How To Make Your Diet Work – Are poor food choices and yet another fad diet leading you to unhealthy obsessions?
Research conducted by Roy Morgan showed that almost three in four New Zealanders doesn’t eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Only around one in three Kiwi women and one in five men eat three or more serves of vegetables and two or more serves of fruit each day, the amount recommended by the New Zealand Ministry of Health.
The repercussions are serious, given poor nutrition is one of the key risk factors for chronic illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, some cancers and diabetes. Weight gain is also a major concern, with the latest data from the ministry showing that almost one in three adults (aged 15 years and over) are obese and a further 35 per cent of adults are overweight. Adults living in deprived areas were 1.7 times more likely to being obese than adults living in the least deprived areas. So how you do make dieting actually work?
Don’t beat yourself up over eating the foods you enjoy, and avoid subscribing to the latest fad diet and hoping for good results. Instead, try taking a more holistic approach to eating, treating your relationship with food like any other long-term pairing.
We need to give respect in order to receive it. When it comes to food, this means appreciating its ability to keep us alive and healthy, as well as setting aside time to enjoy it. With this in mind, get out of the habit of eating lunch at your desk and spend less time with foods that don’t respect you, whether they leave you bloated, lethargic or pick away at your self-esteem.
Nothing causes disagreements and frustration like the halves of a partnership moving in different directions. If you want to feel good and look great, that king-sized muffin you have every morning at 11am isn’t going to help get you there. This doesn’t mean you can’t have it – in fact, Dietitian and nutritionist Rachel Jeffery si adamant you should eat the things you love – just not at the expense of starving your body of the nutrients it needs. If you are having the muffin, enjoy its effects on your endorphins, but think about what your next meal can help you achieve. For example, try salmon to stimulate brain function, peanut butter for a tasty energy boost, or a handful of strawberries to give your immune system some support.
We have a tendency to be less than honest when it comes to assessing our food intake, whether through deliberate omissions or convincing self-deceptions. While this may save us face or protect our pride in the short-term, it doesn’t help us in the long run. If you want to make changes to the way you eat, make honesty a priority. As well as gaining better insight into any problematic attitudes or behaviours, you’ll enjoy the benefits associated with making a habit of telling the truth, including reduced stress, elevated mood and fewer physical health complaints.
Many of us have lost the ability to trust ourselves when it comes to eating, assuming we’re going to make poor choices or binge eat all the time if we don’t have a set of rules to follow. According to Patrick, that doesn’t tend to happen. “Once you start learning all food is allowed, nothing is banned and you can eat as much or as little as you like of something, it’s amazing how your body starts telling you what you need. Often, you won’t feel like a chocolate anymore – you’ll actually want a plate of vegetables and so on.” It can be scary, but trusting our bodies is one of the best ways to achieve a sustainable, positive change.
Pleasure is an important part of any relationship and should never be overlooked when it comes to what’s on your plate. Embrace the foods you enjoy rather than avoid them. Rediscover the joy in cooking, celebrate special occasions, and share regular mealtimes with loved ones. The fact is, when we allow ourselves to be mindful of and enjoy what we’re eating, we’re often more satisfied much sooner.