The Right And Wrong Ways To Look At Food
Whether you realize it or not, you hold certain beliefs regarding food. You have general ideas about what food is, what it is not, what it should do for you, and how you should approach it. These beliefs play a role in every decision you make around food. If you carry snacks in your car, if you skip breakfast, if you only eat meals by yourself, it is these subconscious or perhaps conscious ideas revolving around food that drive those actions. If you are unhappy with the results you are seeing in your body, both how it looks and feels, making the changes you want on the outside may require changing your perspective on food. Here are the right and wrong ways to look at food.
Wrong: Food is just calories
When we think of food as just calories, we fixate on only counting calories and not considering the value of each calorie. That means we feel guilty about 700 calories no matter where they came from.
Right: Food is fuel
Not all calories are made the same. You need food to use your muscles, to use your brain, and to enjoy functioning organs. When you select foods that target those processes, you should not feel guilty about the calories, nor should you even think about food as calories. It is fuel, and fuel is essential.
Wrong: If I eat when I am not hungry, I lose
Some people feel that eating is a game and the way to win is to only eat when you are truly starving. In that way, people feel peace of mind that they won’t gain weight.
Right: Some foods are free
Remember there are some foods that are so nutritious while remaining so low in calories that it is okay to snack on such items. And in general, thinking that food is something that should be avoided unless absolutely necessary is not an emotionally healthy mindset.
Wrong: Eating a balanced diet is calculated
You will notice many individuals say things like I can’t eat bread tonight, because I had bread today. They have specific rules that are all in their head regarding how to keep a balanced diet.
Right: Your body talks to you
The truth is if you have carbohydrates at one meal and find yourself craving them at the next meal, that is your body telling you that you need them. Rely less on your mind and more on your body to know how to maintain balance.
Wrong: Food is just fuel
On the opposite end of individuals who don’t recognize food as fuel, there are people who think of it purely as fuel. Their meals are unimaginative, and they just focus on perfect nutritional profiles.
Right: Food is more than fuel, and better that way.
If you remove the creativity and enjoyment from your meals, you are bound to splurge on cravings. Find ways to make meals that are nutritionally balanced but also excite you. Meals can and should be an experience, that will motivate you to eat healthfully.
Wrong: I eat less than my friend. So I am healthier.
It is very common, especially among women, to compare what we eat to what our friends eat. So long as we eat less than our friends, we believe we are healthier than our friends.
Right: All bodies are different.
Keep in mind that your friend might eat much, much more than she should, in which case, just eating slightly less than her, could still leave you over eating. Likewise, your friend might have a different eating schedule. She may be allowed to eat more at this meal due to her other caloric intake that day. Just focus on your hunger, and not your friend’s plate.
Wrong: Balance means splurging, then restricting
If you often hear people say things such as “Today is my cheat day” or “This week I am fasting,” they live their life in a series of extreme highs and lows when it comes to food.
Right: Balance is about micro dosing
True balance is not as easy as overdoing it one day and starving the next. You must commit to making small but important choices every few hours in order to maintain balance. Your day should involve keeping your blood sugar level balanced rather than letting it drop very low before letting it spike.
Wrong: One diet will always work for me
You will find a diet that seems to keep you satisfied and keep you at a happy weight. It is easy to think this will be your lifetime diet. If suddenly you gain weight or don’t feel well on these diets, you might assume the cause has nothing to do with your food.
Right: Bodies evolve
Throughout your life, due to hormones, changes in your muscle mass, changes in your activity, and medical conditions, you will have to make adjustments in your diet to maintain a healthy weight and feel satisfied.
Your relationship with food will always changes
Unfortunately, there is no black and white or always true answer when it comes to food. Feeling and looking good will require being constantly conscientious of your body’s needs and changes. Rigidity about when, what, or how you eat, is your biggest obstacle when it comes to being healthy.