Healthy eating can keep you physically thin, mentally sharp and brimming with more energy than a caffeine-overdosed energizer bunny. But … There aren't many people who do it consistently … even though they want to. Okay, so if everyone wants to eat healthy, how come we're all doing such a lousy job of it? It's because we eat without really thinking about it. Everyone does it. Snacking on chips as we talk with friends, taking a bite of fresh sliced tomato off the cutting board, finishing the potatoes just because they're on our plate. "Mindless eating" happens because we eat things without consciously deciding whether we should. Exactly what you eat is the goal of billions of dollars in marketing, and mostly what's marketed is not good food.
Are you susceptible? Of course! You're subjected hundreds of times a day to TV and radio, billboards, print ads and restaurant signs convincing you to eat food you really don't want to. It's in the shows and movies we watch, it's posted to our Facebook pages. We exchange it in games we play. "Here, have a burger. Your friend sent you candy. A Yummy cupcake. You'll love this frapa-capa-lapa-chino."
You don't have to pay attention or believe what you're being told for it to worm its way into your subconscious. People are spending money to tell you what you like because it works for them.
Temptation can sometimes intrude … To tempt you away from healthy food
Also, you're faced with "Eat this!" cues all the time you're around people. When do you get together with your friends when someone ISN'T holding a Starbucks cup or sipping on a Big Gulp. Then someone's offering everyone breath mints. The message that you should be eating something that's not good for you is everywhere.
You know what the risks are from eating badly: obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental confusion, mood disorders … and every day it seems like more illnesses are linked to unhealthy eating. How you eat – clearly it's a matter of life and death.
What's the answer? The techniques that people use to convince you to prefer bad food, you can use on yourself. And that way you will come to prefer healthy food, healthy recipes and healthy snacks. You already know these methods work – they are the reason you're eating food you don't want to be eating.
Look, you're not going to make a permanent change in the way you eat if it requires you to give up what you like most and to scrutinize what you eat every time you eat – or worse yet to measure, or look up, or record … Come on! Let's be real! In the long run, if you don't enjoy doing something you won't do it. Liking healthy food is the only thing that will work forever.
What is this healthy eating thing going to get you? Well for starters, a longer, healthier more productive life. In some cases, you can relieve symptoms from long term illness or even AVOID CHRONIC ILLNESS by eating well. You can have more energy to do the things you want to do. You can get closer to your body's ideal weight. You can be more active, more positive, and more dependable. You can be there to support the ones who need you, to play with your grandkids, to enjoy your retirement.
A healthy diet will help you find … That most elusive peace of mind
And beyond physical health that eating healthfully will bring you, there's a huge psychological benefit. That's because you will see every day how you overcame something that at one time seemed difficult or impossible. You'll have a daily infusion of self-confidence from recognizing your own ability to set goals and achieve them. You'll come to appreciate just how potent you are.
Maybe you've given up on ever finding a diet that will work for you. I want you to know that you can make a change starting today that can help you eat move to a healthy diet permanently. So whether you want a healthy eating plan for losing weight or just for your long term health, it's something you can do.
We need to counteract the deluge of bad eating cues that we are bombarded with and replace them with our own internal cues to eat well. It's easier to eat the things you like. So choosing to like good food makes it easier to eat good food. And the situations and techniques that got you into the habit of eating badly are going to be the ones to bring you back to healthful eating.
You don't need to become an expert on nutrition. You don't have to exert enormous willpower. Here's a place to start. Decide what your favorite leafy green vegetable is, the favorite way you like carrots prepared, and your favorite kind of salad. Be really specific, visualize them, and write them down.
- "I'll take my broccoli lightly steamed with lemon and butter."
- "I can't resist shredded carrots with orange blossom flavoring"
- "I like a spinach salad with dried cranberries and feta cheese."
By naming your favorites, it's going to make it easier to choose them when you see them on a menu or when you see them in a grocery store. It's the same idea the fast food marketers use against your interest – to make you think, "Gotta have that!" Only now, your "Gotta haves," can be good for you.
Go ahead. Decide what your favorites are. If you just do it, you'll surprise yourself at how big an effect such a seemingly simple thing can do to help you to eat healthy.