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Eating for Success
The next time you wonder why you can't think straight, or get everything done that you need to get done, consider pointing the finger at your food.
It's a scary concept, that our thoughts and ability to succeed can be so affected by what we eat, but for millions of people around the globe it's a day to day war their body and mind pit against each other.
Even on very simple terms, we need the fuel within food to survive. While fasting can be used by some to clear the mind during certain events, as a general rule, our brain needs feeding. And it needs the right kind of feeding to do well.
We get plenty of health and nutritional advice all the time. In fact in many ways it's thrown at us from every direction. Even the fast food giants now tell you exactly what's in their products.
However it appears that the more we know about nutrition, the more we studiously avoid the facts. In less than ten years, nearly three quarters of the western world is on the path to being classified as overweight (or worse, obese or morbidly obese). The numbers of people looking to pharmaceutical relief for depression and addictions is growing and our energy levels are collectively at an all time low.
It might feel like we know a lot about food, but are we using that knowledge? And how can we be sure that what we are putting into our bodies is health, strength and energy?
For most of us, the sorts of foods we eat now are very different to the foods we grew up on. There weren't constant ads on TV on how to lose ten pounds in ten weeks. Takeaways were a real treat and no one did home deliveries. Mothers tended to be at home, where they cooked often plain but also pretty nutritious food (meat and two veg anyone?) There was probably home baking too, but it was made with natural ingredients and didn't have things like corn syrup and fancy chemicals to keep it fresher for longer.
Supermarkets were not open twenty four hours a day. We had to walk down to the corner shop to get bread, and that is all we got, because everything else was so expensive. There were less impulse buys on junk food. Fathers tended the home veg garden, and there were sometimes fruit trees too.
It wasn't all food utopia. We ate lollies. Rather a lot of them sometimes. Pocket money seemed to go a long way. But it wasn't an every day thing. It was more of a once a week as soon as I got paid treat.
Fruit was more expensive. If it wasn't straight from our own tree, it was metered out. We didn't have huge portions of meat, and the fill up food was generally a cheese sandwich.
But we weren't obsessed about food either. Those were less stressful times in more ways than one. These days on top of worries about finances, jobs, family issues and stress, we worry about food.
The old adage we are what we eat has never been truer than when talking about our ability to focus and work. With our heavy use of computers, cell phones, and televisions we don't move so much. We spend our days behind the wheel, behind the desk and then behind a cushion when snuggled up on the couch. Not only are we expending less energy, but we're filling our bodies up with so much more food and treats because we feel we deserve it.
Choice has become one of our very worst enemies. The average family needs about one hundred and forty different products from the supermarket over a monthly period. However finding the right 140 products when you're faced with over ten thousand choices (the amount in an average sized supermarket) is fraught with stress.
Most of us have a fair understanding of nutrition and what is good and bad for us. The problem is there are just too many things to choose from. Even if we want to, how on earth have we got the time to read every label, and make so many right choices? Sometimes it's just easier to order in pizza.
Of course after we do, we'll just swallow back some Vitamin C, and some St Johns Wort for our efforts. Not only has the food choices we need to make grown hugely, but all the supplements and vitamins we need to take to stay healthy has grown too. Everything is meant to be essential, and important for our well being.
Of course there is a time and a place for these things. Just like there is a time and a place for pizza, chocolate and ice-cream. The issue isn't what we are eating so much as it is how and why we are eating.
We need food. It refuels us, gives us the energy we need, works with our bodies to keep us alive. We use any nutrients we eat to create new cells, growth our hair, and repair our bodies. If all we give our bodies is junk, is it any wonder that we're not feeling the love?
The best sort of diet we should have is not so much about making sure you eat an apple a day, and never touch another chocolate bar again. It's about basing your diet around three things: balance, quality, and output.
The Three Part Perfect Diet
So to create a diet that works for your body and more importantly for your brain, you need to look at three areas. Balance, Quality and Output.
This is one of the trickier parts of the equation because everyone has a slightly different way to keep the balance. You need to have the right types of food at the right time of day. For the vast majority, that means we need to turn our eating plans upside down. Our biggest meal of the day needs to become breakfast, with our smallest meal becoming lunch.
