Eat Like You Love Your Body
So many times, I see people who eat like they don’t like their body, they treat it poorly, not giving it the nourishment and care that it needs to perform at its best. I want you to think about a life of eating like you love yourself. Here’s what that means to me.
1. It means not skipping meals, just skipping the junk and the ultra processed 95% of the time.
I work with a lot of women who think if they eat less they’ll lose more. Not true. When you skip meals, your body over time goes into starvation mode, not knowing when the next meal will be and you start to store fat. You must eat to lose weight!
If you focus on eating as many wholefoods as you can and skip the junk and ultra processed foods that are full of sugar, fat and artificial substances, your body will thank you with more energy, better mood and over time a smaller waistline if that is the objective.
It’s stressful for your body’s internal system to skip meals so make sure you love it enough to keep it as happy as possible and working with you rather than against you.
2. It means treating food as your friend and not letting it be the enemy.
When you eat nutrient dense food you’ll notice within a week that you have more energy. Your body will be so much happier! You may start to lose the bloating that you have had, you most likely will lose a little weight and you’ll hopefully have an overall happier feeling and outlook. At this point you’ll realise that nourishing food is your friend, not the enemy standing between you and your health goals.
3. It means learning to listen to your body and learning which foods agree with you and which don’t.
When you love someone, you listen to them, you pay attention to how your actions impact them. The same listening and observing applies to our body after we eat. If you love your body and want it to perform at its best you need to observe which foods make you feel good and which foods make you feel awful (sluggish, bloated, irritable, nauseated) afterwards and alter your dietary pattern appropriately. You wouldn’t keep a friend in your life who made you feel bad so don’t keep foods in your life that don’t feel good for more than the 10 minutes that it took you to eat them.
If you need to, keep a food journal over 5-7 days to work out which foods may be triggering adverse reactions within your body (and mind).
4. It means getting social while eating.
I don’t mean social media—I mean real-life social, with people you can smell, touch, and see in 3-D. Instead of eating alone and taking photos of your food, try eating as many meals as possible with other people or your family.
Humans are social creatures, and food is one of our oldest ways to connect and commune. Food is so much more than mere nutrients—for centuries humans have used food to celebrate, connect, and share one of our great sensory pleasures together.
5. It means breathing and chewing.
We often rush through our meals, eat on the go, and scarf down our meals while distracted by the TV or while working at our desks. While this is bound to happen from time to time, taking time to breathe deeply while you’re eating and chew more fully can drastically improve not only how your food digests but also how it tastes.
6. It means making your food pretty (at least sometimes).
Digestion begins with your eyes, so try to make your food look appetising. Think of it this way: How would you plate food if you were making it for someone you loved? Would you put in a little extra effort to make sure it looked as delicious as it tastes?
Give yourself the same attention as someone you love. I’m not saying every meal needs to look like it belongs on Instagram, but put some effort into plating your food or pay someone else to by eating out every now and then.
7. It means preparing like you love yourself.
If you know you’re going to be out for the day, prepare yourself by keeping snack options on hand to prevent a hangry episode from coming on. Someone who eats like they love themselves isn’t trying to stay away from food. For someone who eats like they love themselves, food is an ally—a tool to help them feel strong, clear-headed, and capable of completing their tasks.
This doesn’t mean grazing throughout the day, it means listening to your hunger signals and having the right foods on hand when your body requires them.
9. It means forgiving your bad habits, but working on improving them each week.
We all have bad habits. One of mine was that I used a glass of wine as the entrée into my relaxation time after putting the kids to bed. I came to rely on this and found a few years back that it was moving from 1 wine to 2 wines and then another when my husband came home. Too much clearly for my small frame! It took time and a bit of reflection to discover that it was a habit that needed to be broken. To improve each week, I started with changing to a spritzer, then to carbonated water in a wine glass, then to carbonated water in any old glass. It wasn’t the wine that I needed, it was the focusing on something other than caring for others. Now I sit and read for 10 minutes or flick through social media to move myself from busy mum mode to relaxed night-time me.
To change bad habits, you must figure out WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, and then HOW can you change that. Then give yourself the time and space to do so without judgement. Nobody is perfect.
10. It means when you decide to splurge, you enjoy it, you don’t stress over it or feel guilty.
We can’t eat great all the time. There are birthday’s to celebrate and the holidays, and sometimes you just want that not so good for you chocolate cake or hot chips. It’s O.K! Have it! Splurge! BUT DON’T feel guilty for hours and days afterwards – that isn’t going to do you any good. Your state of mind plays an important role in your health. How you feel when you eat, plays an important role in how you digest your food.
When you’re happy and content your digestion works better than when you’re feeling guilty, shameful, and bad. If you’re eating 90% healthy and clean, then a splurge here and there isn’t going to hurt. So, get excited and enjoy it.
If you can, use these 10 thoughts as the starting point for how you are going to eat and treat yourself in a loving and caring way. Create your own manifesto. It doesn’t have to be extensive but it does need to ensure you treat yourself with the respect you (and your body) deserve.