When making a change and deciding to choose a different life path, it is important to start by identifying the problems you face and then begin eliminating ones that are destructive to your health. First things first, figure out what is a vice and what is a bad habit then figure out which vices are good for you and which are bad for you. I mean, of course, simply by its definition alone a vice is not “good” for you so to speak, but there are those which are acceptable and those which are not. In life it is important to allow yourself certain temptations in order to feel that you are living. If you deprive yourself completely, then the mindset becomes one of deprivation, once you think you are being deprived it is only natural that you will then do the opposite and indulge more than you should.

My favourite “vices” are coffee, chocolate and really good red wine. All of which in moderation are acceptable, but it is important to find a balance and therefore, to not overindulge. Coffee is totally acceptable as long as you don’t drink too much of it, then it is to be enjoyed. If you find yourself not sleeping, or becoming overly stressed because of it (which can then affect your nervous system and your release of certain hormones) you should cut down the number you drink a day. The same goes for wine and chocolate; the important thing to remember is that both of these have sugar which generally should be avoided, but if you can manage to incorporate them in a balanced and measured way then the hope is that you won’t gorge yourself on either (well at least start to do it less).

Now, you want to start down a new path of whole foods and balance and begin to feel younger and more energetic!!! Well the first step is to stop eating past the point of being satiated and feeling so full that you can’t lie down. Interestingly in Italy, when you are sitting at the dinner table and the host offers you more food it is rude to say “no thank you, I am full”. Instead, if you must say anything, you say “sono sazia” which means I am satiated. The point being is that it is rude to be “FULL”, and instead you should be happy with what you have eaten and feel as if you have enjoyed the meal rather than the need to unbutton your pants!!!

As a result of stress and convenience, we are faced with the modern concept of people getting home after work, and finding solace in sitting on the couch and eating all the things that make them feel relaxed and safe after a crappy day at work. The same trigger and response mechanisms – stress, safety, convenience – contribute to overeating and overdrinking, and the first step in addressing these issues is to recognize the catalyst.

First step on your path to balance, figure out what the triggers are…once you know them then you can avoid them and pre-empt the bad behaviour before it happens.

Once you have figured these out,  you must then find ways of combating them head on. If you are faced with a stressful situation at work and the only thing you see is a big fat cookie, turn away from the computer screen and go outside for a walk. Once you stand up and start to move you will realize it is not hunger you feel but some other emotion, which you can then hone in on and instead of escaping with food embrace and start to figure it out. If you feel lonely or sad and you want to find solace in food then take a bath or call a friend or go to the movies. Whatever it is for you that helps you feel safe find that thing and instead of stuffing your face choose the healthier and happier option.