Train Your Brain To Enjoy Healthy Foods
Eating healthy is commonly seen as a really difficult task- something that you need to work and suffer through. Why is that? It’s not like we’re born craving candy and cakes and loads of salty chips. We’re born with our body extremely fine-tuned to crave and absorb the nutrients in natural foods- carrots, peas, sweet potato- that’s why baby food is all mashed vegetables! The way we’re raised in this modern day society, dependent on fast food and instant gratification, has wreaked havoc on the way we see food. Many people would choose a piece of cake over an apple, saying something like “I know it’s bad for me, but I just can’t say ‘No’!” along with a smile and usually a couple of friends cheering you on. Then you have the “oddball” who chooses the apple, and they’re met with criticism like “You need to relax! Why are you torturing self? You know you want a piece of cake way more, just eat the cake, stop being so desperate to be healthy.” The way we eat and see food is extremely skewed. Choosing the healthy choice should be the normal choice, not something to be judged and scoffed at.
You may feel like a slave to your cravings, and while you may be right, never fear- that habit it easier to break than you think! If you start paying attention to your habits and your cravings you’ll realize you crave certain things at certain times of the day, for instance, you might crave a piece chocolate around 2:30 pm. If you repeatedly give in to this craving your body will come to expect that sugar rush and the demand for that piece of chocolate will only increase. The best way to defeat these cravings is to stop eating those foods! I know, easier said than done- but you’ll only have to deal with the cravings and urges for about a week, after you make it past day seven those desires should subside a substantial amount, if not completely.
An easy way to trigger a healthy way of thinking about food is learning why certain foods are good or “bad” for you. Research nutrition and you’ll begin to understand why processed sugar, for example, is so taxing on your body and mind. You’ll start to understand that choices you make on what and how to eat can be triggered by the people you’re around, the amount of stress in your day, and the habits you already have established but you may not even recognize. Learning can help change your perspective so much more than anything else.
Another way to help you create positive eating habits is a food journal. Write down what you eat for the day, and log how you feel. Maybe you start out sluggish and with a foggy brain, you eat an apple and almond butter and feel a jolt of energy but then you eat doughnuts from the break room at work and you being to feel extremely fatigued and need some coffee, and so on. Take note, and soon you’ll see a correlation between healthy foods and positive, energized moods and feels versus unhealthy foods and cranky or irritable behavior.
An important thing to remember is that eating healthy is only going to help make your life better and easier to enjoy, but that doesn’t mean every now and then you can’t enjoy a treat! The 80/20 rule works well for many people- eat healthy 80% of the time, and feel free to indulge 20% of the time. This is a great balance, a good way to start making sure your introducing positive habits into your life, and an amazing way to help train your brain to choose, and enjoy healthy foods.