How to stay healthy while still eating the foods you love?

First things first, before figuring out how to eat whatever it is you want while still staying healthy, you need to understand and admit to yourself whethe

How to stay healthy while still eating the foods you love?

First things first, before figuring out how to eat whatever it is you want while still staying healthy, you need to understand and admit to yourself whether you have a good or bad relationship with food. Asking yourself the following can allow you to understand your relationship with certain foods:

1. Do you eat a particular food constantly when you’re going through bouts of depression, sadness or hard/stressful times?

2. Do you have a habit of saying “I’ll just have one more” and bingeing on certain foods?

3. Do you feel sad or upset when you’re NOT eating these particular foods often?

These questions might be a bit extreme, but it’s important to understand just how good or bad your relationship with food can be, and whether you’re in control of your cravings. This will dictate just where you need to start when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle and incorporating some of the foods you love into your diet.

Apart from the obvious (staying active and incorporating fitness into your life), there are a few ways you can stay healthy while eating what you want (in a controlled fashion, that is) depending on how you answered the three questions above:

Mindset realignment – changing the way you perceive the foods you love, so that you stop viewing them as an anti-depressant, or a ‘high’ that you need to chase. This can take time, but re-working your mindset and resetting how you view certain foods will help you have a healthier relationship with that food

Vulnerability & Accountability – admitting to family members, friends or anyone who can hold you accountable that you may over-indulge in certain foods, so they can keep track on how much of that food you’re having and hold you to account

Re-education – learning that the foods you love aren’t bad and shouldn’t be frowned upon, but they should be eaten in moderation and controlled. Too much of anything is bad for you, whether it be alcohol, junk food, water, apples, anything, so understanding that balance in the food you consume is key

The main takeaway here is that you don’t need to limit yourself to having one ‘cheat meal’ a week or anything like that. That in itself can lead to bingeing later down the line, which is detrimental to what you’re trying to achieve. Instead, focusing on understanding your body, your moods and your habits, so that you know when it is you’re due to have your next craving. Study that over the course of a few weeks or months.

Keep a diary if you need to and track down how often in a day, week or month you have a particular craving. See what trend follows from that, e.g. if you crave a particular food every other day, note down what your behaviours are prior to that. Note down how long you can go before your cravings become insatiable. When you start to understand these things, you’ll be able to work out how far apart you can eat your ‘guilty’ foods, while eating healthier foods in between. With time, you’ll be able to understand your body and cravings better and figure out more workarounds that can go in your favour. The name of the game is longevity and sustainability, not extremism. You’re not trying to stop your cravings, you’re trying to balance them out and stay on top of it.

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More posts from within the Nash Squared on health and wellbeing.