Do you ever find yourself trapped in a shame spiral because you ate after 6 pm? Or do you believe that you have to run the next day to ‘burn off’ a burger you just ate? If this seems familiar, you may need to develop a new mindset around food.
Eating healthy is essential for overall well-being, both physically and mentally. However, in some cases, it can lead to developing unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior. Today, there are a huge number of rules, musts and shoulds when it comes to eating, which may create anxiety and frustration. If you’re working toward a healthier eating routine, avoid these mistakes on your journey:
You label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’
No food is purely angel or devil. There are some foods with a high nutritional value and some with a lower one, and a balanced diet includes both. If you tend to think a certain kind of food is bad, you will tend to feel that you’re a bad person when you eat that food. As a result, you fall into feelings of shame and guilt because you had a meal you enjoyed. The key point is that although pasta isn’t the cornerstone of a healthy diet, one portion from time to time won’t ruin your overall health.
You think you need to burn off something you ate
The belief that you need more exercise because you’ve eaten too much leads to a reward-punishment mindset. This gives you the sense that exercise is a punishment and food is a reward. So you may find yourself in a cycle of overeating, compensating with exercise, and overeating again. Instead of being harsh towards yourself, give your body time to digest when you overeat. You’ll probably feel less hungry at your later mealtimes and naturally arrive at your own balance.
You compare your eating habits with others
Every person has a unique body and consequently different nutritional needs. What works for your friend may not work for you. For instance, s/he may gain great benefits from a ketogenic diet, but you may only feel tired when you try it out. Or you may have an active job so you need different amounts of calories than your cousin who sits behind the desk all day. Remember that there is no perfect diet. An ideal diet is a sustainable one that fits your personality and lifestyle.
Instead, be flexible
Instead of setting strict rules, build yourself a flexible path. Rules bring a desire to break them while being flexible helps you construct sustainable habits. Remember that you eat healthy to nourish your body, so if it becomes a source of stress your body won’t get enough benefit from that healthy food.