People on a ‘Get Healthy Eating’ mission often make the mistake of setting themselves impossibly high standards to achieve.
Cutting out all carbohydrates, or only eating raw food, or even scheduled fasting advised on a 5:2 dieting plan are all challenges that more often than not put a person under undue and unnecessary pressure. These tough regimes almost always end in a person reverting to their previous established habits as the changes they expect from themselves are too hard.
In mine and Liz Hogon’s work with clients struggling with their relationship with food we use our therapy approaches to resolve and release the emotional triggers for disordered eating including bingeing, cravings and purging.
When clients have resolved the issues that compelled them to eat when not hungry they want to tackle their food choices and after decades of emotional eating they are often confused about what their meals should be and what they need to eat to be healthy.
We work with clients to make changes a step at a time and incrementally build on those foundations so that success builds on success instead of setting you up to fail which is what diets always do.
Remember – you don’t fail at diets: diets fail you.
Here are ten points that are fundamental to improving your food choices and if you follow these hacks you’ll be well on your way to taking better care of you.
1. Hunger hinders determination
The best of healthy eating intentions fall to the wayside when you’re caught out feeling really hungry. To be selective you need to be stocked up and travel with your own tasty, nutritional snacks.
2. Knowledge is power
Reading food packaging labels can easily make you cynical when products promoted as healthy, original or natural include ingredients that are unpronounceable or loaded with sugars and sodium (salt).
3. Eat the rainbow
Is a useful hook to remind you to eat as widely as possible of vegetables and fruit. Every different coloured vegetable or darkest green brassica has its unique type of beneficial micro-nutrients.
4. Where’s my nutrition?
Take a moment to look at your plate of food. Aim for two-thirds vegetables including dark green leaves with a serving of protein – such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts or pulses.
Experts also agree that it’s no longer necessary to be afraid of butter although its important buy organic for its higher levels of beneficial omega 3 oil.
5. Eat Mindfully
Eating is your opportunity to take care of yourself and give yourself the best nutrition you can. Being relaxed and focussed while eating allows your body to fully digest and absorb all the nutrients in your food.
6. DYB, DYB, DYB (Do your best)
Be an old style boy scout and be prepared. Do your food shopping to a list with specific meals in mind and cook at least some food in batches so that you have key nutritious meals already pre-prepared for the week ahead.
7. Eat some raw
Some enzymes in food are unavoidably destroyed during cooking so eat raw every day from a side salad, to a handful of nuts, or seeds, or grated vegetables. Olives make an excellent appetiser too that are not only tasty but great for improving your gut health.
8. Spoil yourself
Beauty treatments are wonderful for making you look good on the outside but to glow from within treat yourself to some high welfare foods such as a line caught oily fish, a good quality organically and ethically raised beef steak, free-range chicken, organic eggs, or artisan made sourdough bread.
9. Spice it up
Replace or reduce the amount of salt you cook with by flavouring your meals with spices like turmeric, garlic, chillies, cinnamon and cloves. The medical profession is researching why people from the Indian sub-continent have lower incidences of bowel cancer and are concluding it’s their higher use of spices.
10. Be savvy when eating out
Quiz the waiting staff when you eat out. Many a healthy restaurant choice has been derailed by an overly sweet sauce or an ersatz dressing. Don’t be afraid to ask for your meal to served as simply as possible with sauces served on the side so that you get to choose how much and what you want to eat.
This post was written by Sally Baker and Liz Hogon and was first published in Candis magazine to coincide with the publication of their second book ‘How to Feel Differently About Food’ published by Hammersmith Books, London. Available from Amazon.
If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.