Summer is officially hitting us here in the Southern hemisphere this Monday, although we've already had a good taste of Summer weather. The cicadas are well and truly chirping, shopping centres have broken out the Bing Crosby and you can buy mangoes for $12 a tray at the fruit market.
The change from cool to warm weather is one that many, including myself, look forward to with much anticipation. Food-wise we move from soups and roasts to salads and BBQs, from stewed fruit and porridge to tropical fruits and muesli. Seasonal influences on our food choices are quite obvious and logical, but have you ever stopped to think how our eating habits change when going through other changing 'seasons' in our lives? Finishing school, starting uni, starting a new job, moving house, getting married, having kids, having kids move out, retiring - these are just a few examples of life's changing 'seasons' that can cause major changes to our food and eating habits.
When these changes happen, we are (understandably) most likely preoccupied with our new circumstances to pay a great deal of attention to how eating or exercise habits are being affected. It's often not until much later, in reflection, we can see the link between changing life events and changing habits. Some areas that can be impacted by life changes include:
- time spent commuting
- time available for leisure activities
- foods purchased based on family needs or preferences
- work related activity levels
- enthusiasm for preparing meals for few people
- time available for shopping and cooking
If you are trying to make positive changes to your eating or exercising habits, looking back and identifying turning points in the past can provide useful insights. Here are some great questions you can consider:
- Was there a particular life stage, event or circumstance in my past that caused a change in the way I ate or the way I was active?
- Before this event, what factors made it easier for me to make healthy choices?
- In the present moment, what challenges do I face in making healthier choices?
- Are there any strategies I can put into place to overcome the current challenges?
- What can I learn about maintaining healthy habits, by looking back at past events?
It's useful to remember that making changes to your diet is not just about knowing what to eat. Magazines, television and the internet are choc full of people ready to tell you what to eat, while a great Dietitian or Health Professional will not only look at the what, but also the how, when, where and why.