Even the most health-conscious among us can have moments where we take food for granted. It’s easy, when the urge to eat or even just snack hits, to forget that this is fuel we’re putting in our bodies. It’s easier, still, to feel guilty simply because food makes us feel good, and that what we’re eating isn’t healthy. Guilt, though, isn’t the way to go about it. Would you feel guilty if you didn’t know what fuel to put in a jet or a helicopter? Not likely, because experts are expected to know that, not you.
The key is becoming an expert at identifying just what your body needs to run efficiently, keep you going, and keep you happy, all while still being able to enjoy yourself when you do that most necessary task – eating.
A Top-Down Redesign
Getting yourself on the road to eating properly isn’t about changing how you look. If that’s something you’re interested in, you do you, but eating healthy is all about changing your mind. Thinking about why you eat what you do is always a good start to getting better food in your diet. Some suggestions for straightening out the eating part of your brain are:
- Monitor your eating habits and drinking habits
- Make a list of those habits so that you can see where you might be eating the wrong things, or possibly overeating
- Analyze what causes you to have unhealthy eating habits
- Identify the moments in the day where you tend to eat compulsively, and find out what those moments have in common
Change Your Fuel
The big key here is not to forget that a functioning body needs a balanced diet and exercise. Figuring out what works for you – mostly, finding a way to enjoy what’s healthy, or finding something that’s healthy that you didn’t realize you enjoyed – isn’t always easy. Especially since comfort eating can often make you default to oil and salt and sugar, which are fine in moderation, but difficult to argue for on a “fuel” level.
Once you’ve identified a healthy diet, something that suits you and works for your body, your metabolism and your palate, you can use the information you’ve been gathering about any healthy and unhealthy eating practices you default to, and start replacing them with healthier ones. Maybe you only eat at certain times, or avoid activities that make you want to snack – whatever helps you.
Eating slowly is always a good way to monitor how you actually feel, as it can take time for the body to realize it’s full. “Cleaning your plate” is not always necessary, despite what some etiquette rules might say. Look out for your body first.
Stick to the New Route
Patterns only work if you stick to them, so keeping a journal, or tracking your new habits in some way should hopefully help you see patterns as they appear. This will make it a little easier to stick to it, rather than beating yourself up for eating the wrong thing, or at the wrong time. Making changes can be healthy, but cut yourself some slack emotionally.