Many of us are consuming too much sugar, salt and alcohol (Let's not mention caffeine JUST yet). We often don't eat enough fruit and vegetables for our daily fibre intake and don't get enough high quality protein.
We need to find the right balance for our own bodies. In one household there maybe on person who needs a high protein diet, another who needs a high (good) carb diet and another who needs a true mix. We all have different needs. While we all need to reduce the junk aspect, we need to find our own tweaks to a general diet to find the one that fits best for us.
Supplements in today's diet can really help. A good multivitamin, particularly if you are in a stressful period of your life can really help with any part of your diet you may be missing.
How do you know if you are eating the right diet? You have plenty of energy and vitality. If that doesn't describe you, your intake is probably out of balance.
It used to be that much of our food was picked directly off trees, came straight from the vege garden or direct from the farm to our door. Of course for some of us that was several generations ago, depending on age and where we grew up, but that is the sort of food our bodies are still used to eating. Homegrown, natural foods are what makes our bodies work best. Now of course the easiest foods to find are processed foods, that often have a lot of taste for our tongues, making us want to eat more, but are low on important nutrients and minerals.
There are many nutrients we need that are not present in our diets. Missing out on these can prevent our bodies form working to their optimum rate, and cause our brains to slow or feel muddled.
We need protein to feed our muscle, to repair cells and organs and to form antibodies that fight off ill health. Even though they have received a bad rap, carbohydrates are also important, to give us energy and fibre to aid digestion. If we choose good carbohydrates, they'll be low in sugar and in fat, and have a lot of important nutrients.
Many people, particularly women are so worried about fat in their diet that they try and cut it out completely. In fact we need good fat to keep our body working. Essentials fats, particularly those with omega threes and omega sixes have been proven to help with thought processes and sharpness of though. Good fats also help us absorb some vitamins we need such as A, D, K and E.
If we were to sit and work out the most important nutrient our body needs, it would have to be water. Water helps us to not feel so hungry. It helps us digest the food we do eat, and gives us great skin.
The best way to know whether you have got your energy input right is to look at your weight. If it falls into a healthy weight range, you are probably eating the right amount of food to maintain your correct energy levels. If you are overweight, or have too much body fat, you can increase your energy and make your body work better by losing the excess fat.
Our bodies store fat as an efficient storage tank that is there for lean times. Often our bodies don't really want to give up the fat stores as our bodies think it needs them once they have got them. To get rid of if it we need to eat less calories (or kilojoules depending on your preferred method of counting). A calorie is around four kilojoules. If you have ten excess kilograms of fat, you will need to dispose of 80,000 calories or 320 000 kilojoules to drop it off. Most people need around two to two and a half thousand calories a day, so as you can see, it takes a fair amount of both time and effort to drop our intake enough to lose that eighty thousand.
The best way to get your body to get rid of its extra fat stores is to look at portion sizes, the type of food you are eating and track how many calories are popping into your mouth. While exercise is important, people often over estimate how much they are actually burning off, and will overeat to compensate.
Is Your Mood Getting You Down?
If you are struggling to feel on top of things as you have an ongoing low mood, it can be very difficult to eat for health and happiness. All you are going to want to do is reach for a sugar fix, some endorphin loving chocolate or some comfort fries.
Fatigue can cause us also to eat foods that our bodies don't love- no matter how much our brain and stomach tells us we really need it. Until we're eating a good range of healthy food, we can't really trust our brains and bodies to tell us what to eat. They have this huge cocktail of chemicals running around playing havoc with our cravings.
If you do suffer from depression, are chronically tired or think you are prone to SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder, where you feel more depressed in winter) there are several things you can do.
It is more common for woman to struggle with the effects of these, though that may also be because men are less likely to report any incidence of depression.
If you are always tired, then you are more likely to eat instant foods that do little for your body. If you have large amounts of stress in your life, it can make you feel tired. Tiredness can lead to weight gain which in turn makes you more depressed once more.
