6 Bad Diet Habits and How to Break Them

Here’s how to replace negative routines with positive ones to shed unwanted weight for good.

Bad Habit: Bingeing in the Evening

You run in the morning but don’t eat much all day because you’re dealing with life and then you binge at dinner and beyond.

Break the Cycle

Take healthy food wherever you go. “We eat what’s convenient and in sight,” says Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. He recommends appetite-satisfying foods that travel well, like nuts, apples and string cheese. Sit down as early as possible for a balanced dinner. Still hungry? Take a few bites – then wait 15 minutes. Wansink’s studies suggest that the first few bites deliver most of the pleasure. “Small-portion snackers are equally satisfied as regular-portion snackers,” he says.


Bad Habit: Too Many Energy Bars

We like energy bars as much as any runner, but they can top out at over 1000 kilojoules. Plus, “they’re loaded with processed ingredients and preservatives,” says RunDisney nutritionist Tara Collingwood.
Break the Cycle

Reserve energy bars for times when you truly need them – like before or after a hard workout, or when you don’t have access to a full-on meal. Look for bars with a short ingredient list. Better yet, reach for whole foods, like a banana or a snack-sized serving of almonds. “Whole foods give your body more bang for the buck by providing it with additional nutrients like fiber and antioxidants,” says Collingwood.


Bad Habit: Eating Huge Portions

Long runs spike your hunger, but “your body can’t process a huge dose of kilojoules, even when your glycogen stores are spent,” says Collingwood. “When you eat too much at one time, you risk storing it as fat.”
Break the Cycle

Fuel adequately and drink enough water during your long runs; skimping on either can unleash post-run hunger. Serve your recovery meal on a small plate. Wansink’s research suggests you’ll eat less but feel just as satisfied. If you’re hungry later, eat another mini meal; you absorb more nutrients from modest portions than from gut bombs.


Bad Habit: Overloading on Carbs

Yes, runners need carbs, and crackers and cereal are fast, easy, and satisfying. The problem, says Collingwood, is when you eat just pasta and forget about the nutrient-dense veggies your body needs for optimal running performance.

Break the Cycle

Fruits, veggies, and other high-fibre foods like lentils and legumes (beans) should fill half your plate – on first helpings and seconds. Want another scoop of pasta? That’s fine, so long as you match it with an equal portion of salad. The result: You feel full faster, and end up replacing some of the starches you would’ve eaten with lower-kilojoule, high-nutrient foods.


Bad Habit: Post-run Beer or Three

Sure it’s fun to socialize post-run, but beer loads you up on empty kilojoules. “To burn off just one drink, you have to add an extra kilometre to your next run,” says Collingwood.
Break the Cycle

Yes, you can order soda water instead of IPA. But if just being in the bar creates temptation, try to feed your need for camaraderie through other routines. Propose meeting pals for a morning run to the coffee shop. Or start and end runs at your local running shop, where you can treat yourself to an alcohol-free reward – like new socks or shoes.



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