Unhealthy eating habits not only expose you to chronic diseases but can also ruin the hard work put into a good workout at the gym. The unfortunate thing is that most people who engage in bad eating habits don’t know how much of a detrimental effect it’s having on their fitness. To help you make better food choices and get you on the right track to a leaner and healthier body, here are five bad eating habits that you need to avoid.

Habit 1 – Mindless Eating

One of the biggest secrets of healthy eating is to listen to your body. Learning to listen to your body helps you to only eat what’s necessary to satisfy your hunger and stop before you overindulge. Therefore, to become in-tune with your body’s needs, you need to drop the habit of mindless eating. If you’re not aware what you’re putting into your body, you’ll constantly overeat without even realizing.

To start eating mindfully, feel how satiated you are after each mouthful of food and stop eating as soon as you’re satisfied. This may seem difficult at first but the more you do it, the more connected you’ll become to your body’s hunger signals and the more natural it will feel.

Habit 2 – Unhealthy Snacking

Not only is snacking encouraged by nutrition experts, it’s also a great way to boost your healthy eating habits. When you snack in the right way, you won’t feel hungry between meals and you’ll supply your body with a wide range of health boosting nutrients. Unfortunately, most people don’t snack in the right way and indulge in processed snacks between their healthy meals. This then sabotages their healthy eating efforts and makes achieving their goals very difficult.

So how do you snack in the right way? Simply choose foods that are fresh and natural. Some of the many good healthy snacking options include fresh fruits, Greek yogurt, nuts and seeds.

Habit 3 – Drinking Diet Soda

Diet soda is something that many people believe to be a healthy drink because it contains zero sugar and so eliminates hundreds of calories while still allowing you to enjoy a sweet treat. However, diet sodas are actually loaded with artificial ingredients that damage your body in numerous ways and have been linked with an increased risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome and more.

The best way to ditch diet soda is to drink water instead. However, if you get bored with drinking water all the time, you can also mix up your intake and stay hydrated with fruit infused water and herbal teas.

Habit 4 – Eating Too Fast

If you’re a person who eats rapidly, either out of habit or because you don’t feel like you have the time to sit down and eat for leisure, you need to quit this bad habit. It takes around 30 minutes for hunger signals to respond to the foods you eat and send satiety signals to your brain. Therefore, if you eat too fast, you’re likely to eat much more than your body requires before your hunger signals respond to the foods.

So slow down, savor each mouthful and take your time when eating.

Habit 5 – Not Getting Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep directly affects both your body and brain causing you to engage in unhealthy eating habits. Without enough sleep, your metabolism goes haywire and this will cause you to feel hungrier and crave unhealthy foods.

Not getting enough sleep also negatively impacts the areas of your brain that are responsible for logic and reasoning, setting you up to make bad decisions when it comes to food. This combination of a dulled brain and increased hunger cravings makes you much more likely to break your healthy eating habits.

By making sure you get a minimum of six hours quality sleep each night, you avoid these adverse effects and eating healthy becomes much easier.

Habit 6 Not Drinking Enough Water

It has been stated that the signal for thirst is the same as the signal for hunger. The feeling is the same and some people who are experiencing thirst are often mistaking it for hunger and seeking out food rather than a drink.

Thirst occurs when your body needs water. When you do not drink enough water, your body receives mixed signals on hunger. Dehydration causes you to believe you need to eat when you really need liquid intake.

Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day more of it is a hot day or you are exercising.  It is also a good way to eat less.  If you have a glass of water half an hour before eating you will feel full sooner.

Summary

Even if you have a strong intention to eat healthy, these five bad habits cause many people to slip up. So take another look at this list and make sure you aren’t currently falling victim to any of these negative eating habits to ease your healthy eating journey.