The Health Advocate

by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

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Food is the nexus of our health. What we eat dictates how well we function. Without adequate nourishment, our brain and complex systems will deteriorate. This is why having a healthy relationship with food is so vital.

Comfort Eating

Many people struggle with emotional eating. While some people lose their appetite during periods of stress, others rely on food as an outlet and distraction from negative emotions and mood disorders. Instead of getting lost in the throes of emotional binging on junk food, a good tip is to turn comfort eating into a positive concept.

There’s nothing wrong with gleaning joy from food, so allow yourself to enjoy food in a more healthy and fulfilling way. Make comfort eating about creating nutritious meals from natural ingredients. Savor the quality of the food and learn how to cook new, healthier versions of your favorite comfort meals so that food becomes a productive activity you can enjoy without guilt.

You might also be able to control overeating for comfort by being mindful of what food you are putting into your body. Get in the habit of thinking about how the food you are eating will affect how you feel. That will ensure you are eating for fuel rather than solely for comfort.

Activity Level

Staying active is just as important as eating a balanced diet. If we always stay sedentary, we’re more likely to eat out of boredom. If you commit to exercising each day, you’ll be more apt to make good choices because you won’t want to muddy your fitness progress. Working out is also a great way to help curb the effects of anxiety and depression, which can trigger disordered eating behaviors in the first place. However, don’t force yourself to exercise for reasons like losing weight or compensating for unhealthy eating. Get into an exercise routine that works for you and make your purpose to achieve emotional and physical health so you can feel your best.

Portion Control

Many of eat in excess without even realizing it. If you’ve been struggling with losing weight, it’s important to realize you have to have a calorie deficit. A simple way to manage your portions is by using smaller dishes. Consider investing in a nice set of small plates and bowls. The pleasing aesthetic of the dishes will feel more special, encouraging you to use them, and the smaller size will help you eat less.

Of course, you shouldn’t feel like you have to restrict. Don’t turn eating less into a disordered behavior. Symptoms like binging, purging, restricting or obsessing over food and body image can all be indicative of an eating disorder. If you or someone you know struggles with disordered eating, consider seeing a therapist or looking into local eating disorder treatment facilities that can help. There are also online communities that can offer support.

Wholesome Origins

A healthy relationship with food is dependent on the quality of the food you’re eating. Many people live in food deserts, where they could be isolated from easy access to fresh produce and natural ingredients. Try the best you can to limit processed foods from your diet. If possible, consider starting a small garden at home. You could also look into participating in or organizing a local community garden or farmer’s market in your area. Get creative and do whatever you can to keep vegetables, fruits and whole grains in your home.

There are also plenty of ways to still make your favorite recipes with simple substitutions of healthy ingredients. You can use dates as a natural and healthier way to make sweet treats. Blended cashews can also be a great way to make pasta sauces or soups creamy without the processed dairy products.

When it comes to food, we all share a common need and joy. Food offers a way to enrich our lives and discover new cultures. It fuels us and gives us the power to create, nurture and inspire. No one is going to have the perfect ...    Continue

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