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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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