Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fasting Diet
Fasting is something that’s played a key role in virtually all of the world’s major religions and dates back millions of years. Today, though, while fasting is still observed for many religious purposes, it’s become a new lifestyle that helps individuals lose weight, have more energy, and fight disease.
While fasting isn’t a new concept, intermittent fasting is something that has emerged in the past few years. It has gained popularity due to the incredible benefits it offers against signs of aging and disease.
Keep reading to learn about intermittent fasting and why this may want to be a lifestyle change you make.
Understanding Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a process that involves cycling in and out of periods where you eat and don’t eat. While people do experience (often significant) weight loss with this eating schedule, it’s not as much of a diet plan as it is a lifestyle choice that provides a wide array of health benefits.
There are several methods used with intermittent fasting. These include:
The 5:2 Method
This is the method that allows you to eat normally for five days a week. The two days after are for fasting, but you still eat. The goal is to keep calorie intake on this day between 500 and 600.
The Eat-Stop-Eat Method
This method is a bit different. With this, you restrict all food for a period of 24 hours. This is repeated two to three times per week.
The 16/8 Method
Here, you consume all your daily calories within a shortened period of time. In most cases, you eat in a period of six to eight hours.
The remaining 14 to 16 hours during the day, you fast. This is the method that can be done daily, or several times a week.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
When you switch to intermittent fasting, it will expand your limits while boosting your performance in several ways. Some of the specific benefits offered by this way of eating include:
- Increase energy
- Reduce bad cholesterol
- Protect against various neurodegenerative diseases
- Boost weight loss
- Promote longevity
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Promote cellular repair
As you can see, the benefits are vast. As a result, this may be something you should consider trying.
Tips to Make the Most of Intermittent Fasting
While not eating for specific amounts of time alone offers health benefits, if you want to make the most of this lifestyle choice, there are a few other tips you need to use.
It can’t be a free-for-all when you do eat, as this is going to negate many of the benefits this way of eating offers. Some additional tips include:
- Avoid refined grains and sugars (choose low-carb snacks when possible)
- Don’t snack between meals
- Remain active
- Avoid snacking or eating in the evening and at night
By using these tips, the results of your intermittent fasting will be much more evident.
Be Healthier and Happier with Intermittent Fasting
As you can see, there are several options to consider if you are interested in intermittent fasting. As a result, you aren’t going to feel as deprived or hungry while following this way of eating.
Do you want to make a change to be healthier and happier? If so, let us help! Visit the 21 Day Transformation Challenge to learn more.
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By Midwestern Technology — 2 years ago
Tools of the Trade: 15 Must-Have Gym Accessories You Should Keep in Your Gym Bag
Are you just getting started in fitness? At least the kind of fitness that involves going to the gym or working with a trainer?
A lot of people never start because they feel intimidated. They feel like there’s a workout learning curve and they don’t want to feel silly. First of all – everyone looks silly at first and second, that’s why you need a plan from respected trainers.
Once you get past the anxiety, you learn that there are gym accessories you need as well. But don’t worry about figuring out what they are. We have thirteen essentials for you to throw in your bag below.
1. Gym Bag Dividers
If you’re the kind of person who gets serious at the gym: like changes and showers out of their sweaty clothes after, then you need dividers or at least a gym bag with good pockets.
You don’t want to be standing in the locker room hot and sweaty trying to find all the things you need to take to the shower. Instead, they should be in some sort of shower-friendly bag/kit.
Look for materials made out of mesh or netting, so if they get wet, the water can escape and dry. If they do get wet, wrap them in your used towel on your way home.
The towel will soak up any water and it won’t get anything else in your bag wet.
Dividers or pockets are also great for shoes so that the dirty bottoms don’t touch your other clothes. Ideally, you’ll have gym shoes that you only wear in the gym – but there are germs indoor too.
Yes, this one seems like a no brainer, but we all know that person in the gym that forgets it. You should have a separate deodorant that only lives in your gym bag.
When you use it, put it right back in its little pocket. This way, you’ll never be without.
But having deodorant on hand has another, less known use. If you forgot your chafe cream or you’re starting to rub a blister, you can glide deodorant on.
For a blister-to-be, the best solution is duct tape. But aside from that, you can rub some deodorant on the skin (under your sock) where you’re getting rubbed.
Some people like to rub deodorant on the outside of the sock over the spot, but that’s your choice.
