Eating a proper diet is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it’s a rule of thumb that’s easier said than done. A healthy lifestyle isn’t just about maintaining your body’s everyday functions, a better immunity and fitness…it’s also about feeling good and taking care of yourself mentally. Some people have a tendency to develop unhealthy eating habits that are difficult to get rid of, so we reached out to Wellness and Lifestyle Coach Hany Taleb to provide us with tips and tricks to get us back on track.
The first habit Taleb told us to stop was “skipping breakfast”. Taleb went on to add that it isn’t just about skipping breakfast but having the right breakfast, “In England 48% of people skip breakfast and 47% have a breakfast high in sugar or carbohydrates, this does become an issue seeing that we sleep an average of six to eight hours and in that time we are not consuming any fluids or nutrition, so you’ve fasted that time and you wake up you’re body is screaming for nutrition and hydration which you then by skipping breakfast deprive it from”.
Having the wrong breakfast or none at all can lead to cravings as Taleb explained, “naturally your body’s blood sugar level is going to drop, and when it does drop, that’s when cravings begin. The body then does not crave healthy meals or snacks, instead, it craves sugar fats and salts and that’s when unconsciously we find ourselves rushing to the nearest supply of this type of food”. This turns into a vicious cycle as the blood sugar level spikes up and crashes again, leading to more cravings throughout the day. He concluded that breakfast can determine how we behave in regard to our habits and energy levels throughout the rest of the day, kickstart your day with a healthy breakfast.
Some people spend their whole day snacking on potato chips, chocolate, or other unhealthy products that are high in sugar and calories. Instead, Taleb suggests that we can still snack but focusing on contributing towards increasing our protein target. This can be done by consuming healthy snacks like fruits, oatmeal, and mixed nuts along with protein smoothies that allow our bodies to receive high dosages of protein, fibre and healthy fats.
These snacks will keep you full throughout the day and enable you to make healthy choices for your next meal. They will also be a great source of protein, which is so important for muscle maintenance, skin health, hair health and stabilizing blood sugar levels according to Taleb.
Eating can become a way to cope with complex emotions and is often common among people suffering from various mental health issues. Taleb explains that, “eating releases dopamine and it’s the brain chemical that makes us feel good” so eating unhealthy snacks and junk food releases dopamine from the brain and that’s why many of us engage in emotional eating, especially when depressed.
He then emphasizes that when the brain is feeling depressed, it is looking for quick hits of dopamine. For example, “finishing school work, is not a quick way to get a dopamine hit but eating sugar or anything that is heavy in fats will release dopamine almost instantly but in small doses.” In reality, Taleb suggests that we can prevent this by enabling people to become more self-aware of their emotions and their relationship with food when they’re feeling a certain way. Moreover, Taleb recomended that we aim to focus more on creating a good routine, exercising, and sleeping well, which all can help in releasing more dopamine levels but in a healthier way.
To replace those unhealthy habits with more efficient ones, Taleb suggests starting the day with a healthy meal being crucial to balance the rest of the day. There are a number of healthy breakfast dishes that can boost your energy levels, improve your metabolism, as well as providing many beneficial nutrients and boost your fibre and calcium intake. Then after eating your breakfast, you can always keep your healthy snacks on you, snacks that are low in fats and sugar therefore removing any cravings that can arise during the rest of the day.
Eating Too Fast
According to Taleb, “don’t eat too fast!”. Eating at a healthy pace allows you to enjoy your food, be present and mindful as well as realise when you’re actually full. Eating too fast means that the food isn’t chewed well enough and is not being broken down into smaller particles, this then causes more stress when it comes to digestion.
Lastly, the important thing is how to kickstart a healthy lifestyle and the best way is to simply start. Take baby steps and set attainable goals where you will be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment. The Wellness and Lifestyle Coach advised us simply to, “sit down, be present and embrace every bite”.