A pillar is a structural support and on your journey to optimal physical and mental health, you need several pillars to give you the structure and support you need. Being healthy requires several factors such as:
The last one may be the most important of all. What we eat has the power to change everything to the better, or if your diet is filled with processed junk food, for the worse.
Develop a healthy attitude towards food by looking at it as a way of fueling our bodies, instead of something to be craved and worshipped, will lessen the power food has over you.
Follow these 5 pillars to adopt a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle and enjoy a positive relationship with food.
1. Go Whole!
Eliminate processed and junk food from your diet and choose whole foods with every meal and snack. Whole food is unprocessed and eaten in its natural state, it is highly nutrient dense and should be the center of every meal. Decrease the amounts of salt, oils and unhealthy fats, and sugars in each meal, or avoid using them altogether by replacing them with healthier substitutes.
2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Too much or too little of anything is not healthy, even with foods that are good for you. Moderation is what’s important. Keeping a food diary helps you be mindful of what types of food you usually eat. Then, after a week you’ll be able to recognize which foods keep you full longer and which foods spike up your blood sugar levels, leaving you sluggish and unable to focus.
3. Food is nutrition
Everything we eat provides us with some form of nutrition, depending on its nutrient composition and the amount consumed. Looking at food as a way to fuel our bodies and minds, rather as just something that fills our stomachs, will give you more clarity. It will also allow you to start respecting your body, and, hence, what you put into it.
4. Stop Counting
You are not just a series of calories, nutritional values or a number on a scale. You are so much more than that. Learn to value yourself and boost your self-esteem by establishing healthy eating habits. Instead of beating yourself up for eating something you feel you shouldn’t have, adopt the following attitude: ‘Today, I paid attention to what my body needed so I ate when I felt hungry and stopped before I felt completely full. I had a healthy lunch then followed it with a couple of cookies and a glass of milk for desert.’
5. Love your Fat
Fat is an essential macronutrient which we can’t live without, the key is choosing the right fats in the right amounts. Whole foods like nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil are all great fat choices.
6. Say Bye To Diets
To enjoy a healthy lifestyle, you have to be smart about the choices you make. Don’t follow a ‘diet’ for several weeks, only to regain the weight you lost, instead choose to follow a clean eating lifestyle, not another diet.
7. Make A Good Start
Start each meal with foods lowest in calories which will make you eat less of foods higher in calories. Salads, soups and fruit are all good choices.
8.Eat from the 5 Major Food Groups
• Lean meats: poultry, beans, fish, eggs, tofu, seeds and nuts
A well-balanced lifestyle means eating from a variety of whole foods from each group.
9. Be mindful of each bite. Eating in a rush usually means we end up eating far more than we should. So, focus on your food, how it tastes, how it smells, and how it makes you feel.
10. Enjoy it! Revel in healthy eating, be aware of how good it feels to treat your body right and fill it only with real, whole and highly nutritious food.