If this happens to you a lot or you’re a bigger person (you’re welcome here), look into Body Glide. It’s a product made to prevent skin-on-skin chafing.
3. Hair Accessories
As long as you have hair, this point is for you. Whether that means a hairbrush, a comb, or both and some hair ties.
Being without a hair tie at the gym with long hair is only second to forgetting your headphones. A good trick to make sure you never forget them is to loop some around your water bottle.
Or, keep them around the base of your hairbrush. That way you’ll have them at hand. You can also throw in bobby pins, dry shampoo, and headbands if you’d like.
For shorter hair, don’t forget any styling products like gels.
4. Arnica Gel or Icy Hot
It happens to everyone — even us. You step wrong or you over-lift and you already know you’ll be hurting tomorrow. Prep yourself and decrease the inflammation with some pain-relief gel.
Some people like the sensation of Tiger Balm or Icy Hot — while others hate it. If you don’t want to tingle into tomorrow, try Arnica gel. It’s a natural remedy for soreness (and bruises).
5. Cleansing Wipes
In a perfect world, you should have time to shower after a workout. But we don’t live in that perfect world — do you? Many of us have to run off to another thing, lucky if we have time to change clothes.
Working out at home can help with the rush factor, but still, you shouldn’t run around all sweaty and smelly. Throw both some face wipes and baby wipes in your gym bag.
Neutrogena has a great product for this use, their Grapefruit Cleansing Wipes. We love the smell and their effectiveness. The wipes have cleansers in them, so they shouldn’t be used on sensitive body parts.
One of the most important places to wipe down (if you can’t shower) after a workout, is your crotch. A soggy crotch creates a perfect environment for bacteria.
That’s why our next item is on the list.
The baby wipes are perfect of wiping down those more sensitive areas and you can use them for all sorts of things too. Spill some protein powder in your bag? Now you have what you need to wipe it up.
6. Fresh Underwear
Yes, we said it. You should never, ever, stay in the same pants and underpants you just worked out in.
The yoga pants-type material most workout bottoms come in don’t breathe. That means whatever sweat that gathers there during your workout, stays there.
If you don’t change your underwear after a workout, you’re more likely to get both yeast infections and UTI’s.
Even if you didn’t bring a whole new outfit, make sure you stash a few pairs of clean underwear in your bag in case you forget.
And men – it’s not likely you’ll get those annoying conditions, but it’s still more sanitary to change after.
7. A Shaker Bottle
The two tips that follow this one aren’t any good on their own. You can “dry scoop” your pre-workout, but it’s not good for your taste buds (or lungs).
So, you want to make sure you have a good shaker bottle. The brand name Shaker Bottle came out around 2010. It has a little round ball in it which breaks up clumps of powder in liquid.
But there are other brands as well. The hurricane cup is a great one, as are bottles that have screens and shaker balls combined. You can find these at any large store near you.
Or check online if that’s more your jam.
If you do both pre and post workout drinks, look for a bottle that has a powder container. They usually screw on the bottom of the cup.
That way you can mix your pre or post workout fresh once you get to the gym.
8. Pre-Workout Powder or Drink
There’s one thing a lot of people don’t realize they need when working out – pre-workout. Pre-workout is a powder made of proteins, vitamins and some caffeine – all things that help you blast through your reps.
Right now, BANG is the big name in pre-workout, but it changes every couple of months. People like BANG because it’s low carb, which is great for people following the keto diet.
When you’re looking for pre-workout, make sure you read reviews online first. Some brands put too much caffeine and people note feeling jittery and anxious, not motivated to get through their workout.
If you’re jumping out of bed and running to the gym bright eyed and bushy tailed, then you can skip this. But if you’re trying to get through a workout after work and you’re already tired, try pre-workout.
The difference in your energy will surprise you.
9. Some Form of Protein (Post-Workout)
You need to eat protein within 20 minutes of finishing your workout. That’s what your muscles and your body needs to “lock in” the muscles you just built.
And yes, even if you’re not lifting large amounts, this applies to you too.
A lot of people take protein powder to the gym or keep it in their car for their way home, but that’s not the only option.
You can throw some almonds or pre-packed snacks full of protein in your bag as well.
Along with your protein, some people like to take amino acids after they workout. They find that they’re less sore the next day, so they can go just as hard as they did the day before.
