Food is a primal human need and a genuinely pleasurable activity. You will realize certain facts about healthy eating once you have trained yourself to eat healthy regularly.
Just like listening to music is not just about hearing the instruments and vocals, just like playing a sport is not just about the physical activity of playing the sport, similarly, healthy eating is not just about the act of eating. There are various aspects to consuming healthy food like cooking, shopping, exploring, savoring and many more. Healthy eating also has numerous benefits. After you have trained yourself to eat healthy regularly you should be able to observe the following facts about healthy eating.
It is a skill
This was a big epiphany for me. Once I realized healthy eating is a skill then my entire perspective changed. Like any skill, I started practicing it regularly to become good at it. It takes time, patience and regular practice to master a skill. Healthy eating is no different. It is not a one-time activity. You may have to put in weeks if not months before you start feeling confident. But once you have the skill down the sky is the limit for its advantages. One thing I can definitely say is that it’s a life-skill.
It is an art form
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. But there are a few ground rules like not consuming excess calories and keeping those calories nutritious. How you go about achieving the nutrition aspect while balancing it with taste is an art form. And once you have learned the art form you can create what you can imagine. Only the sky is the limit. You can literally go about eating anything but since you know the way to keep it nutritious and calorie-controlled you wouldn’t be compromising on the health quotient. Healthy eating is art was another big epiphany for me.
It is therapeutic
It relaxes you. You feel at peace after you have prepared a healthy meal. Shopping for healthy food is also an enjoyable activity. You will fall in love with the colors associated with healthy food. It is always a pleasurable view to see a vegetable vendor who has arranged his veggies in a beautiful and colorful pattern. I’m sure foodgasm will make its way into a reputed dictionary someday.
It is mindfulness meditation
Following on the footsteps of the previous point, you feel present in the moment when you health-consciously cook your food. It is a great mediation exercise that we can practice anytime. You should do each activity with a complete engagement viz. gathering ingredients, cutting and arranging them, cooking and finally serving and savoring it.
It is a habit
Being regular with healthy eating makes it a habit. It becomes your default behavior. Your food choices would naturally be mostly healthy. You would not find it painful to eat healthy all the time and on the contrary, it would become more enjoyable. Habit helps us build momentum. Once we have gathered enough steam to eat healthily, slowly but steadily our body begins to appreciate it. And over a few months, you’ll observe a change in your overall emotional and physical well being.
It is a great social activity
Going out for food is anyway a great social activity. But when you add the health twist to it, it becomes all the more enjoyable. Whether we accept it or not, eating junk makes us feel guilty. And eating healthy definitely makes us feel awesome. Cooking healthy meals and inviting friends or family over for it and complimenting it with movie, party or just a random chit-chat makes the whole thing an occasion.
It kills boredom
Next time when you are home and feeling bored, do this; Take a healthy recipe which you genuinely enjoy; Then immerse yourself in cooking it and relishing it afterward; And now look at the watch. I’m sure it would be a pleasant surprise. If you are in no mood to cook, then step out and visit your local healthy-food store. Hunt for some healthy food and savor it. This may even become your favorite way to kill time 😉
It makes you more patient
Given the mess we live in today eating healthy is not easy. You have to put in time and effort to eat healthily. Of course, it becomes a habit soon but still, you have to resist the temptations of junk food. This practice makes you a patient person. But honestly, I usually don’t have to resist the temptation as I genuinely don’t prefer junk food now and hence don’t have to use will power to curb the craving. It’s not to say that I don’t eat junk but I effortlessly balance it with healthy options either by substituting it or mixing-and-matching it.
It helps you develop a taste
Initially, you may dislike certain healthy food. But consider this analogy, sometimes we dislike a person but when we become aware of their good qualities we tend to like them. A similar thing will happen once you see healthy food for its health quotient. And once you start to have that food regularly you will begin to enjoy them and thus develop a taste for them as well.
It releases happy hormones
Healthy food helps boost happy hormones like serotonin, endorphin, and dopamine among others by providing the nutrition necessary for their production. Also, a tasty meal is a genuine feel-good experience. If we complement the tasty meal by making it healthy we can get more bang for our buck. Junk food is no-doubt tasty for most of us but low on nutrition. That’s were smart healthy-eating comes in. As mentioned earlier healthy eating is an art form. We have to find a balance between taste and nutrition.
It follows a set structure
You cannot just be healthy in today’s time. You have to put in a dedicated effort to achieve it. Same goes with healthy eating. You have to commit to it. Once you commit, you’ll realize, it’ll form a structure of its own. Similar to most of the lifestyle changes like sleeping and exercise even healthy eating will demand a set structure. The structure is not etched in stone. It is unique to everyone. But ultimately you will end up creating a structure that works for you and helps you to continue eating healthy effortlessly. You will bring your life around your structure and not vice-versa.
It is difficult
I know this point sounds demotivating but try to understand it. The reason we eat crap food is that they are easy. I am not saying eating healthy is difficult. But look around and be pragmatic. Every place is flooded with fast food joints. Even the places that serve healthy food are not verified and reputable. I have less trust in large food chains and corporations, but if you do please don’t get offended by me. It’s just my view. Hence eating healthy all the time, especially if you are on are always moving is difficult. But if you want to make it an excuse and continue eating unhealthy then it’s your choice. I should say it is difficult in the beginning but once you master the skill of healthy eating it should be a breeze.
It is self-exploration
Once you venture on the path of healthy eating you’ll learn about yourself. You’ll learn what you like and dislike. As mentioned previously, eating healthy is difficult. So to become a pro-healthy-eater you will have to challenge yourself and like any skill commit to it for long periods of time. There would be many ups and downs and tempting conditions to give up, but you’ll overcome it. It is not something that can be achieved overnight and hence will challenge the best of you. Also, it is not a one-off or a sporadic event, it is a constant lifetime effort. Fortunately, like most of the good things, once your mind and body understand it, it becomes subconscious. And in the journey, you would have learned a lot about yourself.
It is a unique-to-each experience
Piggybacking on the previous point, everyone’s journey is unique. What worked for someone else may not work for you and vice-versa. Hence don’t be hell-bent on following something already successful. Get a map and venture out. You’ll reflect and course correct to achieve your goal. You’ll keep what is working and discard what isn’t. In the end, you’ll have your own map, which would be your legacy to pass. Someday someone else may take it and start his journey with it. And by the time the other person achieves his goal, he may have created an altogether new map. And the process continues.
You cannot become a pro-healthy-eater overnight. You have to slog it out. The problem that most of us feel is, how do we know we have achieved a certain level of proficiency? Your overall well being will answer it for you. In this day and age of instant gratification striving to eat healthily isn’t easy. There is no end point and so no gratification point. I don’t want to sugar coat it in any way. It is going to demand a pro level commitment and dedication from your side. But I guarantee, you will have an epiphany one day, or epiphanies if I may say. I felt it when I wasn’t thirsty all the time when I wasn’t tired all the time when I could eat-without-guilt most of the time when I achieved my weight loss goal and many more. Is the journey over, will it ever be over? No! It is a journey that never ends and the beautiful part is I don’t want it to end. I’m sure since its and journey-in-progress I may fall again but since I have the skills I know I’ll get up and march forward. The last bit didn’t sound scientific but I hope it makes sense 🙂
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