“Eat your veggies because they’re good for you.”
This statement has probably been heard repeatedly by children of all ages as their parents firmly encourage them to clean their dinner plates.
Anyone who reads my blogs consistently also knows that I speak a lot about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. It’s an essential truth—fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods we can eat. I’ve also written a lot about the importance of regular physical activity. However, I read an article recently that has prompted me to realize that a shift in my perspective would be beneficial when discussing such matters.
The article “Can Exercising and Eating Healthy Be Fun and Indulgent Instead of Boring and Depriving? Targeting Mindsets About the Process of Engaging in Healthy Behaviors” discusses a few studies on mindset. One of the studies focused on food and had two groups of adolescent participants. Each group was enrolled in a different class on food. One group was told of the incredible health benefits of eating wholesome foods, and the other group was told about the social benefits of sharing good foods as well as the pleasurable flavors that good foods can have. In other words, they emphasized that healthy foods are fun to eat. When the food choices were analyzed, the “food is fun” group chose healthy foods more often than the “food is healthy” group.
The article also looked at a similar study on exercise. Again, the study divided participants into two groups. One group had the fantastic health benefits of exercise explained to them in a short presentation along with a handout, and the other group was given a presentation and handout informing them of how enjoyable and relaxing exercise can be. As with the study on food, the “exercise is fun” group chose to exercise more than the “exercise is healthy” group.
This enlightening article presented a key concept that should not be overlooked. Mindset is essential in all things, especially when making choices pertaining to lifestyle—what we choose to eat and how much physical activity we give ourselves. Suppose we see healthy foods as bursting with flavor rather than just being good for us. In that case, we will be more likely to eat them. By the same token, if we perceive exercise as making us feel fantastic instead of just something that should be done to improve health, then we will be more likely to do more of it.
I eat healthy foods because I love the way they taste, and I exercise because I love the way it makes me feel. The fact that these activities are good for my body is a huge benefit.
Mindset is key. Change your mindset about your habits, and your habits will change.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you have enjoyed it and found it informative. Please feel free to share it with anyone who might benefit from it.
photo credit: Alexander Drummer/pexels.com