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5 steps to overcoming unhealthy eating habits

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5 steps to overcoming unhealthy eating habits

I'm sure you have heard us stress the importance of removing processed foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates from the diet, and replacing them with plenty of green leafy vegetables, low sugar/starch fruit and vegies, and healthy fats and proteins, in order to achieve a healthy body and appearance. And you're all following that important information, right??  Our recommendations are based not only on results, but also on lifelong health by breaking the utter dependence we have on sugar and carbohydrates which is inextricably linked with diabetes, obesity and degenerative disease.


This article  is not about what you should eat, we have stressed that topic in previous articles. Simply look in the Enliven Fitness fridge and that is everything that is fresh, ethical, nutrient dense and grown with love that we eat day in and day out to be healthy, strong and balanced. This article is directed at those who have made the conscious effort to reduce/eliminate sugar, refined carbs and processed foods, and need some tips to keep on track with these healthful changes, and to overcome bad eating habits that can prevent progress and results.  


I know how difficult it is to stay 100% on track with your diet all the time, and sometimes there can be a snowball effect of little slip ups that increase in frequency and severity. When those little set backs occur we often punish ourselves with an immense guilt that looms over us, which is definitely not helpful in our road to gaining results. The absolute best way to get lifelong results is find that rhythm and routine that is enjoyable and achievable, not too obsessive and strict and not too relaxed and lazy. We find that the 80/20 rule, or its stricter sibling the 90/10 rule, are fantastic ways of eating well the majority of the time whilst still being able to enjoy little pleasures and social occasions without the guilt. When you achieve this healthy rhythm or flow, good food choices become automatic, bad food choices are not even an option, and your body and mind are working so fluidly that nothing will stop you!


Each of the tips below are aimed at overcoming ingrained bad eating habits, and replacing them with good practices that will lead to the sexy, trim, and vibrant body that we desire.


5 Tips to Overcoming Unhealthy Eating Habits


1) Avoid overeating

Ok so you're eating good quality whole food. No pesticides, no preservatives, no additives, not genetically-modified, and good quality 100% grass-fed meats. Already you are tasting the difference in quality, flavour and the health benefits from this far nutritionally superior food.  You have mastered the first step: Quality. Coles and woolies is out of the equation, and farm fresh ethically and environmentally grown produce is on the menu. Congratulations! Now we need to get portion size right if you want to trim down and tone up, the opposite applies if you’re wanting to bulk up.


Firstly your plate should consist of 30-40% Proteins/Healthy Fats and 60-70% low starch green leafy vegetables. Essentially this a good balance without going overboard with too many calories.  When you eat you should eat slowly, and stop eating when you are 80% Full.  Eating to the point where you cant fit in another bite puts more stress on your digestive organs. It slows digestion considerably leading to longer fermentation, with possible symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and gas. Stopping when you are 80% full will ensure you effectively digest your food, and you will probably notice that you don’t need that extra 20% anyway. Decreased portion sizes has also been linked to greater longevity.

2) Sit down, Chew and Enjoy your meals.

Eating on the run in a stressed state is no-no. When we are stressed blood flow is shunted away from our digestive organs, so if you are constantly eating breakfast in the car on the way to work, or eating your lunch at your desk as you try to meet that deadline, essentially your body is not digesting food as it should.  Make sure you always eat in a relaxed calm state, take your time, and chew your food thoroughly to aid digestion. Your body deserves that little bit of calm while eating, in order to properly digest and assimilate all the nutrition you need for the day.



 3) Don't skip meals!

Starving your body is completely counterproductive in weight loss, and unfortunately too many people have this terrible misconception that the less they eat the more weight they will lose. Yes you may initially lose a bit of weight by not consuming enough calories, but in the end this will come back to bite you in the ass when your body increases fat stores whenever food is consumed to avoid another period of starvation.  Therefore take our advice, and don't skip meals, especially not breakfast. Have 3 main meals per day, with 2 snacks per day if energy levels waiver.  Ensure healthy fats and proteins are consumed at every meal to maintain stable energy levels. Never eat carbohydrates without the presence of protein/healthy fat, as this will simply lead to blood sugar spikes and yes fat storage.



4) Start your meal with a salad

If you are given a plate of food, it is without doubt that most people will eat the tastiest, most nutrient dense food such as the protein first. After they have filled up on the protein part then the salad/vegetables get left till last and may or may not get finished. If weight loss is your main goal, portion control is very important. A really good way of ensuring you do not overeat is by starting your meal with a big salad. Even before the meat/protein is on the table, have a bowl of vibrant salad. This great newly discovered habit of ours, ensures you will not overeat on the higher calorie protein/healthy fat, and you will finish the meal feeling satisfied.  Try having a salad that has some acidity/astringency in it eg with rocket, radish, apple cider vinegar etc which will help stimulate the digestive juices (hydrochloric acid  production in the stomach) and ensure you digest your meal properly, reducing symptoms of reflux/indigestion.



5) Kill those sugar cravings

Sugar, one of... if not the most addictive substance on earth. When you are trying to get healthy fighting those sugar cravings will be extremely difficult, particularly if you have created bad habits at home or work that are linked with eating sweets eg; mid morning coffee and cake break at work, after dinner chocolate sugar hit, or that afternoon crash candy bar pick me up. These little bad habits you may have created need to be broken otherwise your body and mind will constantly be under the control of sugar...and not you in control over it.  Too much sugar creates internal havoc on the body, by causing surges in blood sugar which is extremely damaging to our cells, requiring insulin to come in and rid the excess sugar from the blood by storing it as FAT. Frequent sugar overconsumption leads to insulin resistance (diabetes), weight gain and obesity, heart disease, poor mental function and mental disturbances like hyperactivity and ADHD, degenerative disease,  and adrenal fatigue, to name a few.




Create New Healthy Habits


* Be prepared. Prepare you lunch and snacks before you go to work, which will ensure you don't buy anything unhealthy and sweet. 


* Use stevia instead of sugar (plant derived and 100x sweeter than sugar without the blood sugar alterations), sprinkle some in yoghurt with a little fruit and nuts. 


* Drink herbal teas throughout the day or in the evening, that have a hint of sweetness eg peppermint, apple.


*  Curb those sugar cravings with homemade deserts/snacks made from low-sugar fruits eg berries and yoghurt, poached green apple or pear in cinnamon served with yoghurt, or green apple and nuts. 


*  And most importantly learn to politely say no, or simply walk away from a situation where you may succumb to those sugar cravings. Be strong, have control of yourself and your body, and don't let your body's addiction to sugar control you.



About the Author

Kristy Emmett is a Personal Trainer at Enliven Fitness, a Holistic Health Coach and Registered Nurse. Kristy understands first-hand the healing and enlivening properties of good quality organic nutrition, living a balanced life and exercising regularly, and has used these principles to overcome her own health ailments including adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalances, and digestive issues. 


Kristy is passionate about all things health and diet related, and inspires her clients to make positive life-long changes to their life, take care of their body, mind and spirit; and to become their healthiest self-possible.


Kristy's ultimate aim is to empower individuals to not settle for mediocre with their health and their life in general, but to strive for a body, mind and life to be proud of.


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