Most of who are on the higher side of an “acceptable weight spectrum” and trying to lose weight, and you declare your intentions to the world, then you have to be prepared to battle questions such as “Oh, you must be on a diet” since you have decided to lose weight. Day in and day out you will be asked this question and you will just not be able to wriggle out of the situation.
As days pass it only gets annoying when people can’t stop staring at your food plate, followed by the responses such as do you only eat salads, do you live off of them? How do you survive? Or are you allowed to eat rice or roti? leave alone desserts.
Does being health conscious mean that you have to be on a diet 24×7 365 days a year?
No, is the answer to the above question but sadly, the perception at large is that to be health conscious one has to go on a diet.
Let us first clearly understand what is diet?
The textbook definition of Diet is that ‘it is a sum of food consumed by a person or organism’. Going by that, diet is anything and everything one eats. So there you go, every single person and every organism on earth are on a diet every single day.
Although today, the word diet implies intake of specific nutrients for health or weight management.
Now the third definition which most people think of when you talk about “Diet” is that you have to eat as little as possible, you have to eat everything raw and the food has to be bland and tasteless.
Does it mean that we have to go on restrictive diets to be health conscious? What is being healthy? Does it mean hitting a particular digit on a weighing scale? Does it mean you have to shrink down to size 0?
What if you have those 8 pack abs and look as if you just walked out of the magazine cover, but have very bad sleep cycles and blood cholesterol shooting right through the roof? Does that term you as being healthy?
According to the WHO, health is, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Our definition of health is not even close to the real meaning. In the clamour of following fads and trying to fit into the picture perfect images created by media and peers, we let go of other aspects that make us healthy. In order to look a particular way, we let our mental and social well-being take a back seat.
Yes, it is important to eat the right food but, do we really have to be so rigid about it?
The most important thing to keep in mind is doing everything in moderation, eat fruits and salads daily but, don’t skip the roti altogether. Go for that piece of cake every once in a way, just don’t overdo it.
The most neglected aspect of being healthy is being mindful. Be present in the moment, especially while you eat. Do not be all over the place, or engrossed in your phone as you shove down the food.
One thumb rule to follow would be to ‘chew your water and drink your food’. Yes, that’s right!! Chew each morsel so well that it is literally liquid before you gulp it down. And when you drink a beverage, take a sip, swivel the liquid in your mouth. Let all your sensory ends of your tongue get activated and experience the flavour of the beverage before it goes down your throat. Believe me, your gut will thank you for it.
Your body already knows what it needs and how much but you need to tune in and give it time to do its job. When you eat with full attention and take your time, the gut sends a signal to your brain when you’ve had enough. This helps you cut down your food intake and yet make you feel more satiated than ever.
Remember it’s not what you eat but how you eat it is what’s more important.
Be active. Do what you most enjoy doing. Go for a run if you like, or just stroll around with a pet. Swim if you have to. Post your exercise you should feel good about yourself, not want to hit the sack and stay there all day.
And most of all do not forget to pay attention to your mind. A sound mind resides in a sound body. But, if you let go of your mind no matter what you do for your body it won’t work quite well enough.
Practising some deep breathing and meditating for a few minutes a day works magically for your mental well-being. If you are not a fan of meditation, then listen to some music to uplift your mood or How about going for a deep tissue massage? All these remedies will help you to calm down your mind and de-stress.
Do not fear to socialise with friends just because you are on a diet. Mingling with like-minded people makes you feel happy and boost your morale. There is no better therapy than sharing a laugh with some good friends.
So, my take on being health conscious is that you should be able to enjoy life to the fullest while feeling good about yourself. Eat healthy unprocessed foods in most of your meals on most days of the week, but don’t shy away from letting go once in a while. And, take care of your mental health along with your physical need.
So what is your take on being health-conscious?