The benefits of good nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight are obvious. No need to provide another list.
With so many good reasons to eat a healthy diet, why is it so hard to do?
Hint: Answer not more willpower or more motivation.
One of the main reasons for eating a healthy diet is difficult because JUNK FOOD is DELICIOUS (+ widely available + inexpensive).
Steven Wheatley (Steven Witherly) is a food scientist who has spent the last 20 years studying what makes certain foods more exciting (and tasty) than others. Most of this science derives from its brilliant report, Why do people love junk foodAccording to Witherly, when you eat delicious food, there are two factors that make this process enjoyable.
First, there is the feeling of eating food. This includes what it looks like (salty, sweet, umami, etc.), what it smells like and how it feels in the mouth.
Food companies will spend millions of dollars to find the most satisfactory level of crunch in a potato chip. Their scientists will check the ideal amount of burnout in soda. All of these factors combine to create the feeling that your brain is associated with a particular food or drink.
The second factor is the actual macronutrient composition of the food – a mixture of proteins, fats and carbohydrates that it contains. In the case of junk food, food manufacturers are looking for the perfect combination of salt, sugar and fat, which excites your brain and makes you return to more.
The more junk food you eat, the more you crave it.
So, how do you build the habit of eating less garbage? How do you become healthy eater?
Here are two simple strategies.
1. Reduce the exposure. Remove replicas.
The easiest way to become a healthy eater is to avoid buying processed and packaged foods altogether.
If you do not own it, you can not eat it.
The first driver to change behavior is your environment.
Your environment has an incredible ability to shape your behavior. Nowhere is it like eating. What we eat on a daily basis is often the result of what we represent.
You can also reduce your exposure (or triggers, which often lead to desire), controlling what you see on social networks.
If your Instagram feed is torn with cupcakes, you'll crave cupcakes every time you see it.
The average person spends more than two hours a day in social networks. This is a lot of cupcakes.
Full disclosure: I recently canceled a subscription to a local French pasta store, because MACARONS !!!
I have no superhuman willpower, or infinite reserves of motivation. What am I do there is an environment designed for success.
The best way to dissuade an undesirable (“bad”) habit is make it invisible and / or difficult.
Reduce the exposure. Remove replicas. Increase the number of steps between you and the "bad" habit. Limit the selection.
- Do not put ice cream in the basket. Not even go down the aisle ice cream.
- Put half of your meal in the box right away and close it.
- Get decadent french macaroni from your Instagram feed.
- Prepare snacks in the back of the shelf where you need a chair.
- Wrap unhealthy foods in aluminum foil and healthy foods in plastic packaging.
- Put fruit (and other healthy snacks) on the display.
- Repack unhealthy snacks in small bags or Ziploc containers.
- Use a small plate, so getting seconds means you have to get up.
# 2 Never eat two unhealthy meals in a row.
Flexible healthy diet means getting discounts on unhealthy food from time to time. I'm a jersey girl. I love pizza and bagels and good eggplant parmesan.
I'm not the perfect eater. I don't want to be a great eater. Delicious food brings me joy when it is eaten in moderation.
I have a simple rule that I try to do: when I eat unhealthy food, I follow her healthy.
The “never miss twice” rule helps guide me to a healthy diet as quickly as possible.
To fall. Get up
You can take the same approach to almost anything in life. If you want to make unwanted behavior more complex, increase the number of steps between you and the behavior.
Meanwhile, if you want to make good behavior easier, reduce the number of steps between you and the behavior. For example, if you want to make it easier to go for a walk, lay out your shoes and stroller the night before. Another step between you and your workout.
People who are experts in what you want to do / be / do not achieve are not the strength of will and motivation of unicorns.
They simply developed their environment in such a way as to meet their goals and developed habits that give them the results they want.
If in my pantry there lived five flavors of potato chips, I would have eaten ALL CHIPS.
I have no junk food resisting superpowers.
I have less traction because I rarely eat junk food.
Over the years I have been creating healthy habits on autopilot.
My environment supports my goals.
I use applications, tools and services that make life a healthy lifestyle easier.
If my husband buys cookies, they go to the basement – or to his office.
You can do it too. Superpower is not needed.
XO ~ Robyn
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