Ten Healthy Food Habits

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According this 2018 article on The Conversation, maintaining a healthy life-style and weight depends on to three things: eating healthy, eating less, and being active, but actually doing can be tough.

We make more than 200 food decisions a day, and most of these appear to be automatic or habitual, which means we unconsciously eat without reflection, deliberation or any sense of awareness of what or how much food we select and consume. So often habitual behaviours override our best intentions.

– Gina Cleo, Research Fellow, Bond University, on The Conversation

In the article, Gina Cleo quotes a study that was published in the journal Nature in 2018.

The 2018 study in Nature discovered that weight-loss interventions focused on habit change, either by forming new habits or breaking old ones, could effectively aid in weight loss maintenance. In the study, 75 volunteers with excess weight or obesity were divided into three groups: habit-breaking, habit-forming, and control. The habit-breaking group received daily tasks to disrupt routine behaviors, while the habit-forming group incorporated healthy lifestyle changes into their daily routines. After 12 weeks, both intervention groups lost an average of 3.1kg, with an additional 2.1kg lost after 12 months without intervention. Over 67% of participants reduced their body weight by over 5%, decreasing their risk of type two diabetes and heart disease. These habit-based interventions, which didn’t prescribe specific diets or exercises, also led to increased fruit and vegetable intake and improved mental health, suggesting a novel approach to weight management.

Weight Concern: Ten Healthy Habits

The habits in the habit-forming group developed by a UK-based Weight Concern charity are:

  1. Keep to a meal routine: eat at roughly the same times each day and avoid snacking.
  2. Go for healthy fats: opt for nuts, avocado, and oily fish instead of fast food. Trans-fats are linked to an increased risk of heart-disease.
  3. Walk off the weight: aim for 10,000 steps a day and incorporate physical activity into daily routines.
  4. Pack healthy snacks: replace crisps and biscuits with fresh fruit when going out.
  5. Check food labels: scrutinize fat, sugar, and salt content on food packaging.
  6. Be cautious with portions: use smaller plates and assess hunger before seconds.
  7. Break up sitting time: decrease sedentary behavior for better health outcomes.
  8. Monitor beverage intake: choose water and limit fruit juice consumption.
  9. Focus on mindful eating: slow down, eat at a table, and pay attention to hunger cues.
  10. Prioritize vegetables: aim for five vegetables servings daily for their nutritional benefits and health advantages.

Acknowledgements: ChatGPT was used to summarize some content and prepare its first draft.