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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 January 25, 2021

What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

It’s always fun to do something new, but often we fall into the trap of spending our weekends the same way.

If you’re stuck in the same old routine, it might be time to try something new.

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What should I do today? No ideas?

Everything listed here is something you can easily do no matter where you live, and even on a tight budget! Try out one of these 30 new things today, you’ll be happy you did.

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Try Out These 30 New Things To Do Today

  1. Visit a suburb in your city that you’ve never been to before, or somewhere you haven’t explored much.
  2. Learn ten phrases in a new language–what about Japanese, Italian or Portuguese?
  3. Listen to a genre of music you haven’t tried before–perhaps Jazz, Punk or Blues?
  4. Have a picnic in your local park complete with a packed lunch and your animal friends.
  5. Start a daily journal to write your thoughts in.
  6. Try a new cuisine–what about French, Lebanese or Korean?
  7. Visit your local library and borrow some books for the weekend.
  8. Plant some flowers in your garden. If you don’t have one, try an indoor potted plant.
  9. Visit a local museum or art gallery and view their latest exhibition.
  10. Learn a new skill–what about sewing, gardening or cooking? You’ll be surprised what you can learn in an afternoon.
  11. Say hello to a neighbor you don’t usually talk to.
  12. Make a card for a friend and send it to them with a handwritten note.
  13. Learn how to cook a new dish for dinner. We all get tired of eating the same thing, why not try making something new?
  14. Re-read an old favorite book. Don’t leave it gathering dust on your book shelf; get it out and read it all over again.
  15. Research the culture of a different country online–what about India, Guatemala or Sweden?
  16. Go for a walk or bicycle ride around your neighborhood.
  17. Watch a classic film like Casablanca, The Godfather or The Wizard of Oz.
  18. Make a photo album of a recent holiday you took. Don’t let your memories get lost on your computer hard drive; make a special keepsake album of your trip.
  19. Visit your local farmers markets and pick out some fresh produce. Farmers markets are full of delicious fresh fruit, veggies and more. Find your local market and take a visit.
  20. Plan a day trip to somewhere outside your city–it might be the seaside, mountains or another city!
  21. Check out what community events are running in your area and attend one.
  22. Make a birthday present for a friend. Handmade gifts are personal and much more special than anything you could buy from a store.
  23. Attend a play at your local theater. Support your local theater and have a fun night out at the same time.
  24. Volunteer with your local nature conservation society to plant some trees. Conservation societies are always looking for helping hands; do your bit and plant some trees.
  25. Be a tourist in your own city and visit all the popular tourist sites you’ve likely never been to (don’t forget your camera!)
  26. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to recently and have a good long chat.
  27. Put on your favorite song and dance your heart out. You might be surprised at how much fun you have!
  28. Invite some friends over for a BBQ. There’s nothing better than an afternoon spent with good friends and good food.
  29. Try out a new form of exercise like Pilates, tennis or swimming.
  30. Organize a clothing swap with your friends. You’ll have a great time, and save some cash and the environment all at the same time!

Now that you’ve read my list of 30 new things to try today, my question for you is, “what new things will you try today?”

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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