Bad eating habits are not optimal for your health. The body doesn’t get the nutrient it needs from it or doesn’t get it in the right proportion.
It’s okay to have cheat days — to eat junks, drink a glass of wine, eat late at night once in a while. Having stringent rules won’t help and may result in you burning yourself out.
As humans, we are programmed to be against anything that doesn’t offer us freedom. Too much freedom isn’t good either, but enough to make our lives pleasurable.
Some habits lead to bad nutrition which will have negative effects on our health in the long run. These habits are not encouraged and must be avoided whenever possible.
It’s surprising how bad eating habits never became a major problem until recently — the 21st century. The rate of overweight and obesity are alarmingly high.
A lot of this is as a result of improvement in food technology. There are now lots of processed food than there has ever been. Lots of fast food companies are present today, and new ones are emerging.
HABITS THAT WILL RESULT IN BAD EATING HABITS
1. Eating Junk food
This is pre-prepared or packaged food that has low nutritional value.
This is what you get when you eat from fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King etc.
2. Eating Unbalanced diet
Eating carbs, proteins and fats in the wrong proportion. An example is eating junk food or a favourite meal you can’t do without while neglecting the other components of a balanced diet.
Eating too many carbs and less protein can result in obesity, heart diseases, infections – since proteins help the body to fight infections.
3. Eating snacks
This might lead to poor food choices and adding unwanted calories.
Don’t wonder where the extra weight comes from if you’re used to eating snacks. There are exceptions – days when you can’t cook, make breakfast etc. Exceptions are exceptions, not just a result of your cravings.
4. Drinking sugary drinks often
Sugary drinks aren’t good for your health. You should try substituting them for water which has several health benefits.
Studies have shown a correlation between drinking sugary drinks and obesity, diabetes and other medical problems. In addition to this, soft drinks intake of milk, calcium and other nutrients.
5. Eating at night
Remember the body follows the circadian rhythm – a natural, internal system that’s designed to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period.
So when you should be sleeping food won’t be easily digested as when you should be awake. Also at night you won’t be burning calories compared to during the day. This is one of the easiest ways to lose weight.
Not surprising that there is a high frequency of obesity, diabetes, heart diseases in alcoholics. One gram of alcohol gives 7 Calories.
That’s higher than what you get from carbohydrate and protein. In fact, studies have found out that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. If you are addicted to alcohol, read about how to break free from addiction here.
EFFECTS OF BAD EATING HABITS
Bad eating habits can lead to several unwanted health problems ranging from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, arthritis, breathing problems to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
Extreme defects of nutrition are rarely seen today but they still exist – they can be seen in cases of poverty, war and disaster:
- Kwashiorkor – a form of severe protein malnutrition in young children. Calorie intake is sufficient but protein consumption is not.
- Marasmus – A condition of insufficient caloric intake in children causing a child’s weight to be significantly low for their age.
- Rickets – A softening and weakening of the bone usually in children due to insufficient vitamin D.
- Osteomalacia – Softening of bones in adults due to deficiency of vitamin D or calcium.
For the sake of this article, I’ll be focusing on conditions as being overweight, obesity and also poor habits that will prevent you from achieving your fitness goals.
For example eating way too many carbs in an elderly compared to proteins, fats and vitamins. This may eventually lead to some health problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart diseases and so on. Another example is a bodybuilder not eating enough protein for whatever reason. This might not out-rightly lead to health problems because the bodybuilder exercises but results won’t be achieved.
Overweight and Obesity are complex preventable conditions that are as a result of several factors: environmental, genetics and bad habits. You might have little control over genetics and environment to some extent but you definitely have control over what you eat.
Most overweight and obese people simply eat too much. In connection with this, there is an increase in the hormone “leptin” in overweight and obese. This hormone normally should inhibit hunger but in the overweight and obese there is a decreased sensitivity to leptin — resulting in an inability to detect satiety despite high levels of leptin.
You shouldn’t feel bad in you’re in this category. So many people have gone from being overweight and obese to normal Body Mass Index (BMI). You just need to work harder and be committed to your goal — if your goal is to lose some weight.
HABITS THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR NUTRITION
1. Cook your own food
It’s as simple as that. Cooking your own food is cheaper, safer, healthier and you can calculate the calories you consume yourself — make sure it’s in line with the goal you want to achieve.
It might take a lot of time at first, with time you will get used to this. If you are too busy and don’t have time for this, then you might want to take the second advice.
2. Order food from a specific restaurant that calculates the calories
If you lead a busy life and don’t just have the time to cook your food, you can consider ordering food from a restaurant which takes fitness into consideration and calculates the calories in the food you order. An example of this restaurant are Munchery, Sun Basket, Home Chef. Find one in your local area that is your taste.
3. Remove junks from the house
If you get into the habit of eating junks a lot or you eat at night — then you shouldn’t have these stuff in the house. This is the easiest way of avoiding the temptation to eat junks. Don’t let them be in proximity to you.
4. Set a fitness goal and a prize if you achieve that goal
This is an efficient way of keeping good habits — rewarding yourself if you’re able to keep it. For example, if you set the goal of not eating the whole month and you achieve this goal, you can reward yourself by going to see a movie, buying yourself a present, having a cheat meal — or just doing whatever you think is worth rewarding yourself with.
5. Have a cheat day
A cheat day is a day you’ve decided to break your rule and have a cheat meal. For example telling yourself you will eat pizza, ice cream or whatever that doesn’t fit in your usual meal Sunday evenings. This works in the sense that your brain doesn’t see your rules as too stringent and burn you out. Remember as humans we don’t like anything that restricts our freedom.
I personally don’t have a cheat day but whenever I crave junk food so bad I can’t control myself. I declare that day to be a cheat day. Since this doesn’t happen often, I don’t see it as a problem and it works for me. If it will work for you, then you can try this.
If you have too stringent rules and you break them once, this might be a catalyst to further break them. That’s why having a cheat meal/day works.
6. Stay Positive, Be Happy
Avoid stress, do things that make you happy. Negative emotions such as boredom, loneliness, depression can lead to bad eating habits and lack of motivation to cook your own meals. Learn how to be genuinely happy here.
7. Be fit
You rarely see fit people with bad eating habits — not that they don’t indulge in bad eating habits but when you compare with people that are not fit, it’s significantly lower. This is because being fit helps to reduce stress and improves your mood — one of the causes of poor nutrition. Also being fit makes you fall in love with your body and do anything that will alter it. And don’t forget the hormone “leptin”. It’s in normal level in fit people — and helps prevent weight gain by suppressing appetite until weight loss.
If you are not fit yet, you can begin your journey here.
Think about workouts as the piece that completes the fitness puzzle.
Some habits to help improve your nutrition have also been discussed. There are others of course that you should also pay attention to.