Health experts, diet gurus, and personal trainers spend a lot of time talking about equipment you can buy for a home gym, great exercises to try, foods to eat, meal replacements, and overall body health. What they spend less time talking about is food attitude. What drives you to eat? Why are you eating right now? Are cravings caused by a real physical need or emotional issues? In many cases, experts should be asking these questions before they even think about fitness and food. Mental health problems or even a skewed attitude to food could undo all the efforts you make towards being your healthiest self.
Explore the worst-case scenario first, even if only to eliminate this one from the list of possible problems you face. Do you regard yourself as fat even while the scale seems to show that your weight is very low? Does eating in front of people make you feel self-conscious. Your diet should be rich with healthy foods that are the fuel which makes your entire body work: from your brain to your bones.
Fat is not your enemy and is, in fact, an essential component in developing a healthy nervous system plus effective brain function. In other words, eating or not eating fats from sources such as nuts, avocados, and fish affects your entire life. Low moods, anxiety, hormone imbalance, headaches, coordination, and judgement rely on receiving at least some good fats every day.
When one is dealing with anorexia or bulimia, eating is associated with feelings of guilt. Choosing not to eat even if you have the money for food and are feeling hungry is an exercise in self-control gone too far. Eliminating calories by vomiting, taking laxatives, or exercising excessively can cause heart troubles, stroke, internal bleeding, and other problems.
Perhaps you aren’t underweight and are not taking drastic measures to limit your caloric intake. Your problem may be that you feel bad about your body and want to do something about it but often feel too depressed to make a move. “Why bother,” you wonder; “I’ll always be fat. No one will love me.”
Depression could be at the root of this attitude to fitness and healthy eating, or you might just need someone to encourage and even partner with you. This is when having a personal trainer in your life can be useful, but just pairing with a friend who won’t meet you at the ice cream counter is probably good enough. Real depression is usually accompanied by feelings of self-loathing and sometimes suicidal thoughts or plans. Visit your counselor and talk about your feelings. Remember that your goal should be good health, not a flat stomach.
It’s not good to go into self-denial mode all the time. Food should be enjoyed in moderation like all fine things, so you don’t want to binge. When you eat treats sometimes you don’t long for them and still appreciate their special qualities. Cheese lovers: indulge in a cheese platter with rich crackers every couple of weeks without guilt. Chocolate lovers: eat a chocolate bar, your favorite one, guilt-free every weekend. Eventually you might not even regard certain healthy foods as treats instead.
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