What would you think if I told you your next holiday dinner could help you look and feel better?
I don't mean the feast itself. I'm talking about the one gift from the holiday season that can transform your health. It's a gift that's safe, free and available whenever you need it.
It's called gratitude.
Gratitude has gotten a lot of praise for improving well-being, but can it really help you on a physical level? We can answer this question by exploring the key steps that will get you to your goal.
The first step to better health
There's one thing you can't skip if you're trying to get in shape for good. You could get away with other options, if you're willing to sacrifice your health and sanity. For the rest of us, a healthy diet is the way to go.
Is it possible to eat well, really well, without wanting to rip out your teeth? The answer is yes, but again, there's only one way to make this work.
If you want a healthy diet to become a lasting part of your lifestyle, you have to enjoy healthy food!
That's where gratitude comes in. Sure, there are creative ways to enjoy clean eating, but the simple feeling of gratitude can completely change your relationship with food.
Let me explain with an example.
The five levels of gratitude
Take a look at the scale below and give yourself a rating based on your level of gratitude:
Level 5: Most grateful
At the highest level, you find pleasure in every meal. You see deep into the nature of your food and appreciate all of the elements and hard work that came together to nourish you.
Your senses come alive just thinking about the brilliant colors and flavors of fruits and vegetables, the fragrant aroma from different herbs and spices, and the crisp freshness of clean water.
Even hunger is appreciated. You use periods of fasting to let the body cleanse itself, and to draw your awareness within.
Level 4: Above average
Most of the time, you're grateful for your meals. You're happy to have access to an abundance of clean foods, and you enjoy even the simplest meal because of this.
On occasion, you'll fall out of gratitude and complain about being hungry or about a meal that you didn't enjoy.
Level 3: Average
You're thankful for your food when you're reminded to do so, like during the holidays. You try to eat healthy because it's good for you, but you don't think much of it.
Even though you're grateful about never having to starve, genuine gratitude isn't your default feeling because you don't find healthy food that exciting.
Level 2: Below average
You dislike healthy food, and rather not eat than cook something healthy that you don't enjoy. If healthy food is ready-made, you'll eat it, but you'll be annoyed about it.
More often than not, you're focused on what's missing or what you like better, instead of what you have.
Level 1: Most ungrateful
You refuse to eat anything that isn't mind-numbingly stimulating. Foods and drinks that aren't processed or filled with sugar taste awful to you. You're angry when the foods you like aren't available, and you're disgusted by simple whole foods.
Let's be honest, if you're at level one and you're trying to lose weight or improve your health, it's not likely you'll succeed. People in this situation usually end up skipping meals, killing themselves on the treadmill, and eventually give up.
At the other end, it's obvious how someone with the highest level of gratitude could easily stick to a clean diet, and be happy at the same time. Being happy about your eating habits is the most important part when it comes to lasting success.
Where to begin
If you want to eat healthier, start by realizing how good you have it.
Think about it; the fact that we have access to an endless variety of wholesome foods from all over the world is a luxury that's only a few generations old. You can stop by the market whenever you like, and have access to more food than many unfortunate people could imagine.
There are plenty of examples like this, but don't take my word for it. Get out there and see for yourself. It needs to hit you on an emotional level for you to reach a deep sense of appreciation. This is the powerful feeling that can turn a bland vegetable into a vibrant, sweet, juicy treat with its own unique flavors and textures.
Travel, read the news, watch documentaries and study history. Do whatever you can to shift your mind into a higher level of gratitude.
Tomorrow, you'll be thankful that you did.
This article was originally published at www.eatplanima.ca.
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