Do you want to know the reason why on earth I take on the mission to help busy mums to find a way to healthy eating?
Because I believe the power of mums.
You can call me an extremist, but I truly believe that our life quality is based on good nutrition and the key to good nutrition is in the hand of mums.
I am sure we all are familiar with the message that the key to a healthy lifestyle is a balanced diet and physical activity, we all know what would be our healthy choices.
But there is something stronger than this message.
Who influences our eating habits in reality?
Researchers proved that people are more influenced by seeing others’ eating habits than any other verbal message: like healthy eating messages or when we are only told what people eat. Others eating behaviour has a strong effect on what and how much we eat. That stranger who is ordering a menu in front of us in McDonalds, a dropped empty chocolate bar paper on the street, our family members munching on crisps, empty wine glasses on the restaurant table – are all influence our choices. We do not have to see or to know, – not even to like – other people to follow them. It is enough to deduce from clues, what they consume.
Consciously or unconsciously we use others behaviour as a guide how should we behave. So we are prone to think: If they eat it, I can eat it too or If s/he eats that portion than that is okay for me too. This is not just because we would like to please others, – we are affected people’s eating habit even when we have no motivation to fit into their group, indeed, we want to avoid any kind of association with them.
Well, would have you think that your eating habits are influenced by your hated boss or odious neighbours? Hm, that’s a strange one. But it is true.
This is unconscious and we are influenced by these even when we eat/drink alone. Even if nobody sees us eating we are driven by the information what we collected in our mind unconsciously. This means the eating habits are contagious. That is one reason why obesity is spreading so quickly: it is not only the food market’s fault – it is us as a group. We watch each other and we learn from each other.
And this the reason why it is so hard to lose weight alone.
Even if we are surrounded by understanding and supporting family and friends we see that others are not on a restricted diet. They can eat whatever they want. And the temptation and self-pity works against us.
Does it work the other way around too?
Can be healthy eating behaviour contagious too?
The answer is yes. Only one stubborn healthy eater in a group can influence others behaviour.
Just imagine that you are settling down at the table in a coffee shop with your friends and the first order is freshly squeezed orange juice and mix of nuts and raisins. Would you order a double chocolate cake and a toffee-latte without feeling guilty? Well, in the majority of cases, we order the same or something similar.
Just like unhealthy healthy eating habits – healthy eating habits are spreading too.
What does this tell us?
People around us have an influence on what, how and how much we eat. So weight loss diet is easier and more effective if we do it in a group. Dieting with friends and family together are more successful as individuals alone.
As others’ behaviour affects your choices – you can make a lot to make your family and friends healthier. Okay, it is not easy to be the first in a group, it is a lot of effort and commitment. It is really important to clarify the motivations for yourself and stick your goal. Even tiny little changes can make a huge difference – like swapping white bread to brown or reducing salt in food.
Source: Are eating habits contagious? By Alex Ruani, TheHealthSciencesAcademy.org
Mum, you can do the most for the health of your family
It sounds a bit strange but you can do the most for your family’s health if you pay attention and care about your own. even if you make little changes – like excluding fast food from your diet, or skip sugar – you can start a positive domino effect. You definitely need your strength and clear motivation – and you have to insist your new way on the long term as these changes take time.
But imagine the effect what you can have as a mum:
You are the person who gives the base of your children’s future lifestyle. What do you wish for them? They consciously or unconsciously follow you and they will pass on these values to their children – to your grandchildren.
You are the person who can make the most for your partner’s health and life quality. It is not always so easy, but instead of telling to your partner what to eat and how to eat – show him and encourage him.
You are the person in your extended family and in the circle of your friends who gives a good example and motivation to others.
Mums’ role in healthy nutrition is extremely important – they determine the present and future health of their family.
How can you go for healthy eating habits?
1) Start with yourself
Your personal example is more effective than your hard effort to convince them by words. Remember, cues of others’ eating habits influence us more than any verbal message about healthy eating.
2) Read what inspires you
To get the right mindset, find a way to know more about healthy eating habits: read healthy lifestyle magazines, subscribe to newsletters in this subject and meet people who can help and motivate you.
3) Keep it up
Do not forget this is a long process – not an overnight miracle. Follow your way stubbornly and insistently. Be prepared for resistance and difficulties, and if something does not work try another one. The best way to success – making your family your ally and not your enemy.
4) Step by step
Small steps take you further than dramatic changes. This also makes the changes more enjoyable and reduce the resistance within your family.