GETTING ON THE PATH TO CONSCIENTIOUS EATING


The United States has one of the highest percentages of obesity of all industrialized countries. When you have a society with plentiful food choices, not all of them healthy ones, it’s no wonder why members of the population have major weight problems. For some people, food isn’t something that is thought of as sustenance. It’s used to comfort them, so they don’t have to deal with whatever issues are bothering them. They’ve been conditioned to stuff away their feelings by reaching for sweet treats without even realizing what they’re doing.

None of us one can escape the onslaught of commercials pushing everything from fast food to candy. In addition to glorified, unhealthy foods items, portion sizes play a significant part in the population’s expanding waistlines. When people go into restaurants, they’re thrilled to see the huge amounts of food piled onto their plates, because they feel they’re getting their money’s worth. Many push themselves to finish eating everything brought to them, instead of stopping when they begin to feel full. Until attitudes about food consumption change, some will continue down the road of gluttony unabashed. 

So how can someone who wants to eat less food in addition to eating healthier foods do so when there are temptations everywhere? The easiest answer is one that most people have a hard time applying to their lifestyle. They need to cut down or try and eliminate sugar and fat laden food products from their diet, as well as push themselves away from the table before they feel overly full. Even if they are successful in accomplishing this, they could be suffering from the psychological component of eating when they aren’t truly hungry.

To start down the path of healthier eating, changes must begin at home. Refusing to bring junk food into an environment removes the temptation to indulge with these types of products. Substituting snacks of fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, vegetables, and sugar-free sweets for the higher calorie alternatives might also help to cut down on an individual’s grocery bill in addition to helping a person lose or maintain his or her weight.

When preparing meals, avoiding the overuse of salt, oil, and butter and using sugar substitutes such as Splenda, NutraSweet, or Equal can cut down on calories without sacrificing taste. For those people who love to bake, trying to include fruit in their recipes is an excellent way to make rich treats that will satisfy any pallet. The way foods are prepared also plays an important part in lowering calories and fat. By grilling, roasting, or broiling meats, poultry, or fish the need to use oil is eliminated. Using different spices, such as basil, anise, cilantro, chives, cayenne, celery salt, paprika, rosemary, and Lawry’s seasoned salt can add flavor to certain meat, chicken, or seafood dishes.  

Many people love breads and pastas and there’s no reason to forego these items. Consuming whole wheat bread, bagels, and pasta helps to increase an individual’s fiber intake, which has been proven to help lower cholesterol. Whole wheat products also contain nutrients such as vitamins B6, E, folic acid, zinc, magnesium, and chromium, which are essential for overall health. The increased fiber helps to aid in digestion and can help someone maintain his or her weight easier, because eating higher fiber foods makes a person feel fuller for a longer time.

With concerns about pesticides being used, more individuals are purchasing organically grown fruits and vegetables than ever before. The long-term effects of eating fruits and vegetables that have been treated with pesticides haven’t conclusively been proven to cause health damage, but it has gotten lots of people thinking. Pesticides are poison and poison kills things, so consequently it might be wiser not to consume pesticide-treated products in large quantities, if at all.

Sometimes, a person can be short on time and he or she needs a convenient and quick alternative to making themselves a meal from scratch. This is where buying frozen meals can make life simpler. Brands such as Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and Weight Watchers print nutritional information right on their boxes. These lower-calorie and lower-fat meals make it easy to keep track of how many calories and fat an individual is consuming. By cooking them in a microwave, a person can have a nutritionally sound meal in minutes.

Controlling what goes into someone’s mouth is easier when he or she is in the comfort of his or her own home, but eating out shouldn’t deter anyone, when an individual knows how to handle it. Eating in restaurants requires an effort on an individual’s part to read nutritional content on menus. When establishments don’t offer the fat or calorie content of their dishes, then someone must use his or her head when deciding what to order. Items like French fries or dishes covered in rich sauces have more fat and calories than dishes that are steamed.

Subway and McDonald’s are two fast food chains that are wise to accommodate their customers by advertising the nutritional information of their food selections. Customers who are concerned about eating healthy appreciate the knowledge as well as the inexpensive prices offered at these eateries. If individuals like to eat at fast food restaurants, but their favorite establishment doesn’t offer nutritional information, then there are certain things to remember. Items described as deep-fried, battered, breaded, or crispy are higher in fat and calories. Customers who order salads would be wise to skip the salad dressing, which can be loaded with calories and fat.

Attending parties can have the potential to derail any individual’s diet. An easy trick to dealing with eating situations at celebrations is to fill up on water. By drinking this no calorie beverage, it can keep someone from nibbling on appetizers or sweets mindlessly, because he or she is keeping his or her mouth occupied. If there is a fruit or vegetable tray, which in most situations there is, taking several helpings, without any dipping sauce, can also help to fill up an individual.

Even if there is an effort to eat healthy foods, for those who have overeating issues, it might not matter much. Some people have a tendency to reach for food for various reasons other than genuine hunger. These reasons can include unhappiness or nervousness and the person’s inability to deal with these emotions. Food can end up being a friend, which never lets the person down. A vicious circle of binging and regretting it later can plague even the strongest-willed person. For someone who suffers from depression, the added weight gain from overindulging in food can make his or her mental state worse.

If an individual finds he or she is in such a situation, then sometimes it helps to seek professional guidance to get to the root of the overeating. Once the reasons are uncovered, then certain therapies can teach ways to cope with emotions. By learning to face painful issues, instead of just mindlessly reaching for food to help comfort and take away the pain, a person can break his or her food addiction and get eating under control permanently.

Individuals need to hold themselves accountable for the food decisions they make. The human body only functions as well as the food that’s put into it. Problems such as high cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease, can be significantly reduced by making wiser food choices. Diseases, such as diabetes, can be better controlled when the proper foods are consumed and issues with weight can potentially disappear from someone’s life forever. There’s no reason to completely remove high calorie foods from someone’s diet as long as an individual realizes that he or she needs to practice moderation. A piece of candy or some ice cream can become that much sweeter when they aren’t consumed on a daily basis or in large amounts.

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