I’ve been dabbling in healthy eating, exercise, and all around health conscientiousness since I was a pre-teen. You’d think after 15 years, healthy living would be habitual to me. However, I’ve come to realize that although the decision process gets easier, I must continue to make those healthy decisions every day.
I think there are two major aspects to eating healthy:
knowing how to choose healthy foods
and saying no to our inner child.
I Don’t Know What to Choose
The first barrier is lack of knowledge.
Many people just don’t know what is healthy for them and what isn’t. How can anyone eat a healthy diet when they don’t know how to evaluate foods. Assessing foods goes much deeper than calorie counting and avoiding carbohydrates and fats, it’s about nutrient density and avoiding food products that have been adulterated by problematic additives.
The learning process often requires people to ditch or reframe the outdated beliefs that they’ve learned about healthy foods. Then they can move on to developing a foundation of healthy eating.
Reading reliable articles about health and nutrition is the most accessible source of knowledge. These can help you learn how to evaluate foods and choose which ones are good, better, and best for you. For you, your choices may rely on avoiding hidden allergens, eating enough of each Eating for Health food group, or comparing meat/poultry/fish based on their feed and medication history.
Unfortunately, many popular sources of nutrition information will use scare tactics that get people afraid of reasonably healthy foods. Also terrible are the conventional guidelines that tell everyone to eat the same way even though that diet still guides people to health issues. I don’t like how difficult it is for people to sort through information so I aggregate health information that you can rely on using Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Now add in mindfulness by being conscious about what foods we’re eating. Mindfulness is about breaking down thoughtless eating habits that are leading to health problems and make space for conscious choice. You might be surprised how many daily choices we have when it comes to food.
My Inner Child Wants Cake
The second hardest part of eating healthy is saying no to ourselves.
Our physiology drives our behavior, and food products are designed to take advantage of this. We must learn to notice when our inner child is whining for sweet, salty, or fatty food products that manipulate our physiology to give us sugar highs, false energy, and dopamine spikes. The inner child eats to satisfy cravings and care for emotional distress, so they love physiologically manipulative food products.
Since industrialization, commodity food products dominate our diets. Unlike whole, unprocessed foods, these manufactured and designed products purposefully excite our brains to get us to consume more. This aspect of food products appeals to our inner child who eats for pleasure.
It’s inevitable. Our inner child will misguide our eating choices. We have to get used to saying no when this inner child wants us to eat foods that harm our health just like parents have to say no to their children from time to time.
This self-development process also requires mindfulness around eating. Pay attention to WHY you’re eating. Are you hungry or are you eating the food because your inner child wants the pleasure of eating something sugary, salty, or fatty? With mindfulness, you can begin to see how often your inner child impacts your habits and choices.
These two aspects are major barriers to healthy eating. I continue to address these with mindfulness which is part of my lifestyle in nutrition.
If you’re ready to overcome these barriers, call me at 303-816-3713 to see how we can work together and form a health plan that works for you!