What we eat doesn’t just impact the way we look, but the way we feel, and the way we think. Not only are we influenced by food choices, but by how we view those choices. Burgers, fries, and milkshakes or salad, fruit, and water? Sometimes choosing the right meal can be difficult when we are faced with healthy vs. unhealthy options. Why not enjoy a burger once in a while, or snack on a fresh salad instead of a heavy meal? What we choose to eat doesn’t have to be limited to one type of food.
Having a healthy mindset about eating involves understanding that food is not just a source of fuel for your body, but also an important aspect of your overall health and well-being. When we view food as the problem, we may feel guilty or ashamed when we eat certain foods, leading to a negative relationship with food. When viewed in a positive light, it is a source of nourishment and can bring enjoyment. This means recognizing that all foods can fit into a healthy and balanced diet, and that no single food is inherently good or bad.
DANGERS OF UNHEALTHY EATING HABITS
Viewing food as a negative can lead to an unhealthy relationship with eating and may have negative consequences for both your physical and mental health. This train of thought can lead to some dangerous habits and mindsets:
Disordered eating – restrictive eating patterns or disordered eating, such as orthorexia or anorexia nervosa.
Nutritional deficiencies – if you are overly restrictive with your food choices, you may not be getting all the nutrients your body needs, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Emotional distress – Feeling guilty or ashamed about eating certain foods can lead to emotional distress and impact mental health.
Reduced pleasure in eating – you may not be able to fully enjoy eating, leading to reduced pleasure in the experience.
Negative self-image – you may also have a negative self-image, which can impact overall well-being.
Unhealthy weight management – Viewing food as negative can lead to unhealthy weight management practices, such as extreme dieting or excessive exercise.
It’s important to view food as a positive part of life and practice balance and moderation in your eating habits. By doing so, you can create a healthier relationship with food and improve your overall well-being. So how do we change our mindset and habits?
WHAT ARE HEALTHY EATING HABITS?
Creating healthy eating habits can be challenging, but with some effort and consistency, it is possible to make long-term changes to your diet. We’ve provided some examples of healthy habits to start:
- Plan your meals – plan your meals ahead of time to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need and avoid impulsive food choices.
- Eat a balanced diet – include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your diet.
- Drink plenty of water – drinking enough water can help you stay hydrated, curb hunger, and support healthy digestion.
- Eat mindfully – eating mindfully involves paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, as well as the taste and texture of your food.
- Avoid a restrictive diet – restrictive diets can be difficult to maintain and may not provide all the nutrients your body needs. Focus on making small, sustainable changes to your eating habits instead. And don’t feel ashamed for having the occasional burger or fries!
Remember to focus on the overall pattern of your eating habits rather than individual foods or meals. This means emphasising whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, while still allowing yourself to enjoy your favourite treats in moderation.
BENEFITS OF HEALTHY EATING HABITS
Creating healthy eating habits takes time and effort. Once you start making changes in your food, you’ll start to notice changes in other parts of your life. Some benefits include seeing improvement in your overall health which reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. You will see an improvement in your mental health. Maintaining healthy eating habits helps to reduce the risk of depression, anxiety, and more disorders. You will experience other physical advantages such as better digestion and a stronger immune system. Healthy eating habits can even improve your energy and productivity!
Having healthy eating habits doesn’t necessarily mean staying with healthy food options 100% of the time. Remember that viewing all foods can fit into a healthy and balanced diet, and that no single food is inherently good or bad. When we change our mindsets about food, we can change the way we think and feel – in a more positive way. If you would like to discuss eating habits, or general mental health with our team, or talk to a professional for more information, please contact us HERE.