I’ve dropped out of corporate life, but I haven’t dropped out of life. Quite the contrary. I travel, I meet — and engage with — people, learn about cultures, history, health and the world. I welcome each of you to join me, vicariously through this blog, on my adventures.
Get In a Healthy Eating Mindset
In the 21st century, we all know that health begins with healthy eating habits. Why then is it so hard to figure out how to stick to healthy eating? The aisles of the grocery store, the posters in the doctor’s office and even certain commercials on TV use bright colors and bold lettering to advertise the healthy living mindset.
Yet, despite these campaigns, American eating habit statistics can be shocking. The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition notes that the typical American diet exceeds the intake of the recommended amount of calories from fats, sugars, refined grains, salts and saturated fat. Simultaneously, Americans do not consume enough dairy, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy oils. Specifically, around 90% of Americans eat a diet that contains too much sodium.
So why aren’t Americans making the changes they need to when confronted with these statistics? According to ABC News, many Americans are trying, but they are not succeeding. They report that 108 million Americans tried to diet in 2012. However, each of those dieters started and stopped their diet four or five times in a year.
The problem isn’t that people don’t want to change their eating habits — it’s that they don’t really know how to do it. They jump on board with the latest weight-loss craze, and because these diets are often unreasonable when combined with normal lifestyles, they are quickly abandoned.
The problem with many trendy diets is they don’t expect you to think differently. They just demand you to make a radical change in your eating habits. This isn’t healthy. If you are trying to change your eating habits permanently, then you need to first address the ways you think about food.
Many people who struggle to eat healthy have what psychologists call a “fixed mindset.” People who think like this tend to assume, before they try anything new, that nothing will ever really change. They assume that their health issues are purely the cause of bad genetics, or that the shame of addressing the problem will offset any gains.
For many people with a fixed mindset, a diet change is doomed even before it starts. In fact, many will choose to remain unhealthy simply because it feels easier and less risky than trying to make a lifestyle change.
However, if you have a fixed mindset and you start a miracle diet, you will likely come to believe the diet failed when you don’t see immediate results — thus confirming your initial fears. In fact, each failed diet will only make it harder to start a new plan for eating healthy in the future.
So what is the opposite of a fixed mindset? Psychologists call this a “growth mindset.” While the fixed mindset assumes that nothing will ever change, the growth mindset assumes that things are always changing.
People with a growth mindset don’t frame their thoughts negatively. Instead, they realize small failures are just a part of change. They understand risk is just the small cost of doing something big. Therefore, instead of resigning themselves to the inevitable, people with a growth mindset know that change requires baby steps in the right direction.
Changing from a fixed to a growth mindset is important for anyone making any kind of significant change, but what are some concrete things you can do to change your approach to food specifically? There are a number of small changes and insights that can combine to become powerful catalysts for transformation. Consider each one of the following carefully and try to fit them into your action plan:
Eat enough. If you are only concerned about losing weight, you aren’t focusing on being healthy. You are instead pursuing an image of what you want to look like, regardless of whether it is good for you or not. Instead, make a plan for eating enough and eating well.Eating healthy is about giving yourself the energy you need to tackle the day. It is about creating a lifestyle that can sustain you well into your golden years. Eating too little doesn’t make you healthy, even if it does shrink your waistline.
Carbs are not the problem. People who are scared of carbs are confusing good carbohydrates with processed carbs. Fresh fruit is full of carbs! Whole grains are, too. The difference is these are good carbs — the kind that give you the energy you need to get through the day.
Fresh is best. Obviously there are some instances when fresh or raw food isn’t an option, but fresh fruit and vegetables are a great way to curb your appetite while getting vital nutrients and avoiding fats. Fresh produce contains plenty of fiber. Because fiber is technically an indigestible but healthy material, it fills you up and helps you stay full for a long time. Plus, it will help you control your cholesterol and blood sugar.
Don’t be afraid to snack. People often assume that excessive snacking is what is keeping them from getting healthy. Now, if you are eating unhealthy snacks or junk food, then yes, snacking is probably holding you back. However, letting yourself get too hungry between meals can also encourage unhealthy eating. So don’t be afraid to eat every couple of hours — just make sure your snacks are healthy!
If You Aren’t Traveling, Start!
Can travelling change the world? It can. Can travelling change you? Absolutely yes. Here are some points to hopefully inspire you to travel more.
It restores your faith in humanity.
People are good. Even more: usually, the poorest are also the kindest and most compassionate. You will meet a lot of people during your travels, a few bad as well. But the reality is far from that shown in the evening TV news.
Traveling will heal you.
If you have been bitten by the travel bug, no doubt that travelling will make you feel better. Immediately! Especially a long trip. Nowadays, we barely have time for a proper sleep. Our days are hectic: they can be summarized as “Work, eat, sleep. Repeat”. Obviously, this is the worst nightmare ever. But think about it for a second: isn’t this routine killing you? Aren’t you letting this routine kill your dreams? Don’t do it.
Take a breath and go travelling. Trip Savvy says that if possible, take one month off from your daily life. Start again from the beginning: we should enjoy our time spent on Earth. So take it slow, don’t rush, and start over. Enjoy simple things, like a walk in the morning, a beautiful sunset, a nice coffee. Watch the stars above and think. Traveling will heal your soul and your heart!
Nothing like a travel can make you aware. Aware of everything. From the social situation of a population, to the real taste of a dish, you will discover a lot of things. It’s the best school out there! We all are used to studying a lot, first in high school and then university. Then we read the news everyday, we watch them on TV and we think we know everything. Guess what?
We know nothing until we start travelling. We’re not saying that school, university and studies are useless. But you can’t really know something until you go there and see it. Travelling is a continuous discovery!
Time is our only real resource.
Think about it. What do we really own in this life? Things? Money? Our career? Nope.
We just have time. And not even so much. So we better use it in a good way. We are not saying “Don’t work, just travel the world”, even if we would like to do so! The truth is that nowadays, we’re losing our way. We need to re-prioritize our days, our lives. Unfortunately, we all need a job in order to pay our meals, and our travels. But don’t make a mistake to put your job at the top of your priorities.
Time is cruel, ruthless. It won’t come back. If you really want to travel somewhere, just go. Don’t give up on travelling just because of your job. If they value you, they will wait for you until you’re back. If not, you will find something better!
It challenges you.
We said that traveling means discovery. It also means challenge. We do need to take on challenges in order to grow personally, and travelling is a great chance to do it. Until you’re going to some All Inclusive luxurious resort, you fill face plenty of challenges in your travels. Often, in some countries, it’s a matter of “overcoming challenges, or dying”. Well, just in a metaphorical way.
And these situations will help you, oh yes! After having faced them, you will know yourself better. You will gain self confidence, and you will be a better person. Travelling is the best stage to improve yourself, ever.