Healthy eating can feel like a minefield, especially as all of us are so busy and wearing a number of different hats and fulfilling a lot of different roles at once. At times eating a nutritious, delicious and balanced diet can seem impossible compared with the easy option of grabbing something on the run; every year it seems as if there’s always new food and lifestyle trends – from Paleo, to Atkins, to vegan, to clean eating, the information out there can be such mixed messaging that it becomes overwhelming.
While, all of us want to embrace healthy eating, because we know it’s good for us, very few of us have time or the money to hire a personal chef to carefully balance each and every meal. So where do we start if we want to embrace good health, without the hassle? And, can we still eat chocolate if that’s what we fancy?
The good news that the answer to all of these question is ‘absolutely’. It’s not just about food, true health is also about loving and caring for yourself says Karen Cummings-Palmer.
Why healthy eating starts in the mind
Karen is a leading health, beauty and nutrition consultant who believes in reshaping her clients’ emotional relationships with food – which puts them firmly back in control of what they eat. This in turn results in weight loss, better skin as well as increased energy and immunity levels.
Karen has a very simple strategy for encouraging her clients to make better choices when it comes to making the first step towards embracing a healthier lifestyle: “Good health starts first in the mind,” she tells Lumity. “We have to understand that the foods we associate with comfort often cause us physical and emotional discomfort.
“Eating food that does not support your body or spirit is not a treat, but that doesn’t mean we can’t occasionally indulge our cravings.
“What I encourage my clients to do is to tap into that one thing that you love about yourself and that motivates you.
“For example, if you love your legs or even if you just love walking, then work them out and shape them up because we only take care of what we value. I love the idea of glowing skin that radiates great health.
“Once you have found that thing that motivates you it’s very easy to make better choices as it helps drive your willpower.
“I know that eating lots of refined sugar causes premature ageing which is something I want to avoid. So instead of eating a huge tub of ice cream, or processed food which has been packaged in a factory and is full of things which are very bad for me, if I fancy comfort food I will have a plate of lovely fresh fish and gorgeous in season vegetables.
“But it’s all about moderation; if you crave fried food, instead of going to a drive-through burger restaurant then you could opt for fish and chips because at least that’s just fish with potatoes but it will have been cooked and prepared to order, rather than reheated and put in a microwave. Of course I am not saying you can do that every day, but once in a while if it’s what your body is telling you it needs then that is fine.”
But what if you’re the sort of person that enjoys sweet treats, like chocolate, and loves the odd glass of vino – do we have to cut things like that out completely?
“If you love chocolate, you can still have it but go for a slice of dark chocolate which is more satisfying than a large bar of milk chocolate and much better for you,” says Karen. “If you love wine, you can have a glass of red wine which is packed with antioxidants.
“Once you have found your own personal motivation, eating well will become easier because you’ll start to really love and look after yourself.
“Perhaps instead of rushing for comfort food at the end of a long day when you feel that you need comforting, what you will actually enjoy more is a long relaxing bubble bath with scented candles.
“Once your complexion, your shape and your mood begins to change you will find it easier to make choices that support and sustain you.
“Eating a healthy diet is an act of self-love which should be celebrated.”
We certainly agree with that.
Let us know in the comments your own tips for healthy eating and if you have any favourite meals that you whip up at home. If this has got you in the mood to spring clean your diet, why not try our glycation-busting shake that tastes like a coconut and chocolate bar but is packed with goodness. Here’s a diet swap that will help you look and feel more youthful, and here’s the top eight diet essentials that will keep you younger for longer.