You can look for those as post-workout or recovery drinks. Just make sure they have the essential amino acids in them before you buy.
10. The Right Shoes
We know that workout shoes are expensive, but think of them as a specialty item. Cross trainers are made/shaped differently than shoes meant for running.
And that’s a good thing! When you’re doing fast footwork, you don’t want shoes that have a big or tall bottom part. Why? If you move side to side in those shoes, you have more chance of rolling your ankle by stepping sideways.
Another example: runners need a lot of cushioning in their shoes. They are literally pounding the pavement after all. If you’re weight lifting, usually the gym floor (or your home carpet) is padded.
You don’t need as much cushioning as those continuously hitting the pavement.
If you use our program, look for some minimalist cross-trainers. They’re going to serve you best for the large range of exercises in our most popular programs.
11. Wireless Headphones
One of the best things about Bluetooth technology? Not having to be tied down to headphones in the gym. If you workout as hard as we do, you’re always accidentally yanking one out or the other.
And it’s annoying to feel that little bounce from the wires as you do cardio with headphones attached to your phone.
Go the route Google and Apple are already pushing people and invest in wireless headphones. The pair you choose shouldn’t have too long of a cord connecting them if there’s a cord at all.
Airbuds are the ideal solution, but they’re expensive and get lost easily.
If you don’t go the airbuds and look-alikes route, look for some that will hook over your ears. This will keep the buds in when you’re really giving those moves everything you’ve got.
And hey, when you’re done, wipe them down with a baby wipe to keep sweat and bacteria from building up on them. Good thing you already have those in your bag!
12. A Timer (or SmartWatch)
We already know that using some form of interval training is essential for burning fat. And to do interval training, you need some sort of timer.
Phones have timers, but they can be obnoxious to mess with and you can fall into looking-at-your-apps land. Instead, look for a smartwatch or fitness watch that has pre-set (or settable) timer/HIIT options.
These are also good to track your heart rate, potential calorie burn, and make sure you don’t miss an important call while your phone is in your pocket.
Fitbit is the big brand name, but there are plenty of other good options.
13. Portable Phone Charger
The worst thing that could happen (okay, at least one of them) is that your phone dies before your workout. Now not only do you not have your notes or exercises, but you don’t have any music.
Doing a hard workout without music isn’t something we’d wish on even our worst enemies.
So, make sure you’re never stuck in that position. Get a small portable charger and throw it in your bag. That way you have juice on the go.
And if you use it while you’re working out – plug it into the car jack on your way home. That way you remember to grab it and it’ll be charged next time you get out of the car.
Your Gym Accessories
Obviously, this list is going to change from person to person and from gym to gym. Maybe your gym doesn’t even have showers, so you don’t need to worry about that.
Or maybe you do all your workouts from home, in which case, there’s a different set of things you need (like hand weights).
But those are the basic gym accessories, at least according to us.
Ready to get started with your new, perfectly packed gym bag? Click here.
By Midwestern Technology — 2 years ago
The Most Important Meal of the Day: 10 Delicious Low-Cal Breakfast Ideas You Need to Try
Are you one of the 43% of Americans who are actively trying to make healthier choices in their lifestyle? If you are, you also might be in the 80% of people who believe that eating a healthy diet requires you to make sacrifices.
While you might not be able to eat a daily McMuffin or indulge in bacon fat eggs loaded with cheese and a side of oily hashbrowns, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice delicious meals while also eating healthier foods.
It might sound too good to be true that you can still eat nutritious low-calorie breakfasts to help with weight loss that taste anything but low calorie.
But it can be done with a bit of meal prep and trying out different recipes that work for you and your taste preferences.
Don’t believe us? Well, get ready to be proved wrong. This list of our 10 favorite low cal breakfast ideas and recipes is going to make you a believer.
Thinking of Skipping Breakfast Altogether? Think Again
You might be thinking to yourself that it’s better to save on calories by skipping breakfast altogether. But, did you know that skipping breakfast has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity/weight gain?
There’s a reason that breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day. Scientists believe that getting those essential nutrients and energy from food in the morning is crucial to regulating your hunger throughout the day.
Think about it from your own personal experience: when you skip breakfast, aren’t you starving by lunchtime? Aren’t you more likely to overeat or overindulge on snacks or at your next meal because you’re so hungry from not eating in the morning?
Not eating breakfast can also hurt your overall energy levels and mental performance throughout the day.
