Why ‘what’ you eat doesn’t really matter… as much as you think.
Flick open a magazine or scroll through your newsfeed and you will see that we are obsessed with what we should and shouldn’t be eating.
I would know because I used to be really obsessing about food and finding out what food I was allowed to eat and which I should cut out!
At the end of every day, I used to lie in bed calculating what I had eaten. I would count up the calories, weighing up whether or not I was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ that day. I would judge my self-worth based on the types of food I had put into my mouth. Would I weigh less in the morning?
When it comes to health and weight, we have been taught to first focus on what we should be eating.
The most common questions am I asked are which yoghurt is the healthiest? Which bread should I be eating? How many grams of sugar is ideal? Should I have a carb at night?
But can I be really honest…?
The exact brand of bread you use isn’t going to make or break your health. And I bet you actually know what foods you should be eating.
I am sure you know that fruit and veggies are super healthy for you! Nuts are a great snack, so is a piece of fruit. I bet you know that eating too much meat, drinking too much alcohol or filling up on junk food isn’t ideal.
Yet, we love to keep fussing over WHAT we are putting into our mouths – even when we generally know the answer.
But here is the truth.
Healthy eating is far less about WHAT you are eating and far more about WHY you are eating…
If you eat a piece of birthday cake on your birthday, is that bad? No. Pass up that piece of cake because you’re scared of getting fat… well, suddenly that isn’t so healthy any more.
We are far to obsessed with what food we should be eating and forget to ask ourselves the more important question: Why am I eating?
So let’s practice.
Here’s a typical scenario…
It’s late afternoon or evening. You’ve been out all day and finally get home. No one else is home. You turn on the TV to relax. You realise you feel like eating…
Option 1. WHAT should I eat?
… you ask yourself – What should I eat?
Go over the kitchen. Find a healthy snack like a piece of fruit. Finish eating.
Realise you still want more food. Walk back to the kitchen. Ask yourself again. What should I eat? Find another snack.
Repeat process 5-10 times…
OUTCOME: Feel sick/guilty/disappointed that you ‘failed’ again. Don’t feel hungry for dinner but feel like you have to eat anyway. Wake up the next day promising to make ‘healthier choices’ and ‘be better’.
Option 2. WHY am I eating?
… you ask yourself – Why am I eating?
You realise out that you’re actually really tired from a long day at work.
You acknowledge that when you watch TV, it makes you want to eat. You realise that every time you sit to on the couch, you feel like eating so perhaps the TV is making you feel like eating.
Recognise that you aren’t actually very hungry, just very tired.
OUTCOME: Decide that you need to have a nap or read a book instead of watching a TV because it’s a trigger for you to eat when you aren’t even hungry. When you are hungry, you make the decision to have a snack before you walk into the front door.
Do you see how changing the questions from ‘what’ to ‘why’ can make a big difference? Now you can try it for yourself.
Need extra help understanding WHY you eat? Check out the Keep It Real Program. It’s filled with essential advice to help you stop yo-yo dieting, quit emotional eating and start feeling in control around food.