change to healthier eating habits.

  • Take baby steps; setting mini-goals.
  • Make a plan prayerfully for accomplishing your goal.
  • Always move forward toward your goal.
  • If you get off track, admit it, and get back on track.
  • Never give up. You CAN do it!
  • Be more mindful. Pay attention to what you are eating and drinking.
  • Adopt an attitude of gratefulness for all things.
  • Be realistic in goal-setting and your progress.
  • Pray and practice stress management. Uncontrolled stress can knock you off track.
  • Get enough sleep. Fatigue will distort the reality and weaken your resolve.
  • Find an accountability partner. Someone who will encourage you, inspire you, help you stay motivated and hold you accountable.
 “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach   out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Ecclesiastes   4:9-12

Most experts agree it takes about 28 days to change a bad habit. Please allow yourself at least this much time.

Changing bad eating habits is possible. Slowly, steadily work toward your new healthy eating lifestyle.

You CAN do it!


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