The Psychological Benefits of Healthy Eating
The main reason that anyone wants to eat healthily is to make some type of physical, biological or aesthetic improvement. You might want to change how you look, lower your cholesterol or feel more vitalised. But there are some profound psychological benefits that you get from improving your nutrition.
Sense of Achievement
The first benefit of having a consistent nutrition plan is that it gives you a sense of achievement. When you’re eating well, you feel good about yourself because you know that you’re doing the right thing. It provides you with fulfilment when you’re living in integrity with your values.
When you feel this sense of achievement, this transfers to other areas of your life. If you wake up and eat something healthy, that dictates how your day is going to go. Since you’ve started the day off by making positive choices, you’ll only be encouraged to continue making positive choices throughout the day to continue feeling good about yourself.
Another benefit of good nutrition is that you’re practising delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the act of sacrificing immediate rewards to gain larger rewards in the future. It’s a transferable skill that you can adapt to different areas of your life. You can use delayed gratification in any area of your life, from studying to house chores.
The process of healthy eating captures delayed gratification because you’re sacrificing all of the unhealthy food that tastes amazing for foods that provide you with long term benefits such as weight loss, improved brain function and a longer life span.
As you continue to practice delayed gratification, it becomes easier to emulate this in other areas of your life. An example of this would be when you’re out running, trying to beat your record time, but you’re struggling and ready to give up. You have that reference of all the times you resisted the comfortable option of eating unhealthily and the subsequent long term benefits.
The more you cultivate delayed gratification, the more prominent the benefits are. As you continue to stay on track with your nutrition, you’ll easily be able to recall all the long-term successes you’ve gained through delayed gratification. So it then makes it easier to foresee the benefits of applying delayed gratification in other areas of your life.
Independence is another considerable benefit of a good nutrition plan. With so many distractions around you to eat unhealthily, it’s easy and convenient to follow what other people are doing. But when you go against the grain of what society is telling you to do, you gain a lot of independence.
You begin to learn that it’s fine for you not to follow the crowd at all times and that nothing bad will come from this. You start to trust your judgement more, which is crucial for making big decisions in your life. It’s good to feel in control of your nutrition and not being swayed by what other people are doing.
Independence is critically important if you want to become successful at anything. Most challenges that you pursue aren’t going to have all the answers mapped out, there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty, and it’s only by cultivating independence that you can overcome this.
Resourcefulness and Critical Thinking
The next benefit is resourcefulness and critical thinking. When you first start researching health and fitness, it can be overwhelming because of how much information is on the internet. Researching health and fitness improves your ability to know where to look for information and how to assess the quality of the information.
Not only is there an infinite amount of information, but a lot of the information is conflicting. There could be two journals, both backed by scientific research, that give the complete opposite results. It’s only through experience that you learn how to pick out useful and trustworthy information. Identifying valid information is incredibly useful because it teaches you to make good judgements for yourself, which is required in all aspects of your life, such as relationships, career and finances.
Trial and Error
Another benefit of nutrition is that it cultivates your trial and error skills. With such an influx of information on the internet, it’s common to spend a lot of time absorbing lots of theory but never testing any of that theory out to find what works for you. One of the best things about nutrition is that it prompts you to try things out; this could be new recipes, new ingredients or new supplements.
The only way you’ll ever truly know if something will work for you is by trying it. You can experiment with things relatively cheaply and can be provided with feedback straight away. For example, if a recipe you wanted to try tasted good or not. Whichever area of your life you want to improve in, the best way to see results is by testing things out to see if they work or not.
Open-mindedness is another valuable benefit. Changing your nutrition plan from the old foods you used to eat isn’t always enjoyable when you first start. You’d much rather be eating something unhealthy. But after a while, you realise that you have to start opening your mind to new ideas.
There’s probably a lot of foods that you’ve enjoyed for most of your life, and it’s not always easy to give them up. There might be lots of foods that you’ve always thought were healthy, but upon doing research, you’ve now discovered they’re not healthy.
Open-mindedness is another useful trait in everyday life, such as meeting new people and travelling to new countries; any way you can open your mind to new ideas is good. It helps you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and experience variety in life.
The Main Benefit
The most significant benefit of all is that it makes you believe that changes can happen in your life. People frequently try to make positive habits, but they fall back into their old ways after a couple of weeks or months. If you can relate to this, you’ll know that it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that you can make these changes permanent.
Staying consistent with a nutrition plan can be used as evidence when you lack the confidence to make a permanent change. If you can make a permanent change with your nutrition, then you can make a permanent change in any other area of your life.
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