Excess weight places higher stress on your feet and ankles. And, you know how it puts you at risk for diabetes and heart disease (the leading killer of both men and women in the United States).
But eating healthy can be hard if you’re used to it. So, how do you get yourself to eat healthy when every ounce of your being would rather go and grab some McDonald’s fries instead?
Here’s what to look for:
1. You Could Have a Food Addiction
Yes, it is possible to get addicted to eating. You can get addicted to anything. There’s no shame in it. Usually, people have extreme trauma in their childhood that they don’t talk about and want to escape.
So, if you’re like millions of other Americans, you turn to an addiction to cover up those painful feelings. It’s a frequent response to overwhelming psychological pain, but you don’t need to feel embarrassed or afraid about it (even though you probably do).
If you’re concerned about your eating and have tried to make big changes but always find yourself returning to your old habits, you might be a compulsive overeater.
Overeaters anonymous offers a simple 15-question guide to help you decide if you suffer from compulsive overeating.
2. Create a Healthy Diet You Enjoy
If you don’t enjoy eating healthy, you won’t stick with it. It’s never going to work for you, or anyone else, to eat in a way that feels like torture.
But, you can absolutely find a way to eat healthy that you also look forward to. In general, experts today recommend avoiding simple carbohydrates, like the kind found in white flour or other light-colored grains.
Instead, minimize your carbohydrate intake. When you do eat carbs, indulge in darker-colored grains (like brown rice or blue corn chips).
With meat, focus on fish, chicken, and lean meats. Pile on the fruits and veggies. Avoid creamy dressings. Use olive oil instead of butter or margarine.
Eating actually is a science. You won’t get a full guide here. But basically, if you eat a diet close to the Mediterranean diet, that sets you up for a long, healthy, and enjoyable life.
3. Keep Physically Active
Again, the key here is to find physical activity you enjoy. Otherwise, you’ll quit because you hate it so much.
At minimum, aim for 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least three times per week (and ideally five). That means if you were to talk to someone while exercising, you would have a difficult time doing so.
While exercise isn’t necessarily the funnest thing in the world at first, you’ll feel the difference: increased energy, focus, and self-esteem. As you see your weight falling, you’ll feel motivation to continue further.
Changing Isn’t Easy, So Focus on Little Steps
We humans love our familiar routine, even if it’s not the healthiest one. You can go cold turkey and do everything all at once.
But for most, it’s easier to start small. Make one or two different lifestyle changes each week. Over time, the difference these changes make accumulate, and you experience dramatic benefits.
Your feet and ankles feeling less pressure and pain may actually be one of the least pronounced benefits. Your self-esteem, confidence, energy, and positive responses from other people will be much more motivating!