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Many of my patients complain that choosing their next meal causes them to have anxiety – and with how diet trends come and go, it's no wonder. If you can relate or believe that the only suitable thing to eat is air, I want you to know you are not alone. The good news is that it does not have to be this hard.
Eating is a natural, intuitive process that we have been doing since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, nutrition science has made eating very complicated with conflicting studies that seem to come out on a regular basis. Ready to simplify your diet? Check out these three tips:
1. “Eat [real] food, mostly plants, not too much”—A quote from my favorite author, Michael Pollan
This takes out the guesswork and removes the yo-yo dieting from your life. The goal here is to focus on eating a balanced diet, rich in whole foods, and to avoid processed foods (you know, the foods that come in boxes and bags with ingredients that we cannot pronounce).
2. Reduce your sugar intake
I know we hate to hear it. But if we’re honest with ourselves, sugar gives us temporary pleasure and long-lasting negative health effects. It leads to chronic inflammation which can cause pain, sleep disturbances, and hormonal issues. It also increases our risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
3. Practice mindful eating
Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Sounds like common sense? It’s harder than you think. To do this, you must get back in tune with your bodily cues. Our bodies give us signals that we are hungry that are sometimes confused for thirst, emotional changes, or boredom. In the same token, our body sends signals that we are full but we often ignore it because we are distracted or the food is too good to stop. This leads to overeating. Pay attention to how you feel before, during, and after eating and before you know it, you’ll be a pro at mindful eating.
Try to start implementing these tips today. Remember, if we keep it simple and go back to the basics, we can still enjoy our food without all the complications of keeping up with the next fad diet.