A vast majority of people don’t have healthy eating habits. Some people rely on eating unhealthy foods in large quantities. Others starve themselves hoping to lose weight. Then, there are also individuals who think that growing healthy eating habits requires following some strict diet plan and they do it, thus eliminating some important food groups whose nutrients the organism needs to function properly. The key to good health and healthy weight is to maintain a good relationship with food. Since you’re probably asking yourself how to do such a thing, scroll down and you’ll find out.
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1. Keep Cravings Away
Food cravings are the worst enemies of healthy eating habits. Don’t assume your strong willpower will prevent you from heating that frozen pizza in the middle of the night. The best way to deal with cravings is to keep them away, out of your sight, and most preferably, out of your home. If you know there’s chocolate somewhere in your home, regardless where you keep it. Eventually you’ll get up and eat it. Eliminate the risk and don’t buy or store foods you crave the most at your home.
2. Don’t Diet
Do you diet all the time? Do you tend to switch from one diet onto another? The truth is; a lot of people keep dieting because they’re in the constant search for the winning formula that will help them lose or maintain weight. Most diets don’t work and even if you lose weight, you still gain even more pounds once you stop with the program. The Archives of Internal Medicine published results of the study which showed that five years after a group of females lost weight during 6-month weight loss program, they weighed 7.9 lbs more than their starting weight after the follow-up period. In fact, 40% of them gained back more than they had lost during the diet program.
Furthermore, the journal Psychosomatic Medicine featured a study which discovered that dieting has a tremendous potential to harm your health. Below, you can see negative consequences of dieting as identified by this research:
- Heart disease
- Increased risk of cancer
- Higher levels of stress hormone cortisol
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
Despite the popular belief that dieting fits perfectly into a healthy lifestyle, the science shows it’s not correct. If you want to have a healthy relationship with food, ditch dieting and opt for well-balanced menu instead.
3. Eat Mindfully
Some cultures treat every meal as a special occasion where people don’t rush when eating. Instead, they take the time to savor every bite and enjoy the broad palette of flavors, colors, spices, and scents that we tend to neglect. Eating mindfully is more than treating every meal as a special event, this way of eating is good for your health as well. When you eat fast and don’t chew properly, it’s difficult for your body to digest the food properly. In fact, this can also make you gain weight.
Mindful eating is a practice when a person engages all his/her senses to guide their eating-related decisions, taking the time to enjoy the entire process of eating. This way of eating and connecting with the food also inspires you to make healthier food choices. A group of scientists at the La Salle University from Philadelphia, PA conducted a study to investigate the potential of mindful eating. They enrolled 26 undergraduate students to their research whose findings were presented in the journal Advances in Mind-Body Medicine. Results showed that 86% of participants engaged in healthy food consumption. They concluded the study explaining that mindful eating has promising effects on prevention of weight gain.
One of the most important aspects of the healthy relationship with food is appreciating the entire process of preparation and every meal you see on the table. Enjoy every bite and chew carefully. It’s also helpful to incorporate meditation into your daily life for optimal mindfulness. It won’t take long before you notice that you started making healthier diet choices.
4. Eat and Prepare “Real” Foods
We have it easy now; when we’re hungry it’s easy to order food delivered to your doorstep, buy ready meals, and eat snacks, and so on. In order to build a great relationship with food, you have to make some effort. It’s like every relationship in your life. Instead of junk and unhealthy foods, you should opt for healthy meals that you can make in your kitchen. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables to the menu and choose baking, roasting, or cooking instead of frying.
When you make meals, you’re more likely to make healthier choices. Always make sure that every meal you make has an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthy components your body needs. Eat fiber-rich foods that are necessary for weight management.
5. Don’t Be too Strict
One of the main habits of people with a healthy relationship with food is that they aren’t too hard on themselves. Forcing yourself to eat certain food groups while banning others can be counterproductive. Let’s go back to cravings now, eating too much chocolate cake is unhealthy, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t order a slice from time to time. If the cake is your guilty pleasure, don’t keep it at home, but allow yourself to indulge in a single slice every once every once in awhile. When you are too strict with your eating habits, it will lead you to break your own rules. Instead, make sure everything you consume is in moderation.
Don’t use food as a bribe, treat, or punishment for yourself because it disturbs the healthy relationship you want to establish.
Other Things to do
- Manage stress
- Experiment with different recipes
- Eat at a table
- Eat with family, friends, coworkers whenever possible
- Don’t be too picky when it comes to healthy food
- Don’t assume that healthy food isn’t delicious
- Don’t eat when you’re bored
- Don’t skip meals
Maintaining weight at a healthy range calls for physical activity and proper diet. Instead of switching from one diet onto another or making unhealthy food choices, it’s important to build a strong relationship with food, appreciate it, and make wise decisions. It’s not complicated, and with little tweaks from this article, you can do it as well. Remember, moderation is the key.