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Sabotaging healthy eating and dealing with healthy-eating saboteurs

There is no denying that changing eating behaviours is hard. We develop dietary habits over our lifetime and relationships with foods that can be a source of comfort. For example, sugar cravings are quite often the main obstacle that many people have to tackle in order to achieve a healthier diet.

Sugar activates the reward part of our brains (as do sweeteners) - that is how cravings work. It is the brain's need for a reward rather than food, which is why it is important to see the unhealthy foods and drinks that you crave as substances that need to be consumed in small amounts. For example, when thinking about processed snacks or home-made cakes, these things should only form a very small part of our diets - you can refer to the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid here.

If you are trying to improve your diet, a really good way is to not just focus on an end weight goal, which many people do. Instead, write a list as to why you want to eat healthier, thinking of the positive results that come from that, e.g. to reduce your blood pressure, to feel better in the clothes you are wearing, to feel happier in yourself, to be able to carry less weight and walk further.

It may be that you are not the only one sabotaging your healthy eating, but also a partner or work colleagues. It may be that they are also using certain foods or drinks as a way to reward the craving signals generated by their brains. Perhaps this would be a good opportunity to have a discussion at home about what you want to be able to achieve together in the long-term (e.g. an active retirement) or in the workplace (a supportive health network), as it may be that you are not the only one who feels the way you do.

Encourage mindfulness to steer your health goals.

Changing the way we think can reinforce willpower and in order to help willpower, you also need to stop challenging it. This means removing temptation from your home or workplace and replacing addictive foods and drinks with nourishing, healthy, filling and delicious foods that will make you feel and look better.

Take care :-)


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