You’ll feel tired, unmotivated, a lack of concentration, etc. You also won’t have the energy to exercise, which is a crucial part of a weight loss journey.
Now that we’ve hopefully convinced you to stop skipping your morning meal, let’s get into some delicious recipes you can try out without going over on your allotted calories.
1. Fruit Protein Smoothie
Not everyone has the biggest appetite in the morning, which can lead to the desire to skip breakfast. But since you now know that you shouldn’t do that, even those who can’t stomach solid foods in the morning will be able to get the right start with a fruit and protein smoothie.
Studies show that eating protein in the morning can ward off hunger pangs, keep you feeling fuller for longer, and fight off cravings you might have for not-so-healthy foods (looking at you, office donuts).
Loading your smoothies with healthy fruits adds to your daily fiber intake, which can also help keep you full until your next meal, all while staying super low in calories.
Try out this recipe:
- 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup of frozen raspberries
- 1 small container of non-fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup of milk (either skim, almond, or soy)
- 1 scoop protein powder
This will make a delicious smoothie that’s filling, nutritious, and under 300 calories!
2. Poached Egg Over Toast
Eggs are another excellent protein source to try out in the morning. They’re packed with protein, selenium, healthy fats, and healthy cholesterol. They’re also naturally low in calories: one large egg is only about 80 calories.
To avoid adding any extra unhealthy calories, don’t cook the eggs in butter or oil. You can cook it on a non-stick pan or with zero calorie spray, or you could try poaching or hard/soft boiling it.
Throw two large eggs over a piece of high-fiber multigrain toast, a little bit of hot sauce, and a cup of coffee, and you have a simple and easy low-calorie breakfast that will keep you full and focused.
3. Yogurt and Fruit Parfait
As with both protein smoothies and eggs, yogurt is a high-protein option to add to your breakfast recipe arsenal.
One study showed that people who ate yogurt throughout the week had a lower chance of being overweight or obese. The same study found these results were amplified when those people also ate diets high in fruit.
So combine the two by adding together a container of your favorite yogurt (Greek yogurt is highest in protein!) with some berries and bananas. You can also add in some healthy granola or nuts if you feel like you need to add a bit more substance to the meal.
Really want to cut down on your calories? Opt for plain yogurt with no added sugar and let the natural sugars in the fruit provide the sweetness.
4. Nut Butter, Banana, and Chia Seeds, Oh My!
This breakfast combines three “super breakfast foods” into one amazing meal.
Let’s start with bananas. Bananas are super high in fiber while also being low in calories. Fiber, as we mentioned before, can help ward off cravings and keep you feeling full for longer.
Studies also show adding fruit like bananas into your diet is strongly correlated with weight loss.
Chia seeds are also high in fiber, giving the same benefits we’ve gone over. But, they also have the unique quality of absorbancy. Chia seeds absorb liquid and expand after you consume them.
Lastly, your favorite nut butter, whether that’s peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or whatever, is going to be packed with protein and healthy fats. While nut butter is high in calories, you only need a tiny amount, so it shouldn’t overload this recipe.
Take a small amount of nut butter, spread it on a slice of toast, and top it with sliced bananas and chia seeds for the perfect balanced breakfast.
5. Apple Cinnamon Oat Bran Muffin
We bet you thought that you’d have to give up all breakfast pastries to stay low cal in the morning, didn’t you?
But these apple cinnamon oat bran muffins are only a little over 120 calories per muffin. They’re also packed with protein, glycemic controlling oatmeal and bran, and fiber.
Spread a bit of nut butter or healthy jam on these muffins as you go for a filling and delicious breakfast.
6. Loaded Veggie Omelet
Let’s give you another savory option after giving almost only sweet ones. Omelets are notorious for getting unhealthy: remember that huge plate-sized one from your favorite dinner that oozed cheese and oil?
Yeah, this isn’t that. It’s just as delicious though and probably 1000 times healthier.
- Two large eggs
- Zero calorie cooking spray
- Diced onion
- Mixed peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
- 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup spinach
All of these veggies are going to add very few calories but plenty of volume and nutrients to this meal. That combined with the eggs is going to keep you full for just around 300 calories.
First, throw the spinach into the pan to wilt. Once it’s reduced in size, add in the mushrooms and onion to cook down. Once the onions are translucent, add in the rest of the veggies and season with salt and pepper.
