New Habits For New Year!

Make this a resolution for 2015 — eating right, living healthily!

The new year is a good time to work on less-than-stellar eating habits. Here are some practical tips to help you along.

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BAD HABIT: Mindless eating

Many of us associate certain moments with eating. For example, some people like to munch on snacks when driving long distance to keep them alert. Others like munching on tidbits while watching television.

Truth is, there’s no reason to be snacking or eating while you carry out these activities. The problem with mindless eating is that it takes a while for your brain to register that you are full. Inevitably, you’ll end up eating more than you had intended to.

BREAK THE HABIT

Don’t keep tidbits or snacks near you or you’ll be tempted to eat them.

Even wild horses will not be able to stop you when the foods you can’t resist are staring you in the face! Just remember the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”.

There are other ways to break the habit — sing along to songs while driving long distance or indulge in safe games in the car if you are a passenger. The chatter and laughter will keep you awake. Growing up, my mum made us fold clothes while watching TV. That prevented us from picking up tidbits to snack on.

BAD HABIT: Filling up on empty calories

Reflecting on your daily diet is a good way to cut out unnecessary calories. Many foods contain empty calories and don’t have much nutritional value. Carbonated drinks, cakes, cookies and snack foods are examples of foods that don’t have much nutritional value. You don’t have to totally give them up, but be aware that these added calories are unnecessary.

For that sweet tooth, consider substituting sweet treats with fresh fruit or lighter desserts such as tau foo fah (soy pudding) or bubur kacang (sweet peanut or mung bean porridge).

BREAK THE HABIT

Clean out your home — get rid of empty-calorie foods and don’t buy them anymore. If they are lying around the house or office, you’ll be tempted to eat them.

Look for new alternatives (what I call “new favourites”). For example, if you’re cutting out carbonated canned drinks, make your own refreshing fizzy thirst quencher by mixing soda water and fruit juice (with no sugar added). Instead of sweet or fat-laden desserts, have chilled fresh fruit.

BAD HABIT: The supper culture

We love to hang out late at night for supper. It’s disturbing to see young children staying up with their parents and eating at such late hours. It’s no wonder that our children are struggling with weight issues.

Eating heavy meals so late at night, according to researchers, can also disrupt sleep as it can cause digestive discomfort. Moreover, many who eat heavy meals so late at night end up skipping breakfast.

BREAK THE HABIT

Put your “hanging out” into perspective. There are more positive ways to catch up and unwind that don’t require eating. Consider sports or going for walks. These are good ways to chat and destress while burning off calories.

BAD HABIT: Being inactive

According to research, staying physically active has many benefits. Being active is also a great stress reliever, which can help you unwind and sleep well.

Many people find it hard to make time for exercise. You can incorporate exercise into your lifestyle by using a pedometer. It calculates the number of steps you take.

The Ministry of Health recommends you aim for 10,000 steps per day. When you first wear a pedometer, you’ll notice that you may be nowhere near the 10,000 steps recommended. You can use it as a reminder to move around more each week until you reach 10,000 steps.

BREAK THE HABIT

Here are some ideas to remain physically active and burn some calories.

• Take the stairs instead of using elevators.

• Park your car a little further so you can walk the rest of the way.

• When working, take a breather every half an hour by walking around the office.

• Find activities you enjoy doing. If you like music, consider dancing, if you like socialising, join a team sport and if you like relaxing activities, swim or take a hike.

BAD HABIT: Insufficient sleep

Many people don’t get enough sleep and they have no one to blame but themselves. People nowadays are so distracted by technology that they cannot shut off easily. Even as they sleep, their mobile phone alerts them for updates.

Researchers who study the connection between lack of sleep and nutrition note that there’s an increase in the hormone ghrelin, which causes weight gain. Getting enough sleep is something that only you can resolve to do.

BREAK THE HABIT

Try to establish a routine of winding down by a certain time every night. This means shutting off gadgets that distract you such as computer, iPad, phone messaging alerts and television. Turn the lights down to start getting your mind and body to prepare for sleep. Also, avoid heavy suppers and caffeinated drinks before bedtime as these can keep you awake. source-

The Influence of Alcohol

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