Practicing good eating habits is an accomplishable task, however I am growing to realize food choices, meal-timing and serving sizes are pre-programmed with us.

The tough work of bettering someone’s eating habits comes not only from introducing healthier foods and strategies, but also from de-programming old eating patterns.

Establishing the healthier habits or undoing the unhealthy ones requires a behavior change - a real behavior change! When we undergo this behavior transition, our lives look much different. We intentionally skip the candy jar at the receptionist’s desk and the last few bites off of our children’s plates.

Sometimes, though, others (enablers) encourage us to not become “too obsessive” with these changes. Hearing those words, we begin to listen to them when we are tempted. Suddenly, we agree. “We shouldn’t be too obsessive.” And, we eat what we shouldn’t.

Certainly, there exist eating disorders which are not healthy in any respect. At no point, does a healthy diet consist of skipping meals or eating too little. In fact, it’s the opposite. Eating small, eating healthy and eating frequently is the key to losing fat.

However, proper eating does exclude sweets, soft drinks and high sugar foods and for many, it was “obsession” with these foods that brought on weight gain in the first place. In order to spark real change in our bodies, we have to be diligent in avoiding these. If we’re still accused of being obsessive, we have to respond, “Okay then, we are.”

We have to be. We can’t consume sugar and expect our bodies not to react negatively. We can read success stories from fit people and we always hear about a particular time in life when they really buckled down and became very disciplined about they were eating. Every little bit of nutritious commitment and every bit of exercise counts. Every bit!

These are great obsessions:

  1. Eat breakfast every day.
  2. Drink water every day.
  3. Avoid sweets and soft drinks.
  4. Limit alcohol.
  5. Eat whole grains.
  6. Eat fruit and vegetables.

Being healthy is not about living a rigid life, but a greater commitment on the front end will accelerate a more flexible eating lifestyle later.

Jeff Howerton is a trainer and owner of LEAN Personal Training at Hill Center of Green Hills, where he and his trainers work with clients to lose fat, develop lean muscle and implement strategies for healthier living.

Contact Jeff at

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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