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Changing Your Eating Habits

We are bombarded with advertisements pushing delicious looking, fat filled, and obesity producing food in our faces every single day. We hear it on the radio; see it on TV and on billboards and even in newspapers. We go on a diet and try to totally turn our eating habits around. We go from eating hamburgers, French fries, pizza, hot dogs, and other junk to eating lettuce and drinking water. If we are really disciplined we make it a week or so. But like most people, we are back to our old habits within days. The change is just too drastic and makes it next to impossible for us to stick to our diets.

I have slowly improved my eating habits over the years. I have done this in a way that has been painless to me and has replaced bad diet choices with good eating habits. Of course, before any diet changes you should consult your physician. I was not in any immediate health danger and therefore did not need to immediately change my habits. What follows is not a "how to" article but more of an article on how I changed my eating habits over time.

There was a time in my life when I received my daily intake from fast food restaurants. I was in a sales position and on the road most of the time. I would have the burger, fries and coke combo from a different fast food joint every day. I was much younger then and blessed with a decent metabolism so I did not see much negative effect from all of the unhealthy eating. It was upon my taking a physical for another job that I discovered my cholesterol was not in a good range. I was way too young for something like this to happen and I knew that I must change my ways. I attempted to totally overhaul my eating habits in one day. I would do well for awhile and then go back to my old ways. I had made improvements but they were not ingrained good habits like I was hoping for.

Upon much reflection I decided to go a little easier on myself. I decided to start substituting food choices one by one until they became habit. My first substitution was with my beverage choice. Instead of having the cola I would order water. It was kind of a mental reward system for me. I would eat the burger and fries guilt free as long as I drank water instead of cola. I know that you are probably thinking "how can you eat a burger and fries guilt free?". I could do this guilt free because I knew that it was just a stage in my long term diet plan. I chose water as my first diet choice because it came easy for me. It required very little discipline on my part. After a month or so drinking water with a meal became second nature to me. It was no longer a sacrifice; it was a habit.

After that came the French fries. I substituted the French fries with a plain baked potato. Burger diet now consisted of a burger, plain baked potato and water. I actually started enjoying the baked potato rather quickly. They are much tastier than grease drowned fries. You can see where I am going with this. If you have been trying to lose weight for any time now, you know what a good food is and what a bad food is. You will know where and what to substitute. I continued these substitutions and still do to this day.

Now I am more aware of an unhealthy habit starting. I am very conscious of what I eat. Some of the great things about these diet choices are that they became habits; the desire for the unhealthy foods was replaced with a desire for healthy foods. Nowadays I rarely eat out. I have lost my taste for such foods.

Some of my diet substitutions:

Water for Cola, Baked potato for Fries, Whole Wheat for white bread, Soy Milk for cow's milk, pretzels for chips, salads for desserts, Meal replacement shake for cereal, and the list goes on and on.

Habits are built by doing something over and over. I have read it takes around 30 days to establish a habit. Do not stop your substitutions with the foods you eat?.carry it over to other parts of your life. For example, substitute the elevator with the stairs, substitute the car with a bicycle, give up the evening news and replace it with a walk.

Yours in health,

Bill Herren

Discouragement comes when we feel overwhelmed and want results yesterday. Take your time, develop habits, and enjoy a leaner healthier body!

Bill Herren is the webmaster for

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