In case you haven’t noticed, nutrition has become a vast vortex of confusion, frustration, restriction and guilt. We’ve lost the ability to truly tune into our unique bodies’ needs and cues and as a consequence are feeling overwhelmed and for many of us, we have simply lost the ‘joy of eating’.
I’m here to tell you that nutrition is not black and white and believe it or not, it’s actually quite simple. When done correctly, it’s about loving and embracing not just yourself but all foods and about movement that makes you feel good rather than as a punishment for eating a pie.
So how can you begin to take care of yourself without falling for those springtime beach body fads and detox disasters?
Tune into your food and body cues. Sometimes by simply breaking the ‘highway hypnosis” of eating, you can completely change your relationship with food and the amounts that you consume. When it comes to nutrition, awareness is key.
One way of doing this is to practice pausing whenever you’re about to eat and ask yourself “Am I Hungry”? If so, eat mindfully and gratefully (see tip #2).
If you’re not hungry, this is a great time to ask yourself what it is that you actually need. Is it a nap? A drink of water? A hug from a friend? Truth is, if you’re not hungry in the first place, no amount of food will satisfy.
Eat mindfully. This doesn’t mean you have to chew your food 35 times per bite! Eating mindfully simply involves sitting at an actual table or bench, removing distractions and paying attention to the act of eating. By doing so, you’re better able to pay attention to hunger and fullness cues – and if you’re a foodie like me, you’re going to enjoy your meal that much more.
Add-in! Everywhere you look there is someone telling you to quit this or that. Whether it be meat, salt, fat, or sugar it seems that there is always something out there you should ‘fear’ if you want to be well.
Truth is, there is no one food in isolation that can cause you harm (unless of course, you’re allergic) and so gentle nutrition is not about what you don’t have but what you can add-in. Variety is the key to getting the nutrients your body needs, so experiment with new sources of protein, veggies, fruit, fats and carbohydrates. Look at opportunities to ‘add in’ rather than take away.
Practice compassion. Did you overdo it? Did you eat something that made you feel guilty? Turn that shame into compassion and respond to difficult situations with a spirit of kindness, warmth and love. Seek to learn from this situation and understand what triggered I rather than judging it harshly (which in itself can trigger unwanted eating). Time and time again compassion comes out as the ruling determinant when it comes to making a change that will last a lifetime.
- Michelle Yandle is an international speaker, author, nutrition coach and online educator empowering people to have healthy bodies without comprising a healthy relationship with food. You can find her at www.michelleyandle.com