We all know it’s good to eat healthily. We’ve read the articles and listened to the experts. Some of us have even hired a coach, nutrition expert, or personal trainer. 

The benefits, regularly shared by “the experts” and experienced by many of us are: losing weight, having more energy, experiencing a more positive mindset and generally feeling more confident.  

In short when we are in a healthy eating regime we not only feel balanced nutritionally speaking, we feel balanced mentally.

Some time ago I read an article on nutritionalist-resource.org.uk that talks about the relationship between food and confidence. 

Their article says “Researchers have found some fascinating links between what we eat and mental health. When it comes to confidence and self-esteem, considering your diet and making necessary changes can help reduce stress and anxiety, boost your mood, and in turn help you feel more confident.”  

If you have time it’s worth a read. It goes on to list some mood-boosting foods (such as carbohydrates, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and foods rich in vitamins D and B). 

It also talks about foods to limit, and why. That list has – yes you’ve guessed: sugar, caffeine, and alcohol on it. 

How can you maintain a healthy eating mindset? 

We know eating a healthy and balanced diet makes us feel good: physically and mentally. I think we can all agree that’s a given and a good thing to do. 

Why then, do so many of us struggle with healthy eating and maintaining a balanced diet? 

It comes down to the motives behind our eating. Emotions can play a major role in the food choices we make and the quantities we indulge in. 

How often do we say to ourselves “I’ve earned a treat” or need a “pick me up” and then reach for a large slice of cake, a big bar of chocolate, or an extra glass of wine? Way too often judging by our waistlines!

From celebrations to sadness, our emotions act as silent conductors, orchestrating our food choices. 

We are going to make a pact not to feel guilty. Guilt isn’t an effective way to break negative patterns of behaviour. No good ever came from adding guilt to a binge trip! 

Trust me – we know about these things. We are coaches. This blog is from a leading international coaching accreditation body!  

We hope the 5 tips and strategies shared below have a positive effect so you too can embrace a healthy eating regime and feel great – physically and mentally as we head into the next month with our New Year resolutions, for most of us anyway, already forgotten – whoops. 

5 Ways to improve your eating habits

Whatever the reason you struggle with food, there are things you can do to align your eating habits with your goals and improve your physical and mental health.

These 5 tips and strategies come from an accredited coach with the International Authority for Professional Coaching & MentoringDr. Valentini Konstantinidou, who is also an international speaker and trainer.    

1. Write a list

It may sound obvious, but writing a list will help you rationalise and understand what habits you want to change and will prevent you from forgetting them in the future. 

If you’re aware of the one (or many) bad habits that you have when it comes to food, write them down and keep them noted where you will see them daily.

2. Go one at a time

Kicking your less healthy eating habits isn’t something that happens overnight, it took you years to get to where you are, so accept it will take time to reverse the situation, and it may even get tough.  

If you have more than one habit that you want to improve, take them on one at a time. Don’t challenge yourself to drop them all in one go. Taking such an extreme measure will make the process unnecessarily tough and may set you up for disappointment.

3. Calculate your chewing time

Chewing is not only an important part of the digestive process but it’s also beneficial to overall health. People who don’t chew their food well enough before they swallow often develop digestive problems and put themselves at greater risk of problems such as choking and dehydration. 

Many experts say you should aim for 32 chews before swallowing, but this varies from food to food. There’s a saying that we chew our juice (as in don’t glug it down, but swish it around before swallowing), and drink our food (chew it until it’s liquid). Not that many of us have time to do that, but that’s the advice anyway.

4. Drink enough water

Your body is roughly 70% water, give or take. You are constantly losing water from your body, primarily via urine and sweat. To prevent dehydration, you need to replace that with adequate amounts of pure water (and no, coffee, coke, wine etc. do not count in fact, they will often dehydrate you)! 

On average, you should be consuming two litres of water per day, depending on your activities and body mass. Not only will this hydrate the body but it will improve your skin, energy levels, concentration, and your digestive system. Your heart and brain will thank you too. 

5. Sit down and relax

In the busy nature of modern living, not enough people are taking the time to sit down and enjoy a meal (dining table sales are at an all-time low).  Many of us now eat most of our meals on the go or stood in the office kitchen, or at our desk – not good. ☹  

Eating while standing up may increase the speed at which you eat, and it can potentially cause you to overeat and consume more calories than you would if you were sitting down. 

Not only that, by sitting down and spending no less than 15 minutes enjoying your food, you also help the brain register that you’ve consumed a “real meal,” reducing the likelihood you’ll reach for snacks, or overeat during the next meal.

Get started today

When it comes to changing long-established patterns, accountability is a big help. 

  • Perhaps enlist the help of a friend and support each other on this journey
  • Many companies have schemes where you can work with a personal trainer for a reduced rate or join a wellness club
  • Alternatively, work with a coach or mentor who provides inspiration and guidance and that all-important accountability to keep you motivated. 

Seek help, You will achieve your goals faster than you would on your own, as this graphic proves: