It’s never easy to change our unhealthy habits. Our bodies have gotten used to one regime, and any sudden change results in stress. Luckily, these changes do not need to be sudden. You can always take baby steps and gradually adopt new patterns. One bad habit a lot of us share is an addiction to fast food. Sure, we don’t feel hungry after eating it, but the nutrition provided by such a meal is almost meaningless. Even though this may not be regarded as a serious addiction, we can see how this diet can take its toll.
If you stick to a diet high in fast food, you will find yourself at the doorstep of obesity at some point. You need to fight this habit before it’s too late. The later you start, the harder it will get. So, here are some good suggestions on how to leave behind your old eating habits and embrace a healthier diet.
The negative side effects of eating high fat, sugary, and overly salty foods
We can’t see what’s going on beneath our skin, but rest assured that what we put into our bodies has a huge impact. Of course, as long as you don’t push your body or tap into your energy reserves, you can’t really feel the backlash of an unhealthy diet. But, eventually you’ll start to feel certain side effects, like mood swings, headaches, a lack of motivation, and even depression.
Perhaps knowing what happens underneath the surface will be a powerful motivator for you to start fighting your bad eating habits. When you ingest high amounts of carbohydrates, these carbs are broken down into glucose that is later released into the bloodstream. This leads to blood sugar level spikes, triggering an insulin response. These alterations of normal insulin responses can cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. This is just one instance of what occurs inside your body when you opt for unhealthy dietary choices.
So-called “healthy” options can be harmful too
Truth be told, we are all aware that fast food should be avoided, however, even foods that seem healthy can be harmful. We grow up being told how fish, fruits, and vegetables are good for our body, yet this is not always the case. There are at least 16 different meals and drinks that we eat or drink on a daily basis while thinking they are healthy, yet they can lead to cancer. Here they are:
- Canned Tomatoes (dangerous due to their high acidity)
- Soda (empty source of calories and filled with sugar)
- Farmed Salmon (high level of PCB’s, cancer-causing dioxins, and mercury)
- Processed Meat (various chemicals and preservatives, including sodium nitrate, are used to make them look delicious, yet they are really carcinogens)
- Microwave Popcorn
- Potato Chips
- Hydrogenated oils (contains more than enough Omega-6 fatty acid)
- Highly processed white flours
- Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO’s
- Red Meat
- Non-Organic Fruit
It can be hard to keep track of all of these unhealthy substances, but a skilled nutritionist can prescribe the correct diet to you. It’s important to know about these harmful foods and to avoid them where possible.
Incorporate all the different colors of fruits and vegetables into your diet
Let’s focus on what you can eat, or better yet, what you should eat to look and feel young and healthy. Here are five foods that feel like a breath of fresh air to your body.
- Tomatoes (but not canned ones) contain an abundance of lycopene, which gives our skin a healthy hue. People with a higher concentration of lycopene also have smooth skin and reinforced UV ray protection. You can also find lycopene in carrots, guava, watermelons, and grapefruits.
- Strawberries are basically a vitamin C injection that can ward off your wrinkles. They promote collagen production — a very important protein used for wound healing. Eating strawberries can help with age-related skin problems, like dryness.
- Watermelon can offer so much more than lycopene. It also gives you an anti-inflammatory effect. This means that you are less likely to suffer from premature aging.
- Tuna can help with wound healing as well, since EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) can preserve collagen and keep your skin firm. Furthermore, your body will be replenished with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which helps in skin cancer prevention by warding off inflammatory compounds that support tumor growth.
- Blueberries can serve as Vitamin C and E boosters, which help brighten skin.
These foods may not make up your everyday diet, of course, but if you are looking for a quick snack, these foods are safe options.
Reduce junk food to a single meal or snack a day over several weeks
If your new diet is to be fully efficient, you need to make constant efforts to reduce your intake of junk food. As mentioned, you do not need to resort to drastic measures. You can gradually reduce the amount of junk food you eat on a weekly basis and then bring the number to a single meal of junk food in a month. I know it sounds ambitious at first, but keep working at it and you will get there. The important thing to remember is not to starve yourself. When you are too hungry, you are weak and more likely to give into this urge. To keep these incidents to a minimum, always have a healthy snack nearby, and you’ll be less likely to go out and buy a hot dog or a hamburger.
Banish all unhealthy foods and snacks from your kitchen
First of all, junk food usually contains an unhealthy ingredient called trans fat, which is hard to avoid. The acceptable dose of trans fat for one day is 2 grams, but fast food with 0.5 grams of trans fat is allowed to be labeled as “trans fat free,” thus we can easily fool ourselves.
We’ve already talked about what foods should be avoided, but it would also be wise not to keep these foods in your house. Here is a full list of things that should never find their way in your kitchen or pantry — if they are accessible to you, you are more likely to make bad dietary choices.
Don’t treat little moments of weakness like massive failures
The important thing to remember is that you should set your own pace and regime. A slow pace means you’ll be less likely to become disappointed or depressed. When we are sad, there is a high chance that we’ll turn to greasy fast food to lift our spirits, and we all know how that goes. So, set your own boundaries and be realistic. The more room you give yourself, the better. With every small achievement, your confidence will rise and you’ll feel more motivated to continue. Also, don’t delude yourself — this will be hard. You’ll have moments of weakness, but don’t allow them to break you. Just move past these incidents and do your best to make sure to learn from your mistakes. Good luck!
Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anabadili/ via flickr.com