Six Bad Habits that Will Sabotage Your Healthy Eating Efforts

If you're reading this blog, I'm guessing you like to take care of yourself or at least want to learn how to. So I'm going to share six mistakes that I've noticed some people make on their journey to health and vitality. Are you guilty of any of these?

1. Focusing solely on weight loss.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Diets are not good for you. The way to be healthy is to change the way you eat for life and make healthier choices every day, not to drastically cut your calorie intake for a limited period of time. If something isn't sustainable for the long term, you shouldn't be doing it at all. If you diet then you'll just end up piling all the weight back on (and more) when you start eating normally again. If you're overweight, focus on making your body stronger and healthier by eating the right foods and exercising regularly, and weight loss will be a welcome side effect.

2. Giving up after one blowout.
Don't live with the mindset that gorging on that slice of cake has ruined your healthy eating plan so you might as well have that bar of chocolate and packet of cookies too. You're only human and one face-stuffing session isn't going to be the end of the world. Don't beat yourself up over it; instead, resolve to get back on track and continue eating healthily. The way to avoid a binge is not to think of any food as 'off limits' and to occasionally allow yourself a small treat at a set time so you're not continually thinking about and craving junk. 

3. Failing to prepare.

Grabbing food on the go is never a good idea as it can be difficult to find healthy options when you're out and about. The best thing to do is learn how to 'meal prep'. You can find lots of good tutorials about this on YouTube. Making five simple boxes of salad on a Sunday night will ensure you have a healthy lunch to take to work every day next week.

You should also plan your dinners for the week ahead. Write them down on a sheet of paper and stick it to your fridge. That way you'll be able to see what ingredients you need to buy so you'll won't be caught out when it comes to making them. You'll also have a plan to stick to so you're not tempted to order a takeaway after a long day at work.

4. Smoking and drinking.
This one should be a no-brainer. I'm not going to pull any punches here: smoking is a ridiculous thing to do to yourself. Your body works hard to keep you alive and does not deserve to be pumped full of all the tar, nicotine and deadly chemicals found in cigarettes. If you want to do one thing that will make you infinitely healthier, then giving up the cigs is just that.

Alcohol should also not be on your radar if you're health conscious. It provides empty calories and can lead to all kinds of health problems down the line, from disturbed sleep, to high blood pressure, to heart disease and even brain damage. 

5. Covering your food in fatty dressings.

You might feel angelic for passing up the pizza and choosing a salad, but hold off on the ranch dressing, mayonnaise or whatever your topping of choice is. They're full of fat, calories and sugar which will pretty much negate the health benefits of your otherwise saintly plate. If you feel your veg is too dry without some kind of dressing, a squeeze of lemon juice is your best option. A small amount of extra virgin olive oil is also a great choice - yes, it's high-calorie, but most of these come from monounsaturated (good) fats which offer a range of health benefits.

6. Keeping unhealthy food in the house.
If it's there, you will eat it. A lot of people manage to eat well all day long then binge in front of the TV in the evening. Knowing that all those goodies are sitting in the kitchen calling your name can be too much temptation to resist. Stock up on healthy snacks such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, yoghurt and berries so they're readily available for when you feel peckish and won't undo all your hard work.

What are your bad habits? How do you deal with them so they don't mess up your healthy eating plan?