Eating well is more than just choking down salad. It’s a lifestyle choice that has better long-term benefits than just fitting into a nice outfit. Eating well doesn’t just impact your body — it impacts your mind as well.
Healthy people are happy people, and happy people are healthy. Of course what’s healthy for one person might not help another, but people who decide to take a healthier route become happier and more energetic. And that’s only one benefit.
Happy people are also more confident. They tend to be more attractive to others, but that stems from their personality and not necessarily from their body type. You can add new depth to your relationships when you’re able to accept that happiness is more important than weight.
Making the changes to eat healthier sounds harder than it is. When you look at the long-term benefits of being happier, living longer, getting fewer health problems in later life and deepening your relationships, making some diet changes doesn’t sound so bad. And to make it even easier, we’ve got some tips for you!
Keep Good Food Around
Faced with the choice of an apple or ice cream, you’ll probably choose ice cream. Biologically, you’re programmed to want foods that are high in sugar and fat, so it’s hard to turn them down. However, that gets infinitely easier when you don’t allow ice cream to be an option. When the choice is down to an apple or a banana, you don’t have a bad option, so the only things you can choose are ones that are good for you.
Keep foods that you want to cut down on out of sight. If you leave cookies on the counter, everyone and their grandmother will swipe one as they go by. However, if you keep cookies in the freezer, then you have to get them out, defrost them and warm them up before you can eat them. That extra work removes any instant gratification, which makes the banana seem that much more appealing.
Make Bad Food Choices a Rarity
A diet is highly restrictive, and that’s one of the reasons it doesn’t work easily. A lifestyle, however, allows for some wiggle room. A lifestyle change needs to have some wiggle room — just not enough room for a salsa dance. Brownies are not evil in and of themselves, but eating a box of brownies is likely to make you feel evil. Enjoying unhealthy, fattening foods is good so long as it’s done in moderation.
You can’t use food as a tool for rewarding good behavior or as a recovery method from a difficult or stressful time. The easiest way to do this is to acknowledge your cravings, accept them and delay them instead of neglecting them completely. That gives you time to get over the bodily craving and use your head to determine the correct portion size.
In addition, you can limit how bad your bad choices are. You might really want a pizza, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Once you’ve given yourself a few minutes to make a good choice about the kind, order the light cheese or thin crust pizza from your favorite pizza place — instead of the tempting deep dish meat lovers with extra cheese.
Keep the Endorphins Flowing
It’s common knowledge that exercise helps to get your endorphins flowing. But did you know that certain foods actually do the same thing? In fact, the foods that help to bolster endorphins and serotonin are some of the same foods that diets restrict or prohibit — carbohydrates and sweets. Fruits and vegetables boost moods as well, so don’t cut anything out completely: Just limit your intake of it.
Dark chocolate lowers stress levels, while carbohydrates help promote endorphins. Cashews are great for reducing depression, and probiotics like yogurt can lead to an overall improvement in mood, teamwork and patience. Eating the right foods can literally help to overcome mental disorders. Just keep in mind that these are included as part of a balanced diet. Eating nothing but dark chocolate won’t make you happy. It will, however, make you sick.
Learn to Cook
Controlling what you eat starts by knowing everything that is in your food. Processed foods are quick, but they also tend to be full of fat, sugar and salt. We do need those things, but not in the quantities food companies seem to think. Cooking your own food allows you complete control, and it forces you to learn about your food. Study flavor combinations, spices and real, whole foods that have all the vitamins and nutrients you need to feel full and satisfied.
A simple diet might not keep you healthy — but following all the tips listed here could be your key to healthy eating.
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