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7 Ways To Have A Healthy Relationship With Food

7 Ways To Have A Healthy Relationship With Food

The quality and quantity of our food (and the frequency with which we consume it) are essential considerations in leading an energized life. How we fuel our bodies can impact our ability to focus, our emotions and, of course, our physical appearance. To get a deeper perspective on this, I managed to chase down the very in-demand Dr Joanna McMillan for a chat.

Joanna and I first met back in 2001 when we both were instructors teaching classes at Balmain Fitness. Since completing her PhD at the University of Sydney, this honorary Aussie has gone on to become a regular fixture on TV screens as the official nutritionist of Australia’s The Today Show, and she founded her successful online program Get Lean.

As a past vice-president of the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA) and a member of the Dietitians Association of Australia and The Nutrition Society she is a thought leader in nutrition; but as you’ll see below, how social and psychological considerations connect with diet are equally important to keep in mind.

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Here are seven ways to ensure that you have a healthy relationship with food:

1. Frame choices positively

Remember: eating is good for you. Without it, we’d kick the bucket; but it is the negative aspects of eating which command the lion’s share of the media’s attention. The latest fad celebrity diet or reports associating carbs and sugar with the devil have conditioned us to focus more on what we need to cut or lose than what we have to gain. Joanna suggests that simply reframing how we view our meals can help. Telling yourself that this afternoon you will snack on a nuts and dried fruit is much easier to achieve than reinforcing the idea that you absolutely must not eat chocolate at any cost.

2. Go for variety

As guys we are constantly bombarded with the perfect physiques in men’s magazines. Even the mannequins at Nike and Adidas stores are built like brick Adonises. But the thought of eating nothing but chicken breasts, broccoli and protein shakes bores me. Lately I’ve discovered the amazing menu at Thr1ve. There’s so much variety, it’s super fresh and they cover all the food groups. What more do you need? Find a place with a similar food philosophy to Thr1ve near you and make the most of it.

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3. Remove temptation and you won’t be tempted

This is one idea that I implemented straight after talking to Joanna. If you have temptation within easy reach, of course you’re going to give in. The best way to give yourself a kick start is to remove everything from the fridge and pantry that doesn’t support your new goals. When more effort is required to go to the shops or supermarket to satisfy a craving you are way less likely to do it.

4. Eat fresh and whole foods

It’s a no-brainer that eating less processed food is more nutritious and better for us. Hell, I think I even start to feel better standing in the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket, before I’ve even eaten anything. The reality is that you will still eat processed foods now and then, it’s just about making a habit of choosing them less often.

5. Enjoy the social aspects of eating

One thing I love about Joanna’s approach is that joy is at its center. She says that “food is meant to be enjoyed, it is more than the nutrients it contains, it’s part of our social connections. It’s a very human condition because it’s intimate.” One of life’s simple pleasures is to cook and be cooked for – even better when the food is healthy and nutritious.

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6. Prepare so you can take charge in the moment

Life is a result of the choices we make and food is something we are continually making choices about, so it’s important to pause when the choice may not be such a good one and consider your other options. If you’re in the habit of “swallowing your emotions with food”, you could chose to do something different that will make you feel good. Make a list of alternatives in advance so that you’re not making decisions on the spot.

7. Eat well to achieve your potential

For those who may be experiencing an energy crisis, just applying a few of the tips above is a positive start to getting back on track. By making positive, healthy choices you can fuel yourself, enjoy what you eat, and even reconnect socially.

For more tips and inspiration check out Dr Joanna’s TEDx talk below.

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Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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