Many women (and men too) have an unhealthy relationship with food and with how they feel about their bodies. While these issues focus around food and body fat, the truth of the story is that food and fat are the symptom of the problem, and not the problem its self. Part of creating a healthy relationship with food involves creating healthy nutrition habits and changing our thoughts around food. Adopting the habits below will give you a good foundation for beginning to create healthier relationship with food.
Think of food as your fuel
Rather than thinking of foods as good or bad, think of foods as being your fuel. When you label foods as good or bad, you make it an emotive issue. If you eat a “bad” food, you feel guilty about it, or a “good” food, you feel positive. This creates a negative cycle around the foods you eat. Remember that everything that’s happening within your body needs nutrients and energy from food to function effectively. Eat foods that are nutrient rich – foods that nourish your body. The occasional high fat/high sugar food is not “bad” in the context of a healthy, balanced diet.
There are no foods you can’t eat
Remember there are no foods you can never eat – it’s about how much and how often. It’s important to include in your diet the foods you really love. Banning them sets you up for failure. If you love chocolate, don’t buy a big block to snack on, buy a small chocolate bar and savour the flavour.
Set up a positive food environment
Before you go grocery shopping, plan your meals and snacks, so you’ll always have healthy food available. If you buy snacks in bulk, such as nuts, store them in small containers so you’re not tempted to go overboard on portion size.
Make meal times memorable. Eating in front of the computer or television; or eating on the run means you are less tuned into your eating experience. This increases the chances of overeating Sit at the table, turn the TV off, light a candle. Enjoy the eating experience.
Take time to enjoy your food. It takes 20 minutes for our brains to register that we are full, so eating slowly will help ensure you don’t go for seconds before you need to. Eating slowly also gives you the chance to savour the flavours you eat.
Breakfast kick starts your day and means you are less likely to chose poor food choices later in the day. Choose a healthy breakfast such as a high fibre, low fat cereal, wholegrain toast with a poached egg or a fruit smoothie. Not hungry for breakfast? Check your portion sizes at night time, you might be eating too much. You don’t have to eat breakfast as soon as you get out of bed, as long as it’s within an hour and a half of getting up.
Make sure you get 5 plus serves of vegetables a day
Vegetables are one of the most nutrient rich foods. They are also naturally low in fat, sugar and salt. It’s not just their vitamins, minerals and fibre that are good for you. The phytonutrients in vegetables are a key player in the health benefits they provide. Phytonutrients are chemicals/compounds found in plant based foods that benefit health. An example is lycopene found in tomatoes which is beneficial for reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Include vegetables as a part of lunch as well as dinner. For more about the benefits phytonutrients in vegetables, visit here
Picture courtesy of vegetables.co.nz