Elly McGuinness looks at some reasons why healthy food choices are overrated.
The importance of consuming nutrient-dense food has been well documented as essential to a healthy lifestyle. There is no shortage of information on what to eat and when to eat, and there are certainly some polarising views on the topic, which can make decisions confusing for the average consumer. I think it’s hugely important to eat a nourishing diet, high in essential vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, good fats, and all the rest! However, there is often an overloaded focus on diets or ways of eating with little attention given to the reasons why it may be difficult for you to make changes. I hear a lot of superficial advice around this such as “your health will suffer if you don’t” or “if you make changes you’ll have more energy”. These are well-meaning pieces of advice, but
they don’t often help a person to take action or create sustainable change. You are probably aware that foods such as vegetables and fruits are crucial to a healthy
nutrition intake but for some reason or another can find it difficult to put your knowledge into practice. It’s time to consider your needs holistically and start exploring some of the things that might be stopping you from making healthier nutrition choices.
If you are not sleeping well it will be highly likely that your body will cry out for quick-fix solutions to help you feel better in the short term. These usually come in the form of highly processed carbohydrate/sugar rich foods, caffeine, etc. It is very difficult to ask you to change your nutrition habits if you are not sleeping well – fix the sleep and the nutrition becomes a lot easier to tackle.
This one is closely related to point one because it is the reason that many people are unable to sleep well. Lack of sleep can increase stress and too much stress can result in a lack of sleep. Looking at stress reduction techniques is essential for many people. Healthy nutrition choices can follow.
Sometimes long-held beliefs can hold you back from making positive nutrition choices. For example, you might have the belief that you need to eat all the food on your plate because that’s what your mother has told you from a very young age. Explore your beliefs and subsequent attitude towards food with a holistic health coach, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), or emotional freedom technique (EFT) practitioner. They can help you work out your personal ‘why’ for improving your health, and identify the strong emotional drivers to help you change.
Identify whether there are people in your life who are holding you back. Perhaps your family like to order takeout pizza, which is really difficult to resist when the delicious aromas waft through the house. Or maybe your workplace offers a morning tea shout each day, which is full of cakes and pastries? In these cases, you may benefit from developing strategies to work around these situations – ask a professional if you need help. Identify if any of the above areas need attention or you and first consider addressing the one that stands out for you, rather than first obsessing over what you ‘should’ be eating.