Weekend is round the corner and with our hectic work-life balance, it’s imperative to have a planned weekend to unwind, relax and rejuvenate. With weekend, comes the unending kitchen trips, high calorie food and drinks which we fear, but still cannot live without. We make brunch outings; dinner plans, but still dread the calories. We wonder how long will you live like this running away from food and yet find solace with the same high calorie food. All these skepticism has made our relationship with food very complex. We no longer eat anything without weighing the pros and cons of it. And if we ever indulge ourselves in gourmet food, our mind takes us on a guilt trip. Isn’t it funny? We have started dreading food and instead of focusing on the taste and relishing it, our mind focuses on the nutritional value and the calorie intake! All this makes ‘eating’ a complex task.
And here is the most ironical thing we practice – a lot of times we give up our favourite foods thinking they are unhealthy and actually force feed ourselves certain foods that we think are healthier. A classic breakfast example here is Aloo Paratha with curd V/S Packaged breakfast cereals.
As you see below the Aloo paratha and curd combo is a more balanced meal from a nutrition point of view.
Today, most breakfast cereals contain added sugar and sodium (yes, even the plain ones) making them a bad choice for breakfast. From a taste point of view I am still looking for someone who actually likes breakfast cereals more than Aloo parathas.
I know a lot of my friends who forbid eating certain category of foods like chocolates or cheese or sugar for a defined period of time for religious or health reasons. What happens next? An overindulgence in these foods which negates all the hard work. Now you tell me, can you live entirely on salads and all those tasteless ‘healthy food’ for your entire life? Surely, you would want a ‘cheat day’ once or twice a week.
And what happens on those days? You are so deprived of your favourite food that you tend to overeat and your cheating business goes out of proportion. And to make up for this, you make your diet more stringent. It’s a mad-vicious cycle. And you can change this only if we make peace with food and learn to balance your relationship with it. Let’s find some easy and persistent way to do so.
- During meal times eat complete meals and not just soup /salads because when your tongue loves the food you eat your stomach is satisfied and so is your brain. This will prevent you from opening the fridge or the cookie jar in the middle of the night.
- Avoid overeating when you are stressed, rather sip lots of water/ green tea/herbal teas/fruit infused water and cool yourself down. During stressful work days (like month ends/deadlines) carry enough food from home like sprouts, boiled pulses, nuts, salad sticks, homemade ladoos or chikkis so that you reach out to them for comfort rather than ordering a double chocolate milkshake/ cheese laden pizzas/burgers/sandwiches. Watch your indulgence and act in accordance.
- Same applies to your dinner dates or weddings. Eat a humble portion of salads/soups before leaving your house for a party so food is not the only thing on your mind and you will never ever overeat out of hunger and desperation. But remember to enjoy such occasion by eating foods that you absolutely love – You don’t want to look back and sigh – I could’ve eaten that!
- Mindful eating is another new terminology which is a great trick. It simply means eating without any distractions, no iPads, phones, TV around so you enjoy each morsel, savour the taste and reach your satiety levels.
- And start eating intuitively rather than following a boring and austere diet regime. Because if we don’t restrict our mind to eat whatever it wants, it won’t throw random cravings at you since its well aware of the fact that the body will definitely get its favourite food sooner or later.
We all eat for 3 main reasons:
– Satisfaction and feeling of fullness (satiety)
While we all know the basic reason for eating is to LIVE but that’s not what comes to our mind when food is presented to us. We eat when we crave for tasty food, or when we are hungry. And if we do this smartly the nutrition will take care of itself.
So now let’s try and conquer that first. For e.g.
Taste can be acquired from a smaller portion size as well, so why stuff yourself and then be remorseful over it.
Hunger too can be conquered by eating timely and at regular intervals so that you are not vulnerable at meal times. The key to enjoying your favourite food and still having no regrets over it now lies in your hands.
So go ahead, enjoy all your meals (and not just once a week or once a month) let food be your friend and bury your worry. Transform your relationship with food into a simple and loving one!
Hitanshi is a Dietician and lifestyle management coach and connoisseur of healthy food. She has more than 15 years of experience in fitness industry and believes that the recipe for happiness lies in healthy living. She is a food blogger, frequent traveller and a firm believer in eating right and not eating less….