Lastly, add in your whisked eggs and cook everything into an omelet form. Season as you go with some salt and pepper. Dill is another great seasoning to add to eggs.
Top it off with some of your favorite hot sauce, and you have a large and filling breakfast that low in calories that also won’t make you feel gross the rest of the day like your old diner favorite probably will.
7. Sweet Potato Breakfast Burrito
This breakfast burrito is packed with food, you’ll be shocked to learn that the entire thing is only around 300 calories.
The protein comes from both egg whites and black beans. The black beans are also high in fiber, which you know by now is beneficial for low-calorie breakfasts to stay filling.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and have been shown to help regulate sugar levels. They also have healthy carbs that boost your energy and can help you burn calories in between meals. The avocado in this adds the perfect amount of creaminess along with healthy fats.
Here’s your ingredient list:
- 1 low carb whole wheat tortilla
- 1 large egg (separated white from the yolk)
- 1/2 of a sweet potato
- 2 teaspoons enchilada sauce
- Cumin, salt, and pepper to taste
- Hot sauce (optional)
- 1/4 avocado diced
- 1/4 cup of canned black beans, rinsed
Start by microwaving the sweet potato for around 5 minutes, or until it’s soft. Remove, separate the flesh from the skin, and mash in a bowl.
Next, beat your egg whites. Add to a pan over medium heat. While the eggs cook, combine your beans and all of your spices in a bowl.
Once the eggs are cooked, remove them from the pan.
Warm your tortilla, and get to burrito making! Add the eggs, potato, avocado, and bean mixture altogether. Before rolling the burrito, add in your enchilada and/or hot sauce.
This goes great with salsa and sour cream. To avoid the calories of sour cream, try plain Greek yogurt for low fat, lower calories, and a boost of protein!
8. Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes
Pancakes are another breakfast favorite you probably thought you’d never see again on a low-calorie diet. As with the muffin, you (fortunately) thought wrong!
This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction is only 122 calories per pancake. Load two of them up with strawberries, bananas, a bit of peanut butter, and a dash of maple syrup for a breakfast that feels indulgent but still is only about 300 calories.
These pancakes are also filled with excellent sources of protein and fiber. The oatmeal in it has been linked to balancing blood sugar levels, maintaining fullness, reducing appetite, and helping your cardiovascular health.
9. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich
Let’s end with a staple: the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Are you surprised to see both bacon and cheese on a list of low cal breakfast ideas?
Well, so are we. Both bacon and cheese are usually high in harmful fat and cholesterol. However, this recipe uses lean turkey bacon that’s low in fat and high in delicious protein.
It also uses fat-free cheese to keep the fat, and the calories, low while also giving you the delicious bacon cheesy goodness we all crave once in a while.
In total, this yummy and easy to make breakfast sandwich is only around 200 calories. Beef it up with a slice of avocado to add a bit more pizzazz, or keep in simple and plain with a side of berries.
Low Cal Breakfast Ideas to Start Your Day Right
No matter what type of breakfast you crave, you can find at least an idea of what you should eat right here on this list.
Sweet or savory, hot or cold, each one of these low cal breakfast ideas will provide you with key energy and nutrients you need without the excessive calories that traditional breakfasts can bring.
And with the variety you see here, perhaps it gives you a bit more confidence that you can maintain a low calorie and nutritious diet without getting bored or only eating dull and bland salads for every meal.
These meals are also quick and easy to make, so you don’t have any excuse not to try them out!
While weight loss and staying healthy doesn’t seem as quick and easy as these recipes, it can be. Try out the 21 Day Transformation Challenge to see fast results getting you closer to your dream body with each day!
Contact us with any questions or to get for more information to get started.
By Midwestern Technology — 3 years ago
10 Essential Tips For Developing A Healthy Relationship With Food
There’s no shame in being a foodie. Still, large portions or a junk food addiction can harm weight loss. Here’s to developing a healthy relationship with food.
Do you have a healthy relationship with food? Many people think that, just because they don’t struggle with an obvious eating disorder, such as anorexia or binge eating disorder, that their relationship with food is a healthy one.
In reality, though, a lot of people have issues when it comes to the food they eat.
They might be obsessed with eating clean and flinch at the sight of a doughnut. Or, they might have an aversion to anything remotely healthy and choose to eat only junk food. They might claim to eat whatever they want with no concern about the scale, only to turn around and spend hours on the treadmill working it off.
