How to break unhealthy food associations

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Nov 26, 2011 9:11pm

ooyyee ooyyee
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Many of us get into the habit of enjoying unhealthy food and drink while we’re doing everyday things like watching our favourite TV shows, visiting cinemas, going to our favourite club, etc.
Every time you go to the movies do you habitually order a large popcorn, ice-cream, large Coke, bag of lollies or chocolates before sitting down?

Or can you watch your favourite soap opera without a cup of coffee or tea and a few chocolate biscuits?
If the answer is yes and no respectively, you could have some unhealthy food associations that could be making you heavier or preventing you from losing weight.
In this article we identify some of these habits, how and why we develop them, and more importantly how to break them.
Unhealthy food associations are often seasonal
The fact that Unhealthy food associations are often seasonal shouldn’t be surprising to many of us.
Most of us are naturally drawn to high-calorie, high-fat comfort food in winter and light salads and the like in summer.
Being conscious of this natural phenomenon can be the key to preventing us from getting into bad eating habits in the first place, or if it’s too late for that, helpus to break those habits.
For example, if it’s coming into winter and you notice that you’re developing more than one or two of the types of food associations described above, you can do something about them before they become too entrenched.
Likewise, if we’re coming out of winter and you’ve developed some bad eating habits over the winter months, spring becomes the ideal time to break some of these habits by introducing healthier new ones in their place.
Unhealthy food associations can often be linked to activities we enjoy
Many unhealthy food associations develop because they enhance the things we enjoy doing or are rewards or distractions for others we don’t.
For example, having Pizza on Friday night can be seen as a reward at the end of a working week, or a way to get the weekend off to a great start. Likewise going out for dinner on Wednesday’s can help to break up the week and give you something to look forward to on Monday and Tuesday, or going to the movies and having a large Coke, large popcorn and a choc top ice cream can make the occasion a more enjoyable for some people.
Ways to break unhealthy food associations
There are a couple of ways to break unhealthy food associations (eating habits).
The thing to keep in mind though is that the key to a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle is variety and not having too much of anything, good or bad.
We’re big believers in incorporating food treats in a balanced diet as you can see in our Everyday diets for Everyday people.

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