New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

August 23, 2012

Lori Brothers on Healthy Living: Time to change your eating style

NEW CASTLE — Understanding why you eat, beyond survival,  is very important to making changes that can impact your health.

Some of the variety of reasons we eat include:

•Availability

•Personal preference

•Tradition

•Temptation

•Social pressure

•Emotions

•Convenience.

If you consider each of these as you monitor your current habits, you may find that you touch on several or all of these reasons for your eating style.

When it comes to availability, we know that when we are hungry we can tend to reach for packaged foods that are quick and easy — or anything else because it is right there at our fingertips. Whatever is quick and on hand becomes what feeds our bodies.

The way to improve this pattern is to make sure ahead of time that you have healthy food in your refrigerator or cupboards so that the food that you have available meets your goals. This is a more healthful approach to fueling your body and mind. Make a shopping list of food essentials and always have them available in your kitchen.

Personal preference plays a huge role in what you eat — taste, texture and what comforts you has to be looked at here. Can you modify your food choices to meet your preferences? Try veggie cheese slices (soy cheese) if you are a regular cheese eater. This does not melt as well, so a grilled cheese sandwich would be out, but if you are willing to eat a PepperJack or Cheddar soy cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato, you will be switching animal fat for plant-based fat, which heals inflammation. In addition, you won’t be grilling the sandwich in butter. Just add a little mustard or fat-free mayo and enjoy!

Tradition is another stumbling block on the road to making a difference in your eating patterns. If you’ve always eaten a certain food to celebrate holidays, can you change it up to meet your goals?  With my Polish background, we eat perogies on Christmas Eve. We hold the butter to a bare minimum, and I now serve nonfat sour cream or fat-free plain Greek yogurt with them. Delicious — no one complains.

Temptation — it speaks for itself. If you are easily tempted away from your eating goals, it is wise to carry an item with you that will satisfy you when you want to cheat. I know a woman who takes a defatted peanut butter (Better ’n Peanut Butter)  and jelly sandwich in her purse. She loves this simple sandwich and it is with her at all times. She doesn’t have to eat the brownie or whatever else is showing up to steer her off course.

It can be a real challenge if you go out to lunch or to an event, such as a wedding, with friends or family if they are eating foods that you know will not meet your goals. They may try to sway you to join in; yes, this is social pressure. The best trick to stay true to your goals is to eat ahead of time. Therefore, you are there for the socializing only, and can leave the debate of what you are eating out of the conversation. No pressure.

If you understand that eating and emotions go together for you, it is very important to make sure the foods you have available feed your body so you do not overload on empty or high fat calories. You may also want to learn more about stress management, which will help you to manage your emotions differently.

Convenience is also a major downfall to anyone focusing on healthy habits. Fast food can “amp up” your calories because of the high fat and sodium content. It is advised that you look at your time management if this is one of your unhealthy habits. If you are always grabbing fast foods, it may be time to look at how to arrange time in your schedule to eat whole foods, mindfully managing to eat more fresh, nutrient dense foods takes a little more time.

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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