In the winter months we can be even more susceptible to it. We need daylight, and more accurately sunlight to keep our vitamin D levels at a good level, and help us with our levels of the hormones melatonin and serotonin, which help us feel good. When you don't have enough of these in your body you'll tend to feel down, tired, grump, and irritable. Because we don't have enough serotonin we start to crave carbohydrates and buttery, creamy foods. It's hard to drum up a craving for salads and fruit when our brains are wreaking havoc with our bodies during these phases.
However we need energy to get through life. Even if spending the day sleeping in bed may feel like bliss to you right now, it's not going to turn your life around in any shape or form. We need to eat just as we need to breathe.
We all have the same amount of hours in our day. To get the jobs that need doing done, we need to find more energy to do them. Managing your energy will help you to become fitter, more energetic, feel good about yourself, look better and possibly (f you need it to) lose weight.
Finding More Energy
If you want more energy you need to fix the foods you eat. However there are a few other factors in the energy hunt we need to look at.
- Sort out your thoughts
If your day is just a mesh of unhappy thoughts, piles of stress, anger and worry, you are not letting your body and mind focus on other things. Start the day right with some positive thinking. Before you get up every morning, be thankful for up to ten things in your life right now. This is your list, so make it things you are really thankful for, not things you feel you SHOULD be thankful for (so a new laptop might just come before a partner!) Do the same thing at night before bed so you've started and ended the day with thankfulness.
- Get breathing
Many of us don't breathe deeply enough. Oxygen is the most important nutrient our body needs. If you aren't breathing, well you aren't alive. If you can learn how to deep breathe, you'll be able to reduce your body's response to stress and can cure all manner of ills from insomnia, to headaches and sore backs. That tightness across your chest will be positively affected too. It also can lower high blood pressure, and gives your body a bigger shot of endorphins that make you feel good.
Instead of taking rapid, shallow breathe, spend time everyday focusing on your breath, taking in a long, slow breath, holding it for a moment, then expelling the air slowly.
Ok, we've mentioned too much sleep isn't great, but too little can play havoc with your insides too. Get a routine in place and put a bedtime in place. This isn't about hitting the sheets as soon as it gets dark and having no life, but getting in bed around two hours before midnight is a good estimate. Our bodies often sleep better before midnight. Getting up most mornings around the same time helps too. Give yourself one morning off a week if you love sleeping in, but for the most part, our bodies thrive on routine.
So we all know we are meant to drink two liters of water a day, but are you? If you feel like you are retaining water, or bloating, you often try to drink less to stop the bloat. In fact, the more water you drink, the more it flushes out your system. Nothing makes you tireder than not drinking enough. Next time you go to reach for that coffee to pep you up, try a glass or two of water instead.
Many people think they are hungry when actually they are thirsty. We need at least two liters a day, more during summer and during activity. Our bodies will get the water anyway it can, so if you aren't putting good water through your body, your body will tell you to eat so it can get water that way.
Water not only keeps everything moving, but it carries all that oxygen we are breathing to our cells, along with the nutrients from the food we eat.
If you are a big caffeine drinker, try to cut it down to a more manageable level. Coffee doesn't count in your water intake- in fact if you are drinking a lot of it; you need to counteract it with more water as caffeine has a diuretic effect on the body. It is also a stimulant and can affect you body's natural cycle.
- Reduce your fat stores
Our body stores the excess energy we consume as fat. It does this because it is so efficient. But carrying too much fat actually slows us down and reduces our energy levels. Dif you are carrying too much fat however the last thing you need is a diet. Diets often promise fast results, but set us on a further path of constant exhaustion. If you need to decrease your fat stores, change your energy intake slowly and incrementally, and look at a long term, rather than a short term solution.
- Fuel Up
Food is our body's petrol. We need to use it at the right time of day to see the most benefit. Start your day as you mean to go on. That old line your mother used to throw out as you rush out the door in the morning is true. Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. Starting the day with a couple of pieces of bread smeared with jam, or a bowl of sugar masquerading as cereal isn't the best way to begin the day if you want energy. (Neither is throwing back a coffee and hoping to catch something later). Instead go for the old fashioned breakfasts of oatmeal porridge with some stewed fruit, a poached egg (or two) on toast - but make the toast a wholegrain type, or a smoothie made with fresh fruit and protein powder. If you struggle to get ready in the morning, consider preparing a takeaway breakfast prepared then night before (such as a bread roll and a boiled egg) and an apple and you'll do just fine.
