How do you know if the way you eat, your ‘diet’ for lack of a better term, is supporting your health or causing you the kind of stress that keeps you from sticking to your goals?
At it’s most basic, eating serves to keep us alive with balanced nutrients from a wide variety of whole food sources. This is obvious with children when concerned parents try to get picky kids to eat anything beyond crackers, string cheese and peanut butter in an attempt to broaden their nutrition during developmental years. But as adults we rarely give ourselves the same concern. I regularly hear my clients limiting their food to scant breakfasts, haphazard lunches and dinners that focus on what they aren’t eating rather than what they are. They become fixated on ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food unfortunately without much idea about what defines either. This negative focus is stressful and muddies our intuition about what would most nourish us. Creating a diet around limits and negativity has been proven time and again to lead to the binges that started the quest for a healthy diet in the first place.
Instead of a diet full of no’s and yes’s, the food you eat can be food you look forward to. It can, in fact, be easy because it is the way you nourish yourself, the way you live. Changing your perspective from stress and judgment to ease and self knowledge ie building your internal intuition, takes time but the pay off is freedom from looking at every meal as either a good or bad choice and letting go of the shame, judgment and all too often binge routine that follows.
Try answering these questions and see where they lead you. Stay curious rather than judgmental. Go through them a few times and let the answers change as you shift your perspective. See them as a starting point towards self-nourishment not self-limitation.
1. Are you eating on some sort or plan or routine? i.e. is there a structure you are trying to follow? Or foods or food groups you try to include or avoid?
2. If yes does this structure make your life easier ie does it feel supportive and even enjoyable or is it complicated, stressful, overwhelming even potentially isolating ie “ I can’t go out bc I can only eat xyz or can’t eat xyz’
3. If no, is having no structure making your life easier? Is it supportive to your health and wellness goals? Does it make your day-to-day eating enjoyable?
o If you aren’t following a specific structure how do you make choices around what you eat? Hunger level? Time of day? Food available or Food craved? Energy level?
4. Where did you get your ideas about how you should eat? Mom and Dad? A Magazine? A nutritionist? A doctor? A friend you think seems healthy? A book? Your intuition? Or have you never really thought about how you eat?
5. Do you have health and wellness goals? i.e. body fat loss, muscle building, energy, better sleep, getting off a medication or controlling or eliminating a chronic health issue?
6. If yes: do you think the way you eat is supporting these goals? If yes, how do you know these goals are being met?
7. If you have a goal and you think the way you eat is not supporting these goals, how do you know your goals are not being met and how do you know that the way you eat is the cause? Look out for self judgment without factual proof here...
8. What was the last good meal you had? Did you make it? Order it? Did a friend make it?
9. What foods do you consider really yummy? Do you eat these regularly? Daily?
10. What foods do you not like? How often have you tried them? Have you tried making them yourself? Have you tried eating them when you cook them according to a recipe?
11. What does your favorite foods or meal remind you of?
12. What do the foods you don’t like remind you of?
13. What would you like out of your diet? How would you like to experience your food and the act of eating every day?
After considering these questions try shaping the way you eat from a more intuitive place, without judgmental terms. See if following some of the answers you came up with frees you from a cycle of no’s and limits to one based on nourishment, ease and…surprise a more a nourished life.
If you are looking for professional guidance, feel free to contact me at the studios to set up a Holistic Health session.