An unhealthy relationship with food can manifest itself in many different ways, and it’s not always easy to spot.
The good news, though, is that it’s never too late to turn things around.
Read on to learn more about what a healthy relationship with food looks like. You’ll also learn some important skills regarding developing a healthy relationship with food.
Why Does Your Relationship with Food Matter?
Depending on where you’re at in your health journey, you might be wondering why having a good relationship with food is so important.
First, let’s start with the facts. Approximately 71.6 percent of adults in the United States are either overweight or obese. And, at least 30 million people in the United States suffer from some kind of eating disorder.
Clearly, there are a lot of people in this country who have a hard time eating in a way that nourishes and fuels their body appropriately. They may be eating too much or eating too little, but, at the end of the day, the result is the same — a poor relationship with food.
If you have a poor relationship with food, you’re likely going to have a hard time maintaining a healthy weight.
You might go through binge and restrict cycles or fall victim to crash diets. Or, you may look physically healthy on the outside but feel bogged down on the inside by the stress associated with constantly worrying about the food you’re eating.
Before you can make lasting changes and work toward your health and fitness goals — no matter what they are — you need to make sure you’re also working on improving your relationship with food.
What Does a Healthy Relationship with Food Look Like?
It’s hard to pin down exactly what a healthy relationship with food looks like. It’s kind of like asking someone what it means to be fit. Everyone has a different definition in mind based on their past experiences.
You can’t tell, just by looking at someone, whether or not they have a healthy relationship with food. Instead, a more accurate measure is their habits and behaviors.
There may not be one definitive method for measuring a healthy relationship with food, but the following are some common, positive traits to look for.
Ask yourself honestly whether you possess at least some of these traits. If you don’t, it might be time to work on changing your relationship with food.
You Avoid Emotional Eating
You don’t eat out of sadness, loneliness, anger, or boredom. When something bad or difficult happens, you don’t turn to food for comfort.
You Can Eat Intuitively
You’re not constantly worrying about the number of calories or grams of carbohydrates in a particular food. You’re able to recognize hunger, eat what satisfies you, and stop when you’re full.
You Don’t Try to “Make Up” for Unhealthy Choices
In the event that you do indulge and consume something that isn’t technically healthy, you don’t feel the need to “undo the damage” you’ve caused.
You have a good grasp on the concept of being “cyclically fit.” You don’t try to burn off the number of calories you just ate or fast the next day to make up for your decision.
You Avoid Comparison Traps
You understand that, when it comes to food, everyone’s needs and preferences are different.
You don’t compare your body or your food choices to others’. Instead, you just focus on making decisions that make sense for yourself and your lifestyle.
You Focus on Other Things Besides Food
One trait that almost always presents itself in people with an unhealthy relationship with food is the amount of time they spend thinking about food. They’re almost always thinking about when they’re going to eat next, what they’re going to eat next, how it’s going to affect the scale, etc.
If you have a healthy relationship with food, you likely aren’t constantly planning your next meal. You see eating as a necessary part of life and you eat when you’re hungry, end of story.
You Don’t Eat Foods That Will Make You Feel Bad
In some circles, there’s a mindset that, if you avoid certain kinds of food, it’s because you have an eating disorder or an unhealthy relationship with food.
If you truly have a positive relationship with food, though, you understand and respect the fact that some foods don’t make you feel your best.
For you, this might mean avoiding sugar because you don’t like the blood sugar crash that comes with it. Or, you might avoid eating dairy because it upsets your stomach.
A truly positive relationship with food involves eating foods that make you feel good and avoiding foods that don’t, even if everyone else is eating them.
10 Tips for Developing a Healthy Relationship with Food
It’s okay if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point. It can be hard to acknowledge that your relationship with food isn’t the healthiest. It’s also easy to feel as though you’ll never be able to flip the script and make things better.
You absolutely can make a positive change in your life, though. Start by implementing these ten tips into your lifestyle to start changing the way you look at and consume food.
1. Eat Mindfully
How do you typically eat your meals?
Do you eat standing at the counter or over the sink? Do you plop down on the couch with the TV on while scrolling through Instagram, doing your best not to drop food on your phone or tablet?
Eating mindfully can help you get in touch with your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. It can also help you enjoy your meal more and feel more satiated. If you have a tendency to overeat, this is an especially great benefit.
