What drives us to over-eat?

They say that a physical transformation consists of 80% diet, and 20% exercise. Crazy to think, huh?

Food has become such a large part of our daily lives; it’s advertised on billboards, in magazines, and it’s all over social media. Never mind how convenient and easily accessible it is! Whether you are buying pre-made food from Woolworths, going to the Macdonalds drive-through, or strolling through the mall and being enticed by deliciousness that is the Krispy Kream or Cinnabon stores. Food. Is. Everywhere. Your own home is not even a place of safety, especially if you just so happened to pop a few chocolate bars and packets of chips into your shopping basket whilst doing your grocery shopping earlier on in the week. You might be freaking out at this point, thinking of all the times that you have fallen into these food traps. Words of advice: DO NOT WORRY! I’ve got your back, and have some great insight into helping you get onto the right track with your new healthy eating regime.
According to food psychologist, Brian Wansink we make multiple conscious and subconscious food-associated decisions every day. Wansink believes that there are three factors that influence our behavioural relationship with food, that can change our behaviour and encourage us to eat more, namely physical, social, and personal factors. Physical factors can be the act of smelling, or seeing food and wanting to eat it, or hearing the sound of the fridge humming quietly in the background. Social factors may be living in a house where sweets and high calorie foods are always available, or finishing oversized meals when eating out at restaurants. Personal factors can be related to engaging in emotional or bored/mindless eating, or having an acquired taste for certain foods.
I’m sure that you may recognize or relate to some of those factors, and the roles that they play within your diet, and that is great news! You have already completed the first step in working towards your new dietary goals! Yipppeeee! Now, it’s time to focus on the more challenging part of the process. In order to change your lifestyle, in terms of diet and exercise, you will need to modify and change your behaviour.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Expand your knowledge about nutrition and the food you eat, as well as the different types and different forms of exercise. Become more aware of what you eat. Choose healthier, more nutritious and less calorie dense foods. I’m not saying that you must become obsessed, but initially, read food labels and compare the fat and sugar content , count the amount of calories that you consume a day, and avoid eating ‘empty calories’ (high calorie foods, that have no nutritional benefits… yip I’m talking about those delicious doughnuts). In order to set yourself goals you need to know that cardio exercises such as walking, running, cycling and swimming at a slow to moderate pace help to burn off calories and fat, while resistance training with weights, helps to burn calories, as well as increasing and improving muscle tone. It is recommended that one should engage in cardiovascular exercises 3 times a week, and perform resistance training sessions at least 2-3 times a week. I cannot expand on this point enough, knowledge is key!
Step 2: Become aware of the benefits of healthy eating and exercise, as well as the health implications that are associated with being overweight. Exercise can help to reduce your risk of heart disease by strengthening your heart, it can improve your memory, improve your mood and general well-being, it increases your strength and flexibility, and improve your self confidence… the list can go on and on! Being overweight, however, results in many health implications- to name a few, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure which increases your risk for strokes, and depression. That list sounds rather scary to me, best that you avoid any of those problems all together by exercising and eating more healthily! Knowing that your physical or psychological health is at risk can encourage a change in behaviour. Adopt a set of values or attitudes that will help you to live a healthier lifestyle (example: I will exercise for 30 minutes at least 5 times a week to improve my health)
Step 3: Implement a healthy lifestyle by putting your newfound knowledge and personal values into practice by creating attainable goals. Eat healthier foods, and exercise regularly, in order to achieve your goals. Have you ever heard the expression “nothing breeds like success”? Once you achieve the first goal that you set for yourself, you will want to push yourself further than you ever thought possible #success!
I hope that you know have some insight as to what drives and influences us to eat, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage!
Best of luck!

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