Eating better is not an easy task, but HSN is going to give you some tips so that you can put in practice and obtain greater benefits
The way we eat is conditioned by a compendium of factors which, for the sake of redundancy, are difficult to modify. Difficult, but not impossible.
I am talking about:
- Education (how you have been taught to eat)
- Knowledge (what you think is healthy or appropriate)
- Possibilities (what allows you to pay your rent)
- Time (what gives you time to shop and cook),
- Society (what is the way to eat in your society),
- Habits (acquired over the years), or
- Psychosocial conditions (such as anxiety or depression, which greatly condition eating).
1. The act of buying makes the difference
Eating badly or eating well always starts in the shop
We are making, in a few minutes, hundreds of decisions.
The worst: most of them are unconscious.
The key point here is planning. Having a pre-thought-out shopping list won’t stop you from buying unhealthy food, but it will certainly minimise the chances of that happening.
As a general rule of thumb I would develop the habit of not buying anything without a shopping list. That is, eliminate improvisation from the act of shopping.
In this way we would be eliminating instantly habits like:
- “My boy likes these biscuits, I’m going to take them. He’s running around all day anyway.”
- The half price box of Donuts sold to you in a box
- The offer of second unit free of charge on litre beer
And many more…
You have to go into a supermarket with the same mentality as when you go into a shop: they are going to try to get you to buy at all costs. Get it? Losing control is very easy.
2. Recognising what is not food is crucial
One of the main problems is that we feed on products and not on foods
Children no longer recognize where fish, meat, eggs or bread come from. “From the supermarket, they will tell you.
As much criticism as you can take away (and what you have left) the “Realfooding” movement or Real Food (Real Food) was quite necessary. We were reaching a point of total confusion where people could not distinguish what is food and what is not.
So, despite the thousand nuances that the movement needs, it is something that is entirely positive in terms of raising awareness among the untrained and uninformed population about what food is and what are edible products. There is a huge difference.
And what has the Realfooding movement achieved? One word: educating
After all, we are talking about nutritional education. Something they don’t do in primary or secondary schools. Something that was stopped a long time ago in household kitchens.
3. The key question: why do I eat?
If we manage to answer this question reliably, we have a lot to gain
But it is not easy. It takes introspection. Detailed analysis of your feelings. Stop listening to your head for a minute and feel. People don’t know how they feel.
People act on how they feel, but they don’t know how they feel.
Almost any ‘negative’ emotion can induce you to eat. Food is the most socially accepted drug. Much more than alcohol. Much more than tobacco. Much more than any other. In children, it is the only accepted “drug”. You can eat because of…
- To find a little pleasure in your life.
For a thousand different situations…
Realising this is the challenge. Raising awareness is the challenge.
4. Set clear, achievable and non-cooperative limits
Set rules in your life, “gamify” it to some extent
This can be a double-edged sword, and in sensitive populations (which are often what they already eat quite well) it can lead to ‘choking’ behaviour. But if you have common sense it can be a useful tool. Some examples of limits might be:
- Maximum one lunch outing per week
- Maximum 2 beers per week (if I have just drunk 5), or 1 (if I have just drunk 3).
- No more than 48 hours in a row without training for at least 30 minutes
- No more than 90 minutes sitting
And needless to say, in every house and in every person, the recommendations will be (VERY) different. Find out how to make your day-to-day life more varied. As you meet your self-imposed goals you will be telling yourself a very important message:
“You can do what you set out to do”
And this generates confidence
5. Put more awareness into the act of eating
Derived from the above points, especially the third one, we have here the direct recommendation to be more aware before, during and even after the act of eating
- What is awareness raising?
- Do I have to become a Buddhist monk?
- Do I have to pray to a mandala?
I see it that way. The act of eating is a sacred act. You don’t have to practice any religion to realise that. It is a sacred act because of what it implies: it allows you to stay alive and healthy. For those who cannot enjoy it often.
Because it necessarily reflects the work of many people (have you ever stopped to think how many people it takes for you to have a plate of food on your table every day? – Fishermen, farmers, stockbreeders, transporters, vendors, etc.).
But above all, because your health depends to a great extent on your daily food decisions
Increase your awareness during the meal. Stay present and in touch with yourself. Avoid distractions. Avoid mobiles. Avoid television.
Eating better does not depend solely on the individual and his or her decisions
Political, social and even geographical constraints have contributed and will continue to contribute to making people eat better or worse.
If for a moment we put aside these constraints, which cannot be changed in the short term (but can be in the medium or long term) and focus on the day-to-day, on what we can do in our homes and supermarkets on a daily basis, then there are actions to be taken.
We’ll read about it in the next post. Let’s keep on empowering!
- Why is it necessary to have healthy habits from childhood?
- Have you asked yourself why kids don’t do exercise? Click here to see the response.