Our eating habits change from time to time. Subconsciously, it can become affected by different factors and situations that experienced in daily life. While anyone can fall into the habit of eating unhealthy, the reality is that women may find it tougher. Biologically, women experience regular changes in their hormones which affect their eating habits. It’s also no secret that this changes even more drastically during and after pregnancy. April Davis candidly shares the realities of postpartum changes, especially with the body and food intake. It’s human nature, but it is still a difficult transition altogether.
Besides hormones and pregnancy being an uncontrollable factor of skewed eating habits, there are also a few other culprits. If you want to train yourself to eat better, make sure you are familiar with some of them below.
A lot of times, it’s about the food choices presented to consumers. When you start to feel hungry, you want to eat right away, and this is exactly the principle behind fast food. Eat This explains what the body goes through when you eat fast food regularly, and it does not look good. Nothing good will come out of eating high-carbohydrate, sugary meals often. However, even with the blatant warnings, people still eat them mainly due to convenience. Fast food chains are the ones always available in a 3-km radius, which makes them an easy option. If you are constantly surrounded by unhealthy food to begin with, it makes it harder to commit to a healthy eating routine.
On a lighter note, this can be solved by packing meals from home. Learn how to cook and recreate meals that use healthier ingredients. Nevertheless, don’t feel guilty for indulging in a fast food meal if necessary. For example, if hunger is starting to cause dizziness or intolerable stomach pain, eat the next best option out there. Integrity is important, but so is making sure you don’t develop any digestive health problems by skipping meals.
Some people, especially women, may feel like they now live in a world where their self-worth is measured by ‘likes’. The age of social media has brought the onset of body image issues. A lot of people put a lot of effort in the way they look online in order to impress, and it has seeped into the their eating habits. What’s more, it’s not just the masses who feel this way, but models and high-profile persons, too.
In 2016, there was a highly publicised case involving Brazilian model Delleny Mourao, which shed light on the sky-high expectations of modeling agencies. Mourao confessed that she was forced to undergo intense workouts yet was given too little to eat. As a result, she developed anemia and constant fatigue. Her contract was terminated because she was considered “too fat” at less than 8 stone.
This kind of practice in the fashion industry propagates that thinness is a beauty ideal. People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and some will not be able to achieve how a certain person looks like simply because of structural differences. Mirror Mirror encourages positive conversations about these differences to curb the negative body image women seem to develop if they don’t look like their idols.
Instead of focusing on what other people will say about your body, it’s important to assess whether or not your eating habits are actually healthy. Here we have Mourao, who most women would want to look like, but is still sick because of poor eating habits. The same is true for those who are overweight or obese, as this can lead to heart problems. The goal then is to pay attention to what you feel. Satisfy your hunger, but make sure you’re consuming something your body will benefit from.
In the end, it’s better to lift each other up with encouragements versus tearing each other apart because of envy with physical looks. Social media is not reality; it’s worth it to put more effort in yourself than what other people will think.
If you’ve heard of “stress eating” before, this is where it fits the bill. A phenomenon called emotional eating is also responsible for poor eating habits worldwide. Emotional eating is an attempt to control, monitor, and cope with negative feelings or thoughts with the use of food. Because emotional eating typically results in overeating, it can often lead to unwanted weight gain and subsequent health problems.
While it may feel good to finish that tub of ice cream on a bad day, using food to make you feel better will ironically make you feel worse in the long run. Regularly eating large amounts of food will train your appetite to be more receptive to this volume. Even if you’re not sad anymore, you may feel hungry because your appetite has not been filled to its usual capacity.
Instead of resorting to food, it may do you better to get involved in a physical activity. Get busy by going out with friends, exercising, or learning something new. These are all very productive examples of self-care which you can do. If you keep your brain away from food, there will be a smaller tendency to use it as a coping mechanism.
This post was written in collaboration with Maddison Gallagher.
Maddison Gallagher is a dietitian with a private practice who also volunteers in health centres and rehab institutions. She frequently collaborates with organisations that focus on the growing problem of obesity and malnutrition, and shares her knowledge through writing articles for various publishers and bloggers.