Healthy Eating : Let’s Talk About Food Relationships
If healthy eating is on your list of things to focus on, many of us are right there with you!
Food relationships are an integral part of our mental health, life enjoyment and overall well-being. Feeling off-balance in our food relationships or healthy eating habits makes us less able to truly enjoy our lives, our bodies, and our community.
When we establish healthy eating, healthy food relationships, and moderation habits, beyond allergies and cultural or religious practices, there are truly not many “limits” we need to put on ourselves as to what is “good“ or “bad“ for us to eat. Food in and of itself is not good or bad; but our habits are.
Healthy eating and food relationship success is part imagination, part commitment, and part innovation. To be successful on a healthy diet, or to build successful habits, plan to take baby steps, do a little planning, and be committed to making changes with small habits. (I’ll help you there, keep reading!)
As with establishing any new habit, try to take it slow. Throughout the process of choosing healthy foods, remember to listen to and connect with your body, heart and soul. You are not just a GI tract! If hormones, a bad day, hangriness or preoccupation finds you veering off track, stop, take a few minutes to check in with yourself, and try a readjustment. If you’ve walked through the store and found yourself loading up the basket with candy or chips during a meltdown, we’ve all been there. Try to reset and seek out healthier but still yummy options, like a green juice, unsalted nuts, or veggies and hummus instead.
Some sources cite that if you’re observing a healthy eating diet that restricts certain foods, such as sweets, carbs or fats, it can be okay to allow for one meal or one day off from this routine, where you’re allowed to eat pretty much anything your heart, soul and body craves— no excuses, no exceptions, no rules, to better stay on track.
I agree with this and find that it works really well for me. Life happens, and just as self care is important, so is showing up fully for celebrations, vacations, special occasions or gathering with friends without the preoccupation of calorie-counting. There’s nothing more boring to me than sitting down with a group of people to eat and they immediately start talking about how they need to not eat this or that or to lose weight.
If you’re a foodie, a day or meal off from a restrictive diet takes eating your favorite meal or sweet dessert from the guilt or shame-ridden experience of “I shouldn’t be having this,” to the joyful experience of “I made space in my life for this enjoyment.” It deepens your appreciation for unusual meals, making it a truly special experience when you decide to indulge. Plus, you won’t be boring — or worse, shaming — your friends with ‘negative foodspeak’.
For Keto diets, I’ve also pinned many Ketogenic recipes, though I tend to eat far less meat fat and dairy fat than a Keto diet suggests. I usually modify these to have more lean protein and veggies (with the exception of this Parmesan-crusted fish, or my own low-carb cabbage rolls, which I could almost eat every day). Good fats to choose include fish, olive oil, nuts and avocado.
if you’re trying Whole30, some of these recipes will work for you, but to me, Whole30 is a bit like Food Prison; though the professed goal of Whole30 is to improve your habits, detox from sugar, or perhaps isolate allergies, I personally find it borderline neurotic. It looks at exclusion rather than inclusion, which can actually create or cement unhealthy food relationships and set some of us up for failure ( rebels and Enneagram 7s, you are my people).
A strict NO to certain foods over an extended period of time, except under medical or religious circumstances, can make us feel shame, deprivation and cravings for foods we “can’t have.” Could you feel truly engaged, relaxed and in joy for a month without cheese, a glass of wine, a bite of dessert, or even tofu? Me, neither — life is hard enough, thank you. But if Food Prison sounds like it’s doable and you feel it’s what you need, go for it. It’s very healthy!
Practicing healthy eating, paying attention to food relationships and learning meal planning is part of my January Mind Body Heart Reset, which you can start anytime, any month or any day. It offers one micro-task per day which, if accomplished by you, allows you to take a break from life and to home in on your creativity, mind-body connection, goals, and overall appreciation for and enjoyment of life.
If you have specific goals for this year, be it nutrition, relationships, fitness, career or otherwise, my confidence coaching can help you achieve these goals, as they have for many others. Curious? Take my free quiz to see if coaching is right for you!
Always cheering you on,