1. Mindful eating – Savour your food. Mindful eating is a technique that works well when it comes to enjoying food more. Mindfulness is essentially about being more present in the moment, so when it comes to food it’s about looking at the food, touching it, tasting it, smelling it.
2. Take breaks – Another way to really make sure you enjoy the foods you eat is to take breaks from them. For example people who have been on strict fitness diets always say that avoiding their favourite foods for a while makes them appreciate them so much more when they actually “can” have them. The best thing is, you get to set those rules and you’re able to break them whenever you like, whenever you start craving the food again.
3. Exercise – Believe it or not, the more you move, the better the food tastes! If you’ve never tried to go for a morning walk before breakfast, I encourage you to do that. The breakfast tastes incredible when you’re slightly hungrier, and less of a zombie.
There are ways to hack your tastebuds unless you’re one of the supertasters that have overly sensitive tastebuds. Some of you might think that I’m oversimplifying, forgive me for that, it’s just that I strongly believe there’s a lot that can be done here. I’m passionate about helping people learn to love new foods, especially foods that I know would do them good. Like vegetables, for example.
Very often you might think you don’t like a particular food but when you think about it, it was actually years ago you tried it last. Time to hack your taste buds! First step: Exposure. Expose yourself to the food. Nudge yourself towards trying the food again. The simplest way is to cook it in a different way. Maybe you don’t like raw tomatoes but you might actually like them in a salsa with mango, coriander and spring onions, or roasted with parmesan.
Take any food on your hate list, add it a setting you normally wouldn’t. Like kale on a pizza, spinach or avocado in a smoothie or beans or lentils as part of a spicy stew. Accept this challenge and I promise you eventually you’ll be able to cross some of those foods off your hate list.
Another easy trick that we often do with our children is that we combine the foods we hate with something we love and suddenly it’s bearable or you hear yourself saying the phrase “that wasn’t so bad”.
It’s also good if you can try to pinpoint what it is that you don’t like about the food. Is it too bitter, too spicy? Is it the consistency or how it gets stuck in your teeth, maybe it’s even the looks? Then it’s easier to hack it. Don’t like the bitterness of raw broccoli? Steam it and season with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Hate how boring brown rice looks? Add turmeric and paprika powder or herbs when you boil it to give it a nice color.
First of all, losing weight doesn’t mean that you need to go cold turkey on any foods. There’s always room for your favorite foods, end of discussion. With that said, because you can’t have your favorite comfort food every day, you’re going to need to learn to enjoy some new foods as well. It’s good if you can start by killing the idea that healthy is boring, dry and doesn’t taste good. HEALTHY IS TASTY! Not always, but there’s tons of inspiration out there to help you find what you like. You can find some here, here & here.
Forget about eating less. You don’t need to worry about that. There are plenty of better ways to enjoy food and still accomplish your goals. Promise.
Intermittent fasting; where you fast a few days a week or a few hours of your day, is a powerful program
Cheat days; where you eat healthy most days and save up space to indulge one day during the week
The 80 / 20% principle; eat 80% healthy favorite foods, 20% indulgence foods or 80% of the days or 80% of your meals healthy, 20% of your meals whatever you like
There should never be any guilt involved when it comes to eating. If you’ve already done it, enjoy it, forget it and move on. Each new meal is a new chance to eat better. Each bad meal is a chance to learn.
Planning indulgences helps a lot. For example, “Tomorrow I’m gonna have my weekly cinnamon bun!” If you’ve already stated it you can avoid a lot of the bad feelings and guilt that come with doing something that goes against what you’ve told yourself. Say it out loud: “I know I’ve decided to do this lifestyle change and avoid sugar but today I really want to have this food.”
Always use the term I want to instead of I have to.
But let’s be real, we do feel guilty sometimes, no matter how I try to motivate you here, so how do you tackle it? Do something that makes you feel better about it. It might sound counterproductive to think more about food, but planning your next meal and what you can have that is better than the food that made you feel guilty can make it feel better. Do something else that makes you feel good about yourself, go outside, take a walk, play with your kids, clean the kitchen and call it exercise, call a supportive friend and talk it out.
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