The next time you have a snack or meal, start by sitting down in a chair at the table. Don’t turn on the TV or look at your phone. Simply eat your meal with no distractions.
2. Express Gratitude for Your Food
Before you start to eat, take a moment to express gratitude for your food. You can do this out loud or silently to yourself.
If you’re a religious person, this can be an actual prayer. Or, you can simply say “thank you” and think for a minute about the work that went into the meal.
By pausing for a second before you dig in, you can get into a calmer, more mindful state. You may also appreciate your food more if you take a minute to think about where it came from and the work people had to do to get it to you.
3. Ask Yourself if You’re Truly Hungry
Many people start eating, not because they’re hungry, but because they’re experiencing a troubling emotion. They might be feeling lonely or sad, or they might be anxious or stressed out.
Before you reach for your food — especially if it is a highly palatable, processed food like chips or cookies — ask yourself if you’re actually hungry.
Another way to assess your hunger is to ask yourself if you could eat broccoli right now. If you’re actually hungry, broccoli will sound appealing. If you’re not willing to eat broccoli, you’re not really hungry, you’re having a craving.
4. Release the Need for Perfection
Accept that there are going to be times when you slip up. There will be times when you eat out of emotion or let yourself get distracted during a meal. It’s okay.
Once you realize where you made a mistake, take a step back and figure out why. Then, release yourself from shame and guilt and move on with your life.
Remember, you wouldn’t slash the other three tires on your car just because you got one flat.
5. Stop Labeling Foods as Good or Bad
Most people who have an unhealthy relationship with food have a tendency to label foods as good or bad. If this sounds familiar to you, try changing the way you talk about the food you eat.
Instead of seeing foods as good or bad, try looking at them as good, better, and best. Try to make most of your foods come from the “better” and “best” categories, but allow yourself to have some “good” foods every once in a while, too.
6. Don’t Keep Problematic Foods in Your House
When it comes to these “good” foods, many people find that it’s helpful not to keep them in their house, at least for a while. This is especially true for people who struggle with binge eating disorders.
If there’s a food that you have a hard time saying “no” to, do yourself a favor and reduce the number of times you need to say “no” to it. You’re less likely to overconsume ice cream if you don’t have it in the freezer at all.
Make ice cream an occasional treat that you have to go out to get. Then, when you have it, you’ll enjoy it, but won’t always be there in the freezer tempting you.
7. Keep a Food Journal
Keeping a food journal is another useful tool. Don’t just write down the number of calories or grams of carbs in the foods you eat, though.
Instead, pay attention to the emotions you experienced surrounding your meals and snacks.
Were you eating because you were hungry, or were you trying to cover up an unpleasant emotion?
Writing things down can make them more tangible. It also makes it easier for you to spot patterns and look objectively at your situation.
8. Try Cooking Your Own Food
If you have a tendency to order out several times per week, try cooking for yourself for a while instead.
Cooking at home can help you gain a better appreciation for your food. You’ll also appreciate yourself and the effort you put into cooking a nice meal.
Your meals will almost always be healthier when you cook them yourself than when you order out. You’ll save money, too!
9. Measure Out Servings
If you do keep certain foods in the house that you tend to overeat, measure out a serving instead of eating straight from the box or bag.
Even if you don’t actually put your food on a scale, just putting it into a bowl before eating will help you moderate your consumption and avoid overeating.
10. Learn to Differentiate Between “Snacks” and “Treats”
Finally, it’s important to learn the difference between a snack and a treat.
How often have you wanted a snack and reached for something that you knew wouldn’t be filling, like a cookie or a doughnut? That wasn’t really a snack. It was a treat.
Snacks should satisfy your hunger. Treats, on the other hand, are for pleasure.
If you’re hungry and have a couple of hours before you can make dinner, snack on a hard-boiled egg or an apple with almond butter.
Save cookies, doughnuts, and other highly palatable foods for when you want a treat.
Looking for More Inspiration?
If you’re not happy with your relationship with food, you can turn things around today. Now is the perfect opportunity to start.
Keep these ten tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to developing a healthy relationship with food.
If you’re looking for more information, check out our podcast for a variety of episodes related to health, fitness, and wellness.
Don’t forget to look into out our 9-week challenge, too. When you sign up, you’ll get one-on-one with a qualified coach who is dedicated to helping you achieve your health and fitness goals.