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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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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