5 Ways To Improve Your Eating Habits

Diet and exercise both play an important role in any weight loss journey. As part of the Rosemary weight loss program, we’ll help you develop better eating habits and improve your relationship with food rather than placing you on a strict diet. What you’re eating is a big piece of the puzzle, but there are a few habits you can pick up to help you reach your goals. 

1. Read nutrition labels

While the Rosemary food triangles suggest prioritising whole foods like vegetables, fruits and lean proteins that may not necessarily come with nutrition labels, a large portion of your groceries and pantry staples will. It’s always best to choose items that don’t have added ingredients and preservatives, but one good habit is to always check the nutrition labels to see what you’re eating.

Nutrition labels will always have a serving size and tell you how many servings come in the package. From there, you’ll see the calorie and nutritional values for an individual serving. You might use a food scale or measuring cup to figure out how much a serving is - this will help you with counting calories and understanding what you’re putting into your body.

Tip

Use a food scale or measuring cup to measure out individual serving sizes so you can keep track of your calories and macros.

Sample nutrition label

The above nutrition label is for almonds. There are two columns: one for their suggested serving size of 30 grams and one for 100 grams. Both include the energy levels as both kilojoules and calories as well as the protein, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrate, sugar, dietary fibre, sodium and vitamin E levels for that particular serving size.

Energy:
The number of kilojoules and/or calories you can expect to consume per serving size.

Tip

Some Australian nutrition labels will list kilojoules as energy rather than calories. To convert kilojoules to calories, multiply by 0.23901.

Protein: Listed in grams per serving. Studies have shown that higher protein intake helps with feelings of satiety and, in turn, can help with weight loss. 

Fat: Listed in grams per serving and broken down by saturated fats and trans fats. Trans fats are processed, so we want to avoid them at all costs. Saturated fats can be good in moderation, and healthy fats are needed to help your body absorb nutrients.

Carbohydrates: Listed in grams per serving with sugars broken out. 

Dietary Fibre: Listed in grams per serving. Fibre helps you feel full, leading you to consume less and lose weight.

Nutrients: Depending on the food you’re eating, you may see a variety of vitamins and minerals listed on the nutrition label. You’ll see the percentage of the recommended daily intake you should have each day for your health. 

2. Practice mindful eating

Have you ever been to the movie theater and accidentally eaten the whole tub of popcorn before the movie started? That’s one example of mindless eating. Paying attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating is a great way to build a healthy relationship with food and create structure for yourself during your weight loss journey.

We often unconsciously overeat when we’re eating too quickly, multitasking or snacking outside of regular meals. Your body is often already full and satiated before your brain recognises it, which is why it’s important to practice mindful eating and slow things down. 

Do now:

- Sit down to eat at the dining table instead of on the couch or bed while watching TV
- Chew your food slowly and set your fork down between bites
- Have a conversation while eating with friends or family

3. Become a portion master

Now that you’ve started to take notice of nutrition labels and serving sizes, it’s time to become a portion master. At the beginning, we recommend using measuring cups or food scales to measure out individual servings of foods you eat often so you can get a feel for what a portion should look like. 

Do now:

- Use smaller dishes at meals
- Measure out your portions and don’t go back for seconds
- Store leftovers in portion-controlled containers
- Never eat out of the bag or carton

4. Understand when to start and stop eating

At Rosemary, we don’t want you to feel hungry or feel like you’re on a strict diet. However, we do want to help you build a healthy relationship with food and understanding what it feels like to be satiated and satisfied after a meal. 

Eating three meals per day with snacks in between meals allows you to create a schedule and train your body for losing weight. 

Breakfast
One study found that eating a high-protein breakfast between 6am and 9:45am helps reduce the risk of body fat gain and makes you feel less hungry throughout the day, compared to those who skipped breakfast. 

Mid-morning snack
When we’re hungry, we tend to overeat. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a mid-morning snack 2 to 4 hours after breakfast to tide you over until lunch - but only if you are actually hungry. Otherwise you could be overdoing your calorie intake. If you have a late breakfast, you might consider skipping the mid-morning snack.

Lunch
Try to eat lunch before 3pm - one study found that people lost about 25% less weight if they ate the bulk of their calories after 3pm. 

Afternoon snack
Just like your mid-morning snack, an afternoon snack 2 to 4 hours after lunch will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep you from getting too hungry and overeating at dinnertime. 

Dinner
One study found that consuming more calories at breakfast and fewer calories at dinner helps overweight and obese women with greater weight loss. It’s also been shown in other studies that restricting nighttime eating and snacking after 7pm results in eating 244 fewer calories per day. 

When you start and stop eating meals and snacks helps create routine and structure, helping your body learn when it’s truly hungry and for you to manage your calorie intake each day.

5. Walk after meals

Get those steps in! Going for walks after meals has been shown to help promote weight loss. Walk at a brisk speed for 30 minutes after your meal and make sure you take your pedometer with you to track your steps. Staying active throughout the day is a great way to help kickstart your metabolism.

Your Rosemary starter kit comes with a pedometer for your convenience.

Reading and understanding nutrition labels, practicing mindful eating, taking control of your portions, creating a schedule for your meals and walking after meals are just a few ways to start developing good habits and building a healthy relationship with food.