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What are your bad habits which are preventing your dietary goals from being achieved? Do you know how to tackle and change them? Listed below are a couple of common ones the average dieter frequently encounters.

Skipping breakfast:

Research shows that individuals who skip breakfast tend to snack more during the day. This increased snacking generally leads to an increased calorie intake and overall weight gain. Break your habit by planning a quick, nutritious breakfast the night before – overnight oats, a smoothie (fruit, low fat yogurt, low fat milk), boiled eggs on toast etc.

Mindless eating:

The little ‘extras’ (the cookie here, the handful of lollies there) which are consumed with little thought throughout the day add up! This could be the difference between losing and gaining weight. Tackle this habit by starting a food diary – write down everything you consume throughout the day- you may be surprised how much you are eating!

Excessive snacking:

Now this does not refer to the piece of fruit or muesli bar you have packed for morning or afternoon tea. I am talking about the excessive snacking which may be done when you are alone, bored, emotional etc. A common time is at night when you settle down to watch TV. You are not focused on the amount you’re eating, but rather consuming food for comfort, or because it is a habit to do so. Breaking this habit means making a new routine – whether it be to do something with your hands at this time (so you cannot eat), such as knitting, painting nails, doing a cross word. Ditching the TV and finding something different to do, such as taking a bath, calling a friend etc is another option.

Excessive alcohol consumption:

Not only are you going to be consuming a huge amount of calories, but you may also write off several days of healthy eating and exercise. Break this habit by firstly becoming aware of how much you are drinking. Then establish limits of the amount you can drink, and factor this in to your daily calorie allowance. 1 standard drink equates to approximately 1 snack. So if you are going to have a drink, you may like to consume 1 less snack for the day

Author:  Ally Smith (Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD), Sports Dietitian, Personal Trainer and Online Coach)