Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to make a huge change in your diet to make a big difference to the way you feel. Even the smallest of changes in diet can make a huge difference to our happiness and self esteem. For example: simply eating more veg, deciding to cut out processed foods or committing to drinking more water, can make us feel so much better. Just knowing you are making one positive change can have a massively positive influence on your mindset.
However, very often we set ourselves insurmountable goals and are our own worst critics, particularly when it comes to our diet and health.
It may help you to know that there is some evidence to explain why that might be.
What’s against us:
We live in a society that has been conditioned to believe that to be thin is to be healthy. The diet industry fuels our insecurities by creating the idea in our heads that we are ‘good’ when we eat minimal calories and ‘bad’ when we eat a slice of cake. Maintaining those beliefs supports the continued success of an industry that cashes in when we fail to remain slim.
Psychologically, restrictive diets can result in a preoccupation with food, cravings and occasionally bingeing.
Modern man has created an industry out of food and we are now exposed to numerous badly produced, highly processed things that are marketed as food. It is way too easy for us to mindlessly fill our shopping trolleys with little thought for the ingredients or manufacturing process.
Alongside that, as human beings we are emotional creatures who have been brought up to think that food is many things other than simply fuel…..
A reward – Well done! You passed your exams, have a cake!
A boredom alleviator – I haven’t got anything to do…let’s see what’s in the fridge.
A Meal to be finished – You can’t leave the table until you’ve cleared the plate!
A Plaster – Whoops! You’ve hurt yourself. Here, the sweetie will make it better.
A Hug – I’m sad, chocolate always helps.
Let’s take it back to basics.
Food is, in its simplest form, a fuel to maintain life and growth.
Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 50 years you will know that eating a diet that is colourful, includes plenty of variety, and limits processed/manufactured foods is good for your health.
When made with fresh ingredients that are sourced well and put together with love, food is a feast for the senses and eating is an experience that makes us both feel nurtured and content.
Eating a nice slice of homemade cake is a pleasure that should not be denied and, truthfully, we know the score about moderation and balance.
Isn’t it about time therefore that we rejected the diet mentality, lost the guilt and instead consider our long term health?
How Changing Your Mindset Can Help.
The fact is we are probably all more than capable of making food choices that honor our health and taste-buds while making us feel well and happy. The problem is we are all too busy, distracted by life and wound up in our emotions to tune into it so we get a little lost, put on a few pounds, panic and resort to ‘get slim quick’ plans. Or worse, we just give up the ghost completely!
How about trying a different approach? How about taking small steps rather than trying to make wholesale changes, and consider that tuning into your mind might be the key to achieving your health goals.
Here are a few thoughts on how to tune in….
- Know that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly become nutrient deficient or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of excessive eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress and small steps over time is what counts.
- Make a more conscious effort to be aware of what you are eating. You don’t have to keep a food diary, just be more mindful. Slow down, don’t eat out of a packet, know when you are hungry and when you are not.
- Acknowledge that you body is an amazing miracle that carries you through life. Respect it and know that keeping it healthy is really important, but the shape of it is not!
- If you do use food as a comforter find other ways to comfort , distract, and resolve your issues without using food. There are many other ways to lift your spirits, friends, the outdoors, spending time with animals, exercise to name but a few.
- Finally, trust yourself and stop beating yourself up. Life is too short for that.
If you have any questions about any of this please do drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about joining me on one of The Mindful Cook food retreats, click here