We all know we should be eating a diet full of fruits and veggies and low in processed foods and sugars. Yet, each day we tend to make choices that are not in alignment with taking care of ourselves. So, why is it so hard to eat in a healthy way and how can we change this? Let’s break it down a bit.
First of all, there is so many mixed messages out there about what is healthy and what is unhealthy, sometimes it feels like the only thing you are allowed to eat is lettuce and maybe some broccoli. With the crazes around superfoods, fad diets, whatever the latest health craze is.
We consider only a small fraction of what is leading to our food choices, whether we have the “willpower” to make the right choices. Food is only a part of what it takes to take care of your body and your health. Other things that are just as important are things like, sunlight, laughter, sleep quality, fresh air and your relationships, are all a part of nourishing your mind and body. Healthy eating does not look the same for everyone and it is not meant to.
So what should you be doing? To start with, this is like anything, very individual. Some people thrive on a vegan diet, whereas someone like me when I tried a vegan diet for a few months my digestion was really terrible. Some people get so much of their energy and fuel from carbs yet another person wants to take a 2 hour nap every time they eat them. Some people can only function when they have animal products in their diet where others can take it or leave it without noticing much of a difference.
On of the keys is eating real whole unprocessed foods as close to their natural state as possible, most of the time. This means eating individual ingredients rather than eating something full of ingredients made in a factory. You don’t need to be eating all lean 100% of the time and you do not need to be missing out on your favourites. As anything this is about balance.
Did you know a lack of sunshine leads to sugar cravings? A lack of good sleep leads to your hunger and fullness cues being messed up and poorer food choices. Your body will do anything it needs to get the energy it needs to function. It is handy to have fresh foods available to you when you are having those days where you are hungry a lot of the time.
When you go to eat something, rather than thinking something like, is this food going to make me fat and basing your decisions on that. I can assure you this will only lead you to binge and feeling guilty later. Think about food in how is your body going to respond to it? Is it going to give you energy? Is it going to make you feel well? It is going to fuel you enough to last until your next meal?
Also know, being hungry is not some kind of personal failure. People are scared to be hungry because for some reason they think it means they have no self-control. Being hungry is no different to needing to go to the bathroom. Your body is giving you a signal of what it needs. It is calling for more fuel. Also know if you are finding yourself working on a healthy lifestyle and you increase your physical activity, naturally your physical hunger is going to increase and it is meant to. You are burning more energy therefore you need to replenish it. Some people get so frustrated at themselves when they notice they are hungry more often, yet they have actively working to increase their physical exercise. Your body is just compensating for the energy being used, it is very normal, and it is healthy to fuel your body when it calls for it.
If eating healthy gets too exhausting preparing the food every day. Start with bulk meal prepping. Cook up big batches of food and freeze it is meal portions. Cook up your staples at the start of the week so you only have the quick and easy things to cook up at night when you are tired from work. If you are snacking throughout the day on food that is not making you feel super flash, take some preprepared foods that you know make you feel good.
Find yourself some simple, go-to recipes that you enjoy and work well for your body. If you find healthy eating quite bland, this is because highly processed foods are so overpowered with flavours, fats, salts and sugars, that simple things like fruits and veggies come across as too plain. Once you start to reduce the amount of highly processed foods your palette will adjust and healthy eating does become more flavoursome.
Where are you struggling to eat well at the moment? How can you start to make that easier for yourself? Is there some prep you can do? Can you change up some ingredients in your meals to include more vegetables? What is one thing you can do to nourish your body better this week?