As we all know, good nutrition is an important component of a balanced healthy life, but we sometimes get lost as to what good nutrition is! The basics are easy, eat lots of vegetables and fruit, choose whole grains, eat low fat dairy and lean meat, include healthy plant fats, and avoid processed and junk food. But is that getting you where you want to go with your weight and health goals?
This is because, although these are really important points, they are not the crux to healthy balanced eating. Your eating habits and behaviours are almost more important! Some points to keep in mind are:
When you get into a healthy eating ROUTINE you will find that your goals are so much easier to attain!
There is a lot of unnecessary as well as unconscious eating that takes place, and many people eat too much for their daily needs. We need surprisingly small amounts of food to function…
* Look at why you eat. Is it because of mouth hunger or stomach hunger? Stomach hunger is your real physical hunger, while mouth hunger is an emotional need, maybe stress or depression or even boredom! If you are eating for mouth hunger you could be an emotional eater, an exercise eater, or an association eater. In identifying your real hunger you might discover that most of your eating isn’t really necessary.
* Look at when you eat. Are you someone who skips meals or leaves out breakfast? By skipping breakfast you delay the start of your metabolism for the day and you will only get hungry much later in the day. And by skipping meals you cause your blood sugar levels to get very low and you get so hungry that you crave food and especially refined carbohydrates! And inevitably eat too much. Eating 5-6 smaller meals a day, starting early, will stabilise your blood sugars and prevent that 4-5pm binge.
* Look at where you eat. Food not only has a nourishing role to play it is also nurturing. Shoving food down your throat while driving the kids to school or while working on your computer isn’t nurturing at all and you probably won’t feel satisfied and still be looking for more to eat! Put time aside for your meals or snacks. Having that piece of chocolate cake one in a while and enjoying every bit of it isn’t going to do anything to your weight. It is reaching for that second piece or just carrying on eating junk food for the rest of the day because you ‘blew your diet anyway’ is when the trouble starts.
* Look at what you eat! Keep to the basics. Lots of fresh, whole, natural foods, less processed food, preferably no junk food and water for thirst. Base your meals on vegetables, adding lean protein; whole grain carbs, legumes or starchy veg; and plant fat; and have fruit and low fat dairy as snacks.
And as a go home message, I want you all to remember that you are human – no one expects you to be perfect 100% of the time!