If you have been feeling tired, out of sorts or bloated recently, it may be time to give your body a restart and look at ways to reboot your outlook on food.
As we age, it becomes more important to check our diet to ensure we feel strong and remain healthy, which means eating healthier.
Healthy eating does not have to be complicated.
Focus on the ingredients you put in your mouth rather than opting for “miracle products” or the latest fad diet.
Indeed, the NHS has highlighted research showing one way to tackle the UK's obesity crisis could be for food producers to put exercise advice on labels.
Along with the fat content and the number of calories, the exercise advice would put the calorific intake into perspective, even if many of us don't check the labels!
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Burning Off the Calories They Have Consumed
The researchers highlight that people need to understand how much exercise you need to do to 'burn off' the calories they have consumed. This would mean:
- Drinking a 330ml can of fizzy drink means running for 13 minutes to burn the calories consumed.
- Loving that standard chocolate bar size? You'll need to run for 22 minutes afterwards.
- Tucking into a chicken and bacon sandwich bought from a shop? That's 42 minutes of running.
Knowing how much effort you'll need to put in, so you don't pile on the pounds, makes these 'treats' less attractive.
Researchers also found that when people had this information, they naturally chose to eat fewer calories.
So, perhaps there is a purpose to this.
Reboot Your Outlook on Food
Here are seven ways you can reboot your outlook on food without punishing yourself!
Identify Unhealthy or Bad Food Habits
The first step is to identify those unhealthy or bad food habits that you want to change.
Then, consider why you want to make the change. For example:
- Your mental well-being
- Your physical health
- Ability to enjoy playing with your grandchildren
- Getting out and about easily.
This may be the only step you need to take in changing your relationship with food.
Be Accountable for Making the Change
It's easy to say that the diet 'will start on Monday'.
We've all been there!
But you mustn’t blame others for your inability to change bad food habits.
Also, don't point to the lack of time.
If you make a promise to yourself, respect yourself and keep your promise.
Once you've identified bad and unhealthy food habits, take steps to remove the foods from your diet.
You must appreciate that you - and only you - can enforce positive change.
Remove Negative Food Triggers
Having mentioned that you need to enforce positive change, you also need to remove any negative triggers for eating unhealthily.
If there's something that triggers you to eat junk food, find a way of avoiding it.
For example, if you use social media, but it makes you feel bad about who you are, then delete the account.
Believe You Can Change
Another crucial step in rebooting your approach to food is to believe that you can, and will, change.
This is half the battle on the road to success because you need to tell yourself that you can do something positive.
Take Your Time
Don’t promise that the diet will start on Monday and appreciate that there will be setbacks.
We know that change is not easy, and there will be difficult days ahead.
You need to remain positive and understand that a setback is not a failure.
Plan Your Goals
A new healthy lifestyle will mean a new you, but you'll need to establish a plan with achievable goals.
Not adding unhealthy food (and drink) to your shopping list is a good start!
Rebooting your outlook on food is not meant to be a punishing undertaking – you can still have treats.
This is a process, and you need to ensure success – but don’t give up!
Tips to Help Reboot Your Approach To Food
Other tips to help reboot your approach to food include taking an interest in cooking with fresh ingredients if you don't already do so.
It's all too easy to buy packaged food even when we all know that cooking from scratch is healthier and better for us. And usually cheaper.
But did you know diets around the world are changing and have been doing so for the last 50 years?
In a separate study carried out by the University of Kent, they found that:
- Some countries, particularly China and South Korea, are eating more meat.
- Many countries have seen a rise in a vegetable-based diet.
- Vegetarianism and veganism are growing in popularity.
- In Western countries, sugar and animal meats have declined in popularity.
Analysis of Food Trends
To put this into context, there is an interesting analysis of the UK’s food trends over the last 25 years.
One organisation has used Gov.uk data to look at the food we have been buying every week from 1993 to highlight the changes in our diet.
It makes for interesting reading, particularly for those aged over 50 about what we ate years ago.
For example, the foods with the most significant decrease in popularity are lard and cooking fat.
The next most significant decreases are for instant dried milk and then liver, meat pastes and spreads.
I used to love liver as a child but realise I've not eaten it in years, not helped by children who would refuse to eat anything like it!
Looking at the list, I've realised I also no longer use lard.
I also enjoyed tinned salmon - great family meal memories! - which is another part of our diet that isn't as popular as previously.
Corned beef, frozen cakes and pastries, whole milk, infant cereal food and sugar follow tinned salmon onto the list.
Sugar Is Not Good for Us
Everyone knows that sugar is not good for us, but there are surprising results for foods that have grown in popularity.
The number one change is for liqueurs and cocktails, followed by 'soya and novel protein foods'.
I've also switched to using almond and soya milk, along with mineral and spring water - which is the third most significant increase.
The list then has ice cream products, spirits with mixer, followed by pasta and rice and cooked poultry.
Pizza, along with spreads and dressings, completes the top 10.
Maya Harruna, Co-Founder of Low Carb and Low Sugar bakery No Guilt Bakes, told Health Times: "Cutting sugar completely out of your diet can be challenging. The best thing to do is take it day by day and make small simple changes such as one less spoon of sugar in your tea, swapping chocolate bars for a square of dark chocolate, or switching from regular cake to cakes that use sweeteners with a low glycaemic index like erythritol and stevia-based sweeteners.
"Making these simple changes can lead to a wealth of health benefits such as: increased energy, improved weight management and enhanced moods and mental clarity. No Guilt Bakes exists to make your sugar-free journey easier."
The World Around Us Is Changing Food-wise
So, as we age, the world around us is changing food-wise as people understand that they need to eat a healthy diet.
And if you want to improve your health for your body and mind, then you should consider rebooting how you think about food.
The payoff is to be fitter and more mentally agile and, let's face it, there's nothing more fun as a grandparent than playing with your grandchildren.
Don't let your diet be the reason why you can't enjoy the fun and games for years to come.