Dear Kosterina Family, The question I’m pondering this week is around willpower.
Although there is a lot of confusing nutrition information out there, generally we know that we need to avoid refined sugars, toxic oils and processed foods. But despite being armed with all the latest research and knowledge, why is it still so hard to make the right food choices sometimes? Well I’m finding some research that shows it’s not really about willpower as we know it…
Our issue is decision fatigue.
I loved this article by James Clear that outlines the issue (read the part about the study of judge rulings) and gives us 5 ways to overcome it. As it relates to food choices, it seems the best thing we can do is plan out meals and snacks in advance. And stick to a relatively tight menu of options.
And this issue has been amplified during the quarantine era. There's been qualitative research that shows it's been difficult for many of us to stay healthy at home. Doctors say that the combination of heightened anxiety, turning to ultra-processed foods and staying mostly indoors is a recipe for unhealthy choices.
There’s also a simple mindset hack we can use to combat some of these difficult realities. Researchers behind a 2018 study on healthy eating analyzed the brain waves of participants based on the way they thought about the meal they were about to eat. Those who focused on the health effects of the meal itself (instead of the pleasure they’ll receive or the time of their next meal) made better choices about the food they were about to eat.
So, let’s all sit down to do some conscious meal planning (just like we would set aside time for any old work meeting). And having a small pre-meal chat with ourselves about the health benefits of our meal rather than rushing into dinner can make all the difference. Because, food is truly our medicine - and these days, we need as much of it as we can get.
Follow us @kosterina on Instagram where we'll be sharing our favorite wellness news and more stuff we're into.
We have a problem of systemic racism in America. For me, it has been watching this crisis through the lens of parenthood that has struck me the most. I don’t think I fully realized the burden that my fellow parents need to bear when they are parenting Black children.
How are you doing? I’m feeling a little burst of positivity this week as things are slowly starting to feel a bit more normal. We have seen a few more friends and family members (from afar) and the local Starbucks in my town re-opened this week (major development). And generally, I’m a little less nervous about going to the pharmacy and the supermarket. But as I've been moving about in public a bit more I've had a lot more interactions with strangers while wearing a mask. And, it's made me think about how we treat each other in this new world.
So they say that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. And they’re right. Ninety percent of our focus really should be on food for optimal health. But what about a good diet with nightly Almond Butter & Vanilla dark chocolate bars? Or the occasional 3 serving bag of Dang rice crisps? (So good, btw). Can I out-exercise that? If food is most important to maintaining a healthy weight, do we really need to workout at all? If so, how long do we need to work out for? And what’s the best type of workout? So many questions.