11 Health habits that are enjoyable and help you lead a better life

11 Health habits that are enjoyable and help you lead a better life

It’s time to build a nurturing friendship with food and lifestyle habits

Food — is something we love and, at times, then usually loathed with guilt.
Having a love-hate relationship with food for most of my life has caused distress, and of course, with that come weight issues.
After I said goodbye to my bodybuilding phase, I was dreadfully unhappy with my appearance. I felt the torment I endured with dieting and exercise come back to bite me on my bigger-than-average ass.
I often felt that my body put me in my place — because you can’t expect it to do what you want if you’ve been at odds with it for a long time.
I never liked the bodybuilder lifestyle — yet I was obsessed with the finished product that a part of me was missed when I resumed normality.
After many years of playing that game, I had enough.
As I regained my relationship with food and listened to my intuition, peace of mind took over, and acceptance began to take form.
So here I am — as I turned full circle, moving forward, building sustainable and nurturing habits that I know will sustain me throughout my life.
I hope that if you, too, have had an unhealthy relationship with food, this might make you take a step back and reflect on a more sustainable and loving approach towards food and your body image expectations.

One: Fitting into your idea of health

The things we do daily dictate how we feel on a moment-to-moment basis.
Not every plan available online or diet will work for you.
Health is never a one size fits all approach. Instead, we all must understand how lifestyle affects our health.
From our sleep, eating and exercise patterns to our hormones and gut health. Everything from the inside out is connected to one goal — balance.
So the first and most crucial step is to build healthy eating and lifestyle habits to help create that balance in your body, mind and spirit.
That step doesn’t necessarily involve a cookie-cutter diet.

Two: Listen to the silent voice to give you the answers

Do you trust your body to tell you what it needs and when?
We’ve lost touch with that sense of ourselves, which is so important. Trust and acceptance that our body knows what it’s supposed to do without us meddling on the sidelines.
Hunger cues are a big part of our nature, ignored, continually suppressed or overridden.
Part of my bodybuilding journey consisted of force-feeding — and feeling guilty because I was sometimes ‘ too hungry.’
However, building healthy nutritional habits starts with listening to our body’s feedback moment-to-moment basis.
What are you eating that might cause bloating, unwell or tired? Are you really hungry or just bored?
Tap into the resource within.


Three: It’s what you do on a day-to-day basis that matters most

I, too, have undergone strict cleanses for health and to become leaner.
I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, but what you do every day is more important than what’s done once in a blue moon for seven days.
Those small decisions you make with food, exercise and relaxation will dictate your overall health over the long term.
Do you have to eat clean on a moment-to-moment basis? Not necessarily — and that all depends on how you want to feel.
Certain foods are required to look and feel your best consistently.
You decide to eat those foods or not.

Four: Seek out a colour for your plate

The best nutritional value comes from various food sources and colours.
Vegetables have lots of fibre and provide a diverse range of nutrients that it’s hard to ignore — yet most of us aren’t eating enough.
Fruits and vegetables are the key to better health, longevity and curing many diseases.
To get the best value from your plate, seek out different colours and varieties as much as possible.
Eat seasonally and ensure you give your body the best of what nature offers.

Five: Herbs are your fairy dust on foods

Herbs might be the last thing on your shopping list, but they add the finishing touches to your nutritious meals.
Use a multitude of herbs (dried is still beneficial) to add flavour, texture and colour to your dishes.
It helps you bypass all those added sauces abundant with chemicals, sugars and too much salt.
My favourite herbs are sage, oregano, parsley, dill and basil. You can add them to anything!

Six: Accept and celebrate food cravings

We all have cravings several times a week, but we don’t need to fight them or give in, for that matter.
We only have to accept that it’s there, honour it and enjoy the food if we decide to eat it.
Food cravings might be an underlying nutrient deficiency, which will open up a new opportunity for you to uncover.

Seven: Nourish without deprivation

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘ Am I eating enough food?’
The world around us says we overeat or should skip meals for better health.
The truth, in most cases, might be the complete opposite.
Perhaps we aren’t eating enough to sustain our energy, blood sugar and moods.
Healthy eating habits derive from nourishing ourselves properly — without deprivation and overconsumption.
Your body’s appetite regulator will know when to stop. So allow it to give the signal, and listen as it’s brought into your awareness.

Eight: Nutrition is based on lifestyle flexibility

Often we feel compelled to do things that aren’t suitable for our families or us.
For example, when purchasing unecessary supplements or not catering to a family — member who is a coeliac.
Perhaps we have young children that don’t allow us the space to meal prep on a particular day.
Flexibility and the ability to meet where you currently are is critical. Aim for what’s achievable considering all your commitments without overwhelm or stress to meet certain expectations.

Nine: No more dieting — it’s a lifestyle

I know this is a complex concept to shake hands-on with me, but it will help you a lot throughout your life.
Allowing yourself to build peace with your body, hunger, craving, and nutritional queues means it’s time to say goodbye to diets for good.
Trust the process.
It’s a lifelong relationship with the most critical person in the world — and that’s you.


Ten: Keep this plate-building formula in mind

When building a solid foundation for nutrition, having a plate formula is one of the best-kept secrets to making this a reality.
Here’s the equation for you:
1/2 of your plate filled with vegetables of different colours and varieties. Broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, mushroom, asparagus — anything that’s in season
A fist-size of protein — preferably seafood, turkey or eggs
1/2 to 1 cup of carbs that includes rice, pasta, potatoes or quinoa
1–2 servings of good quality fat like olive oil, avocado (my favourite), nuts, tahini or seeds


Eleven: Take a technology hygiene hour

End the mindless eating that technology seems to cause.
Please turn your device off (or put it in another room) while eating.
The same goes for a laptop or iPad (yes, I’m one of those people!).
Change your scenery. Go into another room, sit in a kitchen, or eat outside?
A healthy eating habit entails becoming more mindful of how you eat and slowing down the pace. That will also help us realise those satisfaction queues and eliminate an overfeeding episode.
Habits take time and some conscious awareness to build upon and stick to.
It’s not easy trusting that our body knows what to do.
Years of abuse with diet and exercise left us at the mercy of a clock and nutrient timing.
What if we put that aside for 30 days and just allowed our bodies to start showing us the right way — and we enjoyed the process knowing our bodies did know what was best after all.

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