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A useful guiding principle in promoting behaviour change to improve metabolic health is to ‘Make the Healthy Option the Easy Option’. However, changing food behaviour habits is not easy, particularly if people feel they have to forego something they perceive to be very pleasant for something they initially think of as less pleasant. Moreover, healthy eating is often perceived by people to require large doses of cognitive restriction that demands an effort and which may weaken over time (although it should be said that some people can make this work). An interesting concept is that eating healthily does not mean eating less. Indeed it can involve eating a larger weight or volume of food. The trick is that the foods consumed must be of a lower energy density – and fruits and vegetables are ideal for this purpose. When simply incorporated into an eating pattern, fruit and vegetables lower the overall energy density (and usually also the total energy consumed), but the effect is of course much greater if they displace from the diet some high energy dense foods. A ‘mindful’ approach to eating is helpful, and developing a healthy snacking habit can have an impact on the overall diet composition. As with every approach however, there is not one model for all. A healthy food intake is linked to a person’s body composition and to the amount of energy expended (particularly physical activity).
Behaviour change is not easy; education can go so far but food knowledge alone is not enough. We need to know ‘what’ to change but also ‘how to’. What is an easy choice for one person may not be the easy choice for another.
”Problems should not be interpreted as burdens; they are opportunities to show what a good person you can be”.