Most people struggle with food. What to eat and what not. To diet. To binge. Cheat days. Super foods. Calorie counting. Mono diets. Etc. Etc. We are bombarded with information, and often sway in our choices. We only tend to look at food seriously when we are unwell or when our bodies have succumbed to a lifestyle disease. Most people, even on the brink of obesity, do not take their food habits into serious consideration… they immediately think of dieting and at the back of their head is always the thought that I have to do this only for x amount of time.
Food is a very personal relationship and each individual has built their food habits over years and years of conditioning. It could ideally be one of the simplest things we do if only we listened to our bodies more. Instead the mind takes us on multiple journeys of confusion, temptation and distortion. The key to eating right and maintain a healthy life should be a plan that fits your life. Below I have listed a few things that might help you build a better relationship with your eating habits:
- Some people love to plan and cook and have a built routine. Others eat on the go and eat based on their mood or convenience. In the fast paced times we live in and with the numerous choices we have, it’s easy to go off track. I know people who have no set routine for food – they may have lunch at noon one day and even at 4 pm on another. They also often eat on whim. While this may happen once in a way, it should not become a consistent practice as it can have serious repercussions on your weight and your health.
- Go vegetarian at least twice a week. Choose your vegetables and fruits with care. Fresh seasonal vegetables are always good. Make sure at least one third of your plate consists of lightly sautéed vegetables or raw salads.
- Eat less meat. A healthy diet must contain whole grains, nuts, seeds, non starchy vegetables and fruits, rather than just meat. Enjoy lentils and legumes, dry fruits, oatmeal, brown rice. There are so many healthy options to get the protein you need, and all with additional nutrients.
- Limit the amount of fat you intake. Instead of frying everything as we are used to, opt for lightly sautéed, raw, boiled vegetables and curries. Choose your cooking oil wisely. Fat also comes hidden in packaged foods so try and eliminate these. Pure ghee is actually very good for you and a small amount of it is ideal if you have not been medically advised otherwise.
- Portion control is essential for wellbeing. Most people with normal range of physical activity actually do not need more than two well balanced meals a day. However, we have habituated ourselves to eat numerous times and without even thinking. Your food portions should be such that you are left feeling neither too full nor too empty. Never eat when you are not hungry.
- Empty calories. Please be watchful of calories you consume through sugared and aerated drinks that do not contribute any nutrients. Most times when you choose a beverage, just a plain glass of water would have done instead!
- Eat more of what’s good for you. It’s not going to be easy to eat healthy all the time, make small changes, and pause and question every little thing you are about to eat.
Remember when you eat better, your overall health and wellbeing are positively affected. You will feel lighter, think clearer, sleep better, feel stronger and look better! You are truly what you eat.
Sandesh Palungwa Limbu, Certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and specialises in mixed martial arts.