- Remember to Eat
When you are busy, or stressed, or trying to lose weight or any combination of the three it is so easy to skip meal or two. But this is the worst you can do if you want to keep on top of things. Skipping meals plays havoc with your blood sugar levels and it makes that bar of chocolate so much harder to resist when the mid afternoon lag comes around. The best results come from the best planning. Plan an morning and afternoon snack you can use to pep you up between meals, without out spiking your blood sugar levels. This could be a few nuts and an apple, or a few crackers with some hummus. Keep it natural, and not meal sized. This is all about snacks.
- Keep Moving
The more we move, the more energy we have to move more. It feels weird, and certainly the first few times you start to move it doesn't feel that way. Try to get your heart rate going around twenty minutes a day with some good cardio. You don't need to stick to the same sort of exercise. It can be anything. Try walking, swimming, dancing, cycling. If you do it in the morning, you are likely to have more energy for the rest of the day. It generally takes around three weeks to see any noticeable change, so try to persevere for at least that long before you decide it's a waste of time. See it as a wee investment in you thinking clearer and happier. You can't be successful if all you feel is glum! Get out, take a walk, and enjoy yourself.
The author of this online short book is the talented writer and presenter Rachel Goodchild. Rachel is a well-respected writer in the Self Improvement and Relationships genres. She also presents an early morning TV show, Rachel Goodchild's Good Advice on the Sunrise channel, with an ever-growing fan-base.
You are what you eat, they say, but taking full responsibility for food and healthy eating in your life can be quite a challenge. Especially nowadays, in the modern world, we are all surrounded by temptations to consume too much, and too much of the wrong thing. And not only temptation - a whole industry is devoted to persuading us to indulge ourselves to excess.
And what if your challenge is in the other direction? What if you have been depriving yourself unhealthily, and are trying to return to a more balanced approach? All that pressure is no help to you either.
Of course you need to take practical measures to manage your food intake and establish a good and healthy routine, but you will be much more likely to succeed at this if you focus on the psychological aspects of nutrition and eating. And this is where hypnosis can really help you.
The following food and healthy eating hypnosis downloads are based on a solid understanding of the psychological underpinnings of unhealthy consumption. You can find a download to help you comfortably, easily and effectively take control of how food contributes to your healthy lifestyle...
Drink More Water
Eat More Vegetables
Gluten Free Diet
Reduce Salt Intakep
Stop Drinking Soda
Are you struggling with weight loss? Hypnosis can provide the extra motivation and determination to keep you moving in the direction of your goals, and help you escape the many food traps that can cause weight gain.
Self hypnosis for weight loss is the perfect tool for re-educating your unconscious mind - the part that creates cravings and impulses - to give you back real choice in what you eat. You know that a real and permanent change in your weight only comes with a change in lifestyle, not through fad diets that you can't possibly keep up over the long term. The following weight control hypnosis downloads can help you make those changes, and far more quickly and easily than you ever imagined possible.
Why is hypnotherapy so much more effective than just dieting alone? Because it lifts you out of a double bind. On the one hand, faddy dieting and unnatural calorie restriction actually causes your body to store fat more effectively, and create cravings for high-calorie, unsatiating foods. In addition, feeling 'deprived' on a daily basis is eventually going to drive you to bingeing and rebellion, no matter how strong your self-control. In short, hunger always wins in the end.
Break the patterns and habits of poor or over eating and take control of your hunger and weight.
Taking a psychological approach with hypnosis deals with the hidden patterns behind poor eating and over-eating at the same level as they occur - deep in your unconscious mind. That's why it's so much more effective. Taking control back and giving your body the foods it needs will make maintaining a healthy weight natural and easy.
Save 42% with the 10 download Weight Loss Hypnosis Pack, containing the 10 most needed solutions to weight loss problems.
Banish Fast Food
Enjoy Healthy Cooking
Keep Weight Off
Low Carb Diet
Stop Binge Eating
Stop Comfort Eating
Stop Emotional Eating
Stop Night Eating
TV Junk Food
Weight Loss Motivation
Weight Loss: Healthy Eating
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