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Recognizing what keeps us from eating better

Actually, we know exactly how to eat healthier and better. Less sugar, salt and fat, but more vegetables and fruit and smaller portions. Nevertheless, we often find it difficult to eat better. Numerous researchers have studied the influences that control our eating behaviour. Knowing these factors helps us to eat better.


Our self-control is not an inexhaustible reservoir. Every time we deny ourselves something, we consume that resource. If it is still easy for us to do without the croissant in the morning and we still say no to our colleague’s birthday cake with a smile in the afternoon, our self-control may already be exhausted in the evening and instead of preparing a salad, we reach for bread, cheese and red wine. It is important to recognise this and to try to recharge our batteries. The best remedy is sleep.


The more we distract ourselves from eating, the more difficult it is to maintain self-control and the risk increases that we will resort to more salt, sugar or fat, or eat larger quantities than usual. Examination situations or other tensions lead us to eat fat, salty and sweet foods in large quantities and find it difficult to stop, as our sense of taste is reduced. Greater attentiveness is especially important in times of stress, when our reservoir of self-control is used up even more quickly. Here it helps to become aware that attacks of ravenous hunger are a consequence of other stress situations in which our intensity of taste and our sense of hunger is reduced. Becoming aware that we are currently in a very stressful situation helps to be more attentive and to very consciously use healthy food as a counter-strategy.

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Friends and family members have a great influence on what and how much we eat. We feel less guilty when others tempt us to give up self-control and sin in society. On the other hand, there are also fellow human beings who can support us in our efforts to eat healthier food. Here a fine radar helps us to recognize who is helping us to eat better and who will try to stop us by saying “You must be able to treat yourself”. With the former, it is worth sharing the goal of “eating better”, with the latter, you prefer to remain silent and distract from your intentions by intensive conversation at the table, and only reach out unnoticed to those things that are good for you.

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