Finding Peace With Food: Part 1 – read the first part of this series here!
1. Challenge the “Good vs. Bad” Food Concept.
How many times have you heard people comment on whether they were eating “good” for the day or “bad” for the day?
How many times have you felt guilt over eating a certain “bad” food?
How many times have you felt positively virtuous for eating “good” food, even when you didn’t like it?
Challenge these concepts.
A slice of pizza will not kill you. A hotdog won’t send you to cardiac rehab. The more you learn about nutrition, you’ll discover that some foods really are better for you than others. When eaten more often than other foods, they’ll make you feel amazing, full of energy, vibrant. But as soon as you label a food as “good” or “bad”, you’ve automatically taken the fun from food and replaced it with feelings of emotion that food was never meant to have.
2. Honor your hunger, respect your fullness.
Eating is really quite simple when broken down to the bare essentials.
Honor your hunger.
Respect your fullness.
This is a little harder to follow than it might at first appear. It’s easy to feel that we don’t deserve to eat, especially if it’s been only a couple of hours since our last meal. It’s also hard to respect our bodies by discontinuing to eat when we’ve truly had enough.
Nutrition is an important part of this, as fiber and protein will help to keep our bodies feeling full, even after we’ve eaten. However, these two steps can (and should!) apply to any meal that we choose to eat, whether it’s nutritionally balanced or not.
Step (1) is to find out how your body personally tells you that you’re hungry. For some, this is a slight headache. Others feel faint hunger pains in their stomach. Others feel more of a gnawing pain in their throat. Most people will experience the stomach signs, but pay attention to what it feels like for you and then honor it with either a small snack your a meal if it’s close to meal-time!
Step (2) is to respect your fullness. How do you know you’re full? Pay attention to what your body is saying throughout your meal and stop when you are 80-90% full. Eat slowly and put down your fork in between bites. Does the food still taste appetizing towards the end of the meal or are you just eating to clear things off your plate? Respect your body’s signs.
It’s important to note that you can’t have one of these steps without the other. If you deny your body food when its hungry, you’re going to feel the need to overcompensate when the next snack/meal rolls around.
3. Eat mindfully.
Mindful eating embodies the concept of being fully present with your meals. Honestly, we all have moments when we do have to grab and go, but we can each make it a point to have at least one sit down meal at the end of the day, when we are fully engrossed with our meal and good dinner time conversation…at the dinner table!
Ask yourself these questions to see if you are truly a mindful eater. Don’t judge yourself, as there are no right or wrong answers. This is simply a pathway to bring you towards being a more mindful eater, which will in turn develop a more definite peace with food.
When: Do you eat when you are emotionally stressed? Bored? Hungry? Tired?
Where: Do you eat in front of the tv? At your kitchen table? In your car?
Studies show that people eat more mindlessly when they are eating in front of the tv rather than at the table. How many times have you reached down into your popcorn bag at the movie theater, only to find it empty?
4. Broaden your food choices.
Don’t limit yourself to foods that are deemed to be “super foods.”
Try a new food each week and read up on ways to prepare it. Where does that food come from? Who developed it and what seasonings tend to enhance it?
Broaden your horizons and have fun!
You might hate that particular food; that’s okay! You might love that particular food; great!
5. Eat more veggies.
I try not to push any one food in particular.
Because it’s all a process…finding peace with food.
It’s a journey that only you can take for yourself, little by little.
I had to add this one step. Eat more veggies.
Because they’ll make you feel amazing. Truth be told, there’s more to a healthy, satisfying diet than vegetables. But it sure is a good place to start.
QUESTION: Which of these steps are you already following? Which ones are the most challenging for you?