I'll start this with a straight-up confession. I have not always had the healthiest relationship with food and certainly not with my body. While I've never had an "eating disorder", I have always been very conscious of what I eat, sometimes to the point of criticizing myself and experiencing major guilt. Some would say that is an eating disorder in itself and if you would have asked me a few years back, I might have wondered if those people were right. Today I am still careful and aware of what I eat. The difference is that now that includes being aware on the days I wolf down the glazed donut or the amazing piece of pie that I will rarely if ever, say no to; all without criticizing myself and with being able to enjoy every last bite. Do you want to know a secret? That is TOTALLY okay and actually a healthy way to eat. Today I'm going to give you just a few pointers to help you love your food and let your food love you right back in a physically and mentally healthy way that allows you to love yourself and reach your health goals. Are you ready?
I would be lying if I said I didn't have occasional food guilt. There are days where I go hog wild, eat all the desserts, and end up feeling stuffed and miserable because everything was SO GOOD. I think it happens to nearly all of us here and there. When I have a day like that, I definitely give myself enough physical torture (I HATE to feel really full!) but I am also able to let it go and move on the next day. In the past, I would have mentally tortured myself for several days. If this sounds like you and you are holding onto the feelings of disgust over what you ate yesterday, or you're punishing yourself for what has long since digested, you are doing more harm than good to your body and slowing down reaching your goals. Yesterday's food is today's energy so it's time to use it to fuel you, not throw you into a downward spiral of self-shame and punishment. Not only is it in the past but you amping up your stress level which is health killer number one! We will talk about stress another day but I'm here to tell you that one of the things I focus a lot on in my coaching is how to eat happily and how to lower stress in your life. You'd be amazed at what stress reduction alone will do for your appetite and your health goals.
Food was meant to nourish us, of course, but it has also always been a way to bring us together in celebration as well. Whether you are sitting down alone to a bowl of Rice Krispies with Strawberries on top or a plate chicken parmesan at a restaurant with friends, whatever you are eating and whomever you are eating with (even if you're only company are Snap, Krackle, and Pop), enjoy it! Be grateful for the food in front of you. Notice how it looks and how those little Krispies snap, crackle and pop in the bowl. Look at the colors and savor the smell of the marinara and chicken. When you take a bite, breathe. Chew. Slow down. Taking the time to enjoy every single bite turns your meal an event instead of a checkmark on a to-do list. Eating and enjoying your food, taking your time, and relishing every bite takes an often hurried and mindless task and turns it into a celebration of the senses that you will remember. How often have you wondered if you even bothered to eat lunch? Make your meals count and be grateful for all that comes with the act of eating.
Finally, listen to YOUR body. Not your sister's or your neighbor's or whatever the advertisement on social media is telling you. Your metabolism is not their's, nor are your situations, your habits, or your "perfect". When you finally let go and listen to your body and what it wants instead of what someone else tells you it needs, you're freeing yourself to enjoy your food and your life again. The next time you go out with friends, don't fret over the menu. Make the best choice you can, savor the food, the company, and the experience. Stressing over a menu that doesn't line up with your "diet" plan or your points ruins the meal and your relationship with your food. I promise you that, with practice, you really can learn what foods and feelings are meant to nourish you and what foods and feelings are causing you grief. It is so simple and takes only a few days of normal eating.
And finally, if you notice yourself reaching for food when you're not hungry, we need to talk about personal nourishment. During my health coaching sessions, we dig deep into what needs to be nourished in your life beyond food. If that sounds like something you'd like to explore, I would love to spend some time chatting with you. We'll talk about your frustrations, your goals, and find at least one easy way in 45 minutes that you can start listening to your body to feed it and your life. You can click here to schedule a time to talk or call/text me at 260-222-8323 to set up a phone call. You have so much potential and freedom waiting for you.