Minimize your waistline and your risk of disease by putting a stop to these habits.
If you think just opting for oatmeal over a doughnut will keep you from packing on the pounds, think again. If you’re wolfing it down as you fly out the door, you could be cancelling out your clean-eating efforts. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggested that fast eaters tend to weigh more than their slower-waiting counterparts. What’s worse, research from Japan suggests that fast eaters may be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you’re guilty of speed-eating like you’re in a contest, it’s time to break those bad habits that keep your from slowing down.
Bad Habit # 1 : Dining while driving
Admit it. You’re probably wolfed down a quick breakfast while racing to work at least once in your life. In fact, an estimated 20 percent of all American meals are eaten in the car. And while eating behind the wheel may save you time, it’s hard to watch the road and your calorie intake at the same time. Worse still, it may do more than just damage your diet. A British study that used driving simulators showed that eating or drinking while driving is about as dangerous as talking on a cell phone.
Fix Fix : Dine Before You Dash
Have some no-cook meal options in the fridge for those hectic days. Wraps with turkey and avocado, or chopped veggies and hard-boiled eggs are ideal. If breakfast is your biggest challenge, prep it the night before: 1/3 cup rolled oats + 1/3 cup skim milk + 1/3 cup Greek yoghurt + 1//2 mashed banana. Mix it up in a jar and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, just top the mixture with almonds or flaxseed. Add whey powder for extra protein, if desired.
Bad Habit # 2 : Eating in front of the screen
Have you ever inhaled a bag of popcorn before the feature presentation, or downed your lunch at your desk and barely remembered eating it? Whether you work through your lunch break or eat in front of the TV, chances are, you pay closer attention to what’s on the screen than what’s on your plate – and how fast you eat it. Lunching in front of your monitor may also lead to overeating later on, according to a study from the University of Bristol, in which the participants ho focused on the screen more than their meals felt less satisfied with what they ate, making them more likely to indulge in sweets later in the day.
Fix Fix: Make Lunch Dates
Get out of the office for meals at least twice a week. Make lunch plans with coworkers, or go it alone and take your brown bag to a park bench where you can unwind and follow up with a refreshing walk. Research suggests that our fat-burning potential declines the longer we sit, so get off your swivel seat and seek out less-distracting scenery.
Bad Habit # 3 : Grabbing pre-gym junk
You know the feeling: you’re heading for the gym for a tough workout when you hear a rumble in your tummy telling you to fuel up before you hit the iron. That’s when you scarf down that calorie-laden coffee-shop muffin or a protein bar at your gym’s reception desk, leaving you bloated instead of energized.
Fix Fix : Have A Pre-Pump Plan
To help you make the most of your workouts while keeping your cravings at bay, plan a snack that includes a source of protein and slow-burning carbohydrates one to three hours before you hit the gym. Some easy examples include Greek yoghurt with berries and low-fat granola, a hard-boiled egg and whole-grain pita, or peanut or almond butter on a banana. The protein will help suppress your appetite, while the carbs provide crucial fuel to power your workout.
Bad Habit # 4 : Skipping snacks
Snacking may seem counterintuitive to staying slim, but if you wait too long between meals, you’ll be famished by the time you sit down to nosh, making you more likely to eat a lot – and fast. Slow snacking may actually keep you slim. A recent study on Spanish teens found that not only did those who ate regular morning and afternoon snacks tend to have lower body-fat levels than their counterparts, those who ate more slowly – which is easier to do when you’re not ravenous – were also more likely to be leaner, too.
Fix Fix : Go Nuts For Snack
Keep a stash of no-mess snack on hand that you can gab between meetings or on your way out the door. Nuts and seeds, like almonds and pumpkin seeds (a top source of iron), make great choices because they contain healthy fats that elevate levels of cholecystokinin, or CCK, an appetite-suppressing hormone.