So much of adhering to healthy diets involves eliminating the bad foods—but that’s not always the best option. Or maybe it’s not a diet you’re after: you just want to love veggies as much as they deserve.
Brewer proposes an alternative mindset the the restrictions that go with traditional diets: “This isn’t about demonizing or telling ourselves not to eat cake,” he explains, “It’s about one simple ingredient: It’s about paying attention.”
What do we pay attention to? The way we feel, essentially, and we use that to break down the habits we learned as a child
“As we start to pay attention when we’re eating a certain food,” says Brewer, “we can really see how rewarding it is now.” Rewarding can mean a lot of different things, but as adults we are more likely to be more able to tune into the way the foods we eat fuel our body: is it a sugar high followed by a crash, or is it a sustainable good energy?
“You’re describing taking a piece of cake, totally savoring it, enjoying it, and being satisfied with that,” he explains. Our habits associated with food, as Brewer pointed, go past just the physical response to the food’s flavor and nutrient profile: there’s emotional and memory based baggage that goes with food habits too.
For example, food and stress are often intertwined. If it’s sweets that you turn to in those moments, he suggests thinking it through: “That might distract me for a little bit or give me a sugar rush, but that’s not actually going to fix the root cause of my stress.”