The primary reason people go on a diet is to manage their weight. Watching what you eat, and how much you eat are an important part of it. A lot of people start off determinedly and resolve to lose weight in a stipulated time frame. But somewhere along the way, for some reason, the diet goes for a toss, and most are back to eating what they should ideally avoid, and realize they are not losing the desired weight. It’s when they start feeling guilty about not following a healthy diet plan, that they are back to following it again. This cycle usually goes on. The trick lies in eating whatever you want, albeit in smaller quantities, without being washed over by guilt. How do you do that? Let us see in detail.
Developing a Healthy Relationship with Food As Adults
With so much emphasis being laid on healthy and unhealthy foods, it truly becomes difficult to base our choices on what we should eat, how much we should eat, and when we should eat it. A common misconception is that following a diet means eating only healthy foods, which are usually bland and tasteless. When we realize that eating a favorite food of ours will make us gain weight, we either ignore it completely, or ignore the diet, and gorge on it. Both extremes are wrong. To enjoy what we eat, without feeling guilty, and without it affecting our weight, is the main step towards developing a healthy understanding about the type of food we eat.
Start by changing your mindset towards food. It cannot and will not happen overnight. Overweight people, many a time, perceive food as their biggest enemy, which is wrong. We are humans, and we need food to survive. We must realize that we should eat food because our body requires it, and not turn to it in times of stress, trying to satisfy emotional hunger. Try to follow these simple tips which will help you enjoy what you eat, without feeling guilty in the process.
Moderation is the Key
Make a conscious effort to have a little bit of a particular food you have been asked to stay away from. Enjoy every bite. A small piece of cake, once in a while, will not do much harm. In fact, it has two benefits, firstly, your cravings might stop, and secondly, you are getting to eat what you so dearly love.
Get to Know What You Eat
Try to get your hands on the nutritional content of the food you are about to eat. It’s not just how many calories the food has, but look for elements like protein, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, etc. If a certain food is high in fat, try to substitute it with something else, or cut back on the serving size. You can also experiment with different, nutritious recipes, which will ensure that your everyday meals do not get boring, and at the same time, you are eating healthy. Spend some more time in the supermarket, and get home healthier food than what you usually buy.
Make a Note of What You Eat
It will help you to decide how much and what you have eaten, and how much should you consume in the near future. Seek variety in what you eat. Make it a point to consume three servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. You can even plan and make a list of dishes you would like to have every week, and shop accordingly. Once you know what you intend to have, preparing it in a healthier way will be much easier, and you will be able to regulate your diet.
Adhering to a diet will seem a simpler task if you have a friend or acquaintance along, who is also following a diet regimen just like you. This way, you have someone who can help you to get back on track, if you are erring in your diet plan in any way. Another option is to seek guidance from a nutritionist. He/she can help you make the right food choices.
The most important part, I would say. Do not think of food as your enemy. This will only make matters worse. Strive to alter your attitude towards food. Do not keep thinking “I should not have this food” or “I cannot have this food.” Instead, phrase it like “I really like it. Let me have a small piece, just for today. I won’t have it again till next week.” And stick to it! This way you have conditioned your mind to eat what you most enjoy, without feeling guilty about it.
Helping Children Develop a Healthy Relationship with Food
Teaching your children healthy food habits will go a long way and be very useful to them as adults. This is especially true in today’s ever-changing world, where we are so busy, and have little time to pay attention to what we eat.
Mealtimes should be Regulated
Make it a point to sit down together as a family to have your meal, at least once a day. Stay away from cell phones and watching TV while you eat. Engage your child in different topics, ask him about his daily routine. Make mealtimes fun, so children look forward to it.
Involve Your Children during Meal Preparation
Take them with you when you visit the supermarket, and ask them to help you choose food that is healthy. Let them select a different color of fruits and vegetables every day, this adds to the variety. When you cook, ask them to help you in the kitchen, and ask for their opinions on how to cook a particular dish. They may not have an answer to that, but they will feel involved and be a little more interested in eating what is prepared, since they have helped you out.
Take a Cue from Their Eating Habits
You will know when your child is full when you monitor their mealtimes. Do not force them to eat. Coercing them to finish every last morsel in their plate will drive them away from food.
As you can see, it is not very tough to develop and maintain healthy food habits. They key factors are self-discipline, changing your approach towards food, eating in moderation, and following a dedicated diet regime, while attending to your cravings once in a while. Another important thing to note – exercise! If you get in shape, you will love your body. And when you appreciate yourself, eating right to keep yourself that way will be much easier! And all this requires time and patience.