Balanced Eating: The Importance Of Being Realistic

We often hear about the importance of having a balanced diet, but it can be hard to achieve balanced eating just by being told what to eat and what not to eat. Many people succumb to a black and white mindset, being either on or off a diet- when they’re on the diet they try to eat perfectly, but perfect eating is impossible for most of us as we’re only human, and avoiding or banning foods doesn’t work. If we avoid foods that we really enjoy, sooner or later we’re likely to start craving those foods and go back to eating them again. This is why avoidance doesn’t usually work- it’s unrealistic. To achieve success with our eating goals, sustainability is key- we need to take realistic, sustainable steps towards a realistic goal.

Categorising Foods As ‘Good’ Or ‘Bad’ Can Prevent Balanced Eating

Balanced EatingHaving a black and white mindset can involve categorising foods as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, where we might do our best to avoid the ‘bad’ foods as much as possible. But by restricting the foods we love we might embark on a plan that is too extreme. It’s essential to be realistic, and the only way to achieve sustainable, balanced eating is by coming up with a personalised plan that is flexible, practical and enjoyable. Thinking of foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ can encourage unbalanced, extreme eating- instead, we should learn how to incorporate the ‘bad’ foods into a system of balanced eating where you’re able to find the ‘middle way’- this means that you don’t have to constantly deny yourself certain foods that you really enjoy, and you don’t have to beat yourself up on the occasions that you do eat them. Eating ‘bad’ foods can lead to a sense of having ‘blown it’, a sense of failure and guilt, and this is why so many people experience a life-long battle with food and get caught up in ‘yo-yo’ dieting. Making chocolate, crisps, cakes and biscuits off-limits won’t work for most people because we’re hard-wired to enjoy the taste of fatty, sugary foods- this is why we must learn to enjoy a way of balanced eating where we no longer keep feeling guilty about our food choices, but at the same time we can experience a good sense of being in charge of our eating, most of the time.

The Complexity Of Eating: Perfect Eating Isn’t Possible

Being told what to eat and what not to eat is far too simplistic- we must always take into account the context of the situation atBalanced Eating the time- this includes considering the social, emotional, cultural and financial factors that can influence our eating in any moment. We must also be aware of the powerful and manipulative effect that the media can have on our food choices. We can’t be expected to ban foods we love- this often happens when we go on a strict diet. Instead, we must incorporate those foods mindfully, always keeping in mind the impact of our food choices. We must also remember that perfect eating isn’t realistic. Rather than beat ourselves up if we eat something we wish we hadn’t, it can help if we become more aware of our own personal motivations and drives to eat, and the many factors that impact human behaviour, so that we have an understanding of what and why we’re eating- based on that understanding we can then take steps to help us achieve more balanced eating. It also helps us to be less hard on ourselves when our eating doesn’t go according to plan.

Slim People Eat Unhealthy Foods Too, But Can Moderate Their Eating

Balanced EatingMany slim people make unhealthy foods choices, and some might even eat foods such as crisps, cakes, biscuits and chocolate every day. However, they might be able to moderate their eating- they might possess positive eating habits such as watching portion size, only eating when hungry, stopping when full and balancing such foods with healthier choices such as fruit, vegetables, lean protein and fibre-rich whole grain foods. In contrast, other people can find it hard to control their eating of ‘treat’ foods, and may embark on strict diets to help them moderate their eating- however, this isn’t easy if it involves restricting favourite foods. Therefore, it can be really helpful to work on achieving moderate, more balanced eating rather than relying on extreme methods that are unrealistic and unsustainable.

Deciding What’s Realistic For You

Learning to understand ourselves more can give us valuable information, and if we combine this with thinking ahead and being organised in practical terms, as well as thinking up realistic strategies, it can help us to avoid making spontaneous eating decisions during situations that would normally trip us up. It can be helpful to follow general guidelines if we want to adopt more balanced eating, but an eating plan will only work if it’s realistic- and what’s realistic for one person may not be realistic for another. So try to establish what might be the best, most realistic and sustainable way for you, personally, to achieve balanced eating.

If you feel you could benefit from my Mindful Eating service, give me a call (Emma Randall) on 07961 423120, or email me: info@mindfuleating.org.uk. I am based in Lightwater, Surrey. Skype sessions are also available.

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