According to a 2012 study, majority Americans consider filling out their tax records easier than figuring out how to eat healthy. An average American drinks about 45 gallons of soda every year. This is a far cry from eating healthy.
Eating healthy means to eat enough, but it also means eating the type of food which fulfills our body’s nutritional demand. However, eating healthy is far from an unrealistic diet that flies us down on the edge of starvation.
That is not a healthy diet, nor is a diet filled with junk food high in saturated fat day and night. With our daily responsibilities weighing down on us, we forget to take care of our bodies, which help us get through the day. We must understand that a human body is like a machine, it requires the best diet to give its best and that is possible with healthy eating only.
And in order to learn how to eat healthy, we must first be aware of why we eat unhealthy junk foods and then we can find the best approach to start eating healthy after bypassing the unhealthy route.
Why Do We Crave Junk Food?
Nowadays, junk food has been prevailing in the eating compartment. With its popularity reaching far ends of the globe, junk food has become a staple for many. Be it savory or sweet, burgers or a bar of chocolate, junk food comes in all shapes and sizes as replacement for healthy eating.
Some argue that it is the ease of eating an already prepared processed food instead of going through a kitchen hassle that makes us pull out our napkins.
In this era, draped in lack of time, we as people try our best to get everything done in a quick moment. This necessary yet unnecessary habit leads us to a path of self-negligence. Others might say it is the inescapable deliciousness of these fast foods which intrigues us. Comfort craving can lead to a large amount of junk food intake too.
Another reason for excessive junk food intake can be boredom eating. Many people tend to munch on something to pass time when they’re bored, and what’s better to munch on than a bar of chocolate or a pack of crisps. It is a fleeting moment of enjoyment, a fun activity to distract their minds. This habit has a lot to do with our phycology.
When we give in to these cravings and treat ourselves to a slice of cheese pizza or a stack of aromatic pancakes, our brain rewards us with a small amount of dopamine which results in immediate happiness, ensuing addiction to junk food.
But it doesnt stop at this reward. Medical studies are almsot in agreement that by avoiding healthy food choices, we increase our chances of heart disease, diabetes and even cancers.
Why Don’t We Eat Healthy?
On the contrary, healthy food is not as popular. This can be due to our unfamiliarity with what an actual healthy diet is. One doesn’t have to be a nutritionist or a dietitian to know what should be eaten to stay one healthy eating track, the internet is decorated with uncountable articles which readily provide us with vast knowledge for a healthy lifestyle.
Nonetheless, many of us who seek to eat healthily cut out our necessary calories without knowing how many calories we need to stay fit. This deprives our body of its vital nutrients; this is the very reason for the constant feeling of fatigue and mental stress for many.
Such a habit leads them to lose excess weight, hence comes forth the glorified skinny physique. Being extra thin might reach the modeling industry thresholds, but not the threshold of a healthy lifestyle.
Another explanation can be the difficulty that comes with eating healthy, the effort. People usually opt for ease. However, for healthy eating you might have to go to the store to buy the vital greens and lean meat for the diet.
Moreover, you will most likely have to cook in your kitchen as well, which folks find time-consuming and unnecessary. Hence, crowds prefer an easy meal, saving their time and energy in this fast-paced world and sacrifice a healthy choice.
The human mentality plays a strong role as a hindrance towards a healthy lifestyle as well. The most grounded drive our body has is the drive to take in all the fuel in the form of calorie it finds to endure harsh conditions.
People are instinctually headed to eat fatty, aromatic, sweet food varieties to promote survival. Our mind is hardwired to act in such a way. But such foods are loaded with trans fats, salts and unwanted sugar.
For instance, you are provided with two meals to choose from, a plate of green beans, baked potatoes, and a piece of grilled fish. Your other option would be a plate of steak, various sauces, fried chicken, baked mushrooms, and a can of soda. Your mind will instinctively rush to the latter option. This psychological effect hinders our approach to healthy food immensely.
Your Body Changes with Healthy Diet
Once you start healthy eating habit, you’ll feel good changes in your body. These changes can range from your balanced hunger to cognitive improvement. As you’ll leave the highly saturated, processed foods, you’ll see how your cholesterol and blood sugar levels will gradually reach a healthy range. A healthy body is not obese, subsequently; you’ll notice your body slimming over time but to a healthy extent.
