In our modern, fast-food culture, there is an overwhelming degree of options (and temptations) for what to eat. In such an environment it may be hard to determine how much we should control and manage our diet. Perhaps the need for a little bit of food discipline may not be such a terrible idea.
Perhaps the most important form of food discipline is to avoid substituting foods for intangible needs. “Stress eating,” as it is sometimes called, is when we eat for reasons other than satisfying physical hunger. But how can we tell the difference? Our bodies contain natural signals that tell us what is healthy for us and how much of it we should eat.
Think of eating a whole bag of candy, for instance. After some time, you would certainly feel a crash of energy and a general feeling of unwellness. But in any of our food decisions, there are subtle sensations that alert us to health and balance, or the lack thereof, of what we are eating. Paying attention to these subtle signals may be better in the long-term than enforcing rigid sanctions on what we think we should and should not be eating.
Speaking of which, you also want to make sure you are well-informed with up-to-date knowledge on what exactly constitutes a good diet. Do you remember that iconic food pyramid dating back to the 90’s? Well, according to many experts in the field of dietetics, it no longer accurately reflects the most current knowledge of good eating habits. A better model may be the Harvard Healthy Eating Pyramid.
If you compare the two, the biggest difference you’ll notice is that in the newer scheme, grain-based foods are no longer considered to be the sole “base” of the food pyramid. Rather, that base is thought to include vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and oils, and legumes. Whole grains are still good, but make up a much smaller portion of a good diet and roughly equal in amount to healthy proteins like fish and chicken.
Lastly, don’t stress over lapses of good judgement when it comes to your eating choices. Doing so only exacerbates the stress that likely pushed you into indulging temptation! There are so many great health options today, you need only find the right delicious recipes and food discipline will come naturally!