Your blood pressure may decrease as well, such a transition will keep you distant from heart diseases and stroke. Moreover, you will discover how your moods stay stable throughout the day, a happier, lighter state of mind is expected from a wholesome healthy eating. No doubt it is an empowering practice, a motivation in life.
Eating Healthy Without Starving
Yet, there is a question left hanging in the air. How does one eat healthily without starving? It is true that a healthy diet mainly consists of five food groups. These include Fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grains, lean meat, and poultry.
Nuts and seeds are also an accumulated source of vitamins for the body. The first step to healthy eating road would be to cut back on fast food. As hard as it may seem, it is a necessary evil.
Then deep-fried foods and pastries should be tossed out of the menu as well. As an important step, stack your fridge and food cupboards with stews, soups, pasta, rice, meat, fish, and condiments such as vinegar, curry powder, spices, and herbs.
But remember to eat enough, not less. Your body must receive all the nutrition it requires, including healthy fat. Wholesome eating means giving your body all the good it wants but nothing bad.
If you adopt these healthier options, you will be eating far fewer calories every day and weight loss is a given.
Say No to Temptation
While you do all this, you might want to suppress the arising longing for junk food now and then. After all, the human brain wants what it wants. Craving is an intense desire for a certain type of food. This desire can seem to be involuntary and highly uncontrollable. Everyone experiences such cravings.
However, this yearning for unhealthy foods is typically transitory and often for processed foods that contain an abundance of sugar, salt, and saturated fatty substances.
This can disrupt one’s efforts to follow a healthy diet. These cravings are seemingly out of nowhere. For instance, seeing a billboard of a pizza advertisement might trigger a craving for pizza and change your route to the nearest pizza place.
Don’t leave yourself starving, it will make it all the more difficult to stay away from fast food and sugary drinks. You must also remember to keep yourself hydrated, for sometimes our brain decodes thirst as hunger, which may lead to more hungering. Keep your water bottle at hand.
Protein intake is known to leave our stomachs feeling fuller for a longer period; this reduces the chances of overeating. Eat more protein-enriched foods, such as poultry, eggs, and beans. You must also plan your meals. When our meals are already decided for the day, we don’t end up dwelling on thoughts of having a little junk food here and there.
Last but not least, don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. All those shiny isles with every junk food you can think of might attract you more than you expect it to. You might end up with a large pack of potato crisp, a can of soda, or a bag of highly sweet marshmallows in your cart. These foods not only appeal to your eye but also to your mind.
How to Restart If You Stray
Sometimes we stray from this path of righteous eating, which is perfectly normal. However, this infidelity to our healthy eating diet plan might de-motivate us to such an extent that we might find it rather difficult to get back to our menu.
A sense of guilt stops us from adorning a healthy lifestyle again. Yes, our mind takes over sometimes, but this is not a cause to fret over. Simple start over again, but little by little.
First re-consider your agenda, why did you want to eat healthy in the first place? Was it for a happy mind? Was it for glowing skin or a longer life? Whatever your reason may be, embrace it. Of course, it might be hard to jump right into the vortex of a good diet. It’s best to start slowly, gradually make your way upwards to the paragon of healthy eating.
Start by reducing junk food slowly, but effectively. Make a plan. Check what your diet is lacking, what is keeping you from reaching your goal, from progressing? Are you eating an increasing amount of junk food?
Make sure your body is getting all of its nutrients from your diet, don’t deprive yourself. Healthy eating doesn’t mean you should be starving, as it will only lead to more yearning for processed meals.
Spend more time cooking at home, research new recipes, and give them a try on your stove. Re-clean your fridge and cupboards; clear them of potential junk food. You might also want to start reducing the amount of salt, sugar, and oil from your meals, slide your meals step by step to your exemplary good meal. Cut back on alcohol consumption, and keep yourself hydrated.
Your body will soon start responding to your wholesome healthy eating habits as it will adapt to a healthy lifestyle once more. Stay motivated and make sure you’re progressing, while perfection can come later. And don’t forget to include physical activity in you routine. A moving body is a healthy body.