Food and how to eat well are tricky topics for most people. With so many different approaches ranging from a strictly raw diet to being vegan to paleo and keto, it can be very confusing! My approach to food though is simple and broken down into the below guidelines.
Before diving in, just know that every body is different. What works for me may not work for you. Do what feels good for you.
Stop the cleanses
Cleanse has become such a negative word in the wellness community (with good reason in my opinion). That’s because it is generally wrapped up in some kind of “detox” juice cleanse with limited calories. Sure, maybe you may have been eating really heavy, processed meals or you may have been BFFs with salt but there isn’t a need for a drastic cleanse, in my opinion. Stay hydrated, move your body, and your body will naturally reset itself with time.
This is a far different approach for me, personally. I used to subscribe to the 7 day juice fast life but it didn’t do anything to my body in the long-term. If anything, it strengthened an unhealthy approach to how to live well.
Food is your friend
Food is not the enemy. You don’t have to cut it out. You don’t have to be restrictive and find yourself deprived of your favorite go-to’s. The minute you start to severely restrict yourself, you are more likely to binge later. I once used to restrict my calories quite a bit (while also working out for two hours a day) and even though my body was craving carbs I would fight it and either skip a meal or eat a simple salad and go to bed hungry. On the weekend I would then go all out and order pizza, drink alcohol, and go the other extreme. Approach food as your friend, it’s not ever working against you. Food is meant to nourish you, support you, and fuel you through your day.
Listen to yourself first
Listen to your gut. Your body knows when you need to fuel up more, when you need to eat more protein or fiber, or when you need to add more greens. When you subscribe to someone else’s diet or way of living you run the risk of not listening to what your body is telling you.
Pay attention when you’re eating. Pay attention to when you’re full or when you may need more on your plate. If you are mindlessly scrolling or working on the computer as you eat, then you may not be fully present with what your body’s needs are.
Also when looking at your plate – are you mindful with the types of food that you are consuming? Sometimes I look down and think, ‘Wow, my plate is very brown’. So if I notice something like this, I like adding more color to my plate so I can be more mindful with getting the proper nutrients!
Respect your body
You will never look like the person next to you or the Instagram model with a million followers. You are you and that is your power. Respect what your body needs and what it looks like. All bodies are good bodies. When you approach your body with this mindset, this will help you as you approach your food choices. Do you find yourself restricting your food choices because you want to fit into a different size? Respect who you are and what your own needs are. If you have trouble in believing this, positive affirmations have helped me discover my worth.
Honor your journey
There is no such thing as a “perfect” way to eat. Make choices along the way that honor where you are at in your journey. I have personally been on a journey to reducing the amount of gluten in my diet (due to an autoimmune disease and by the recommendation of my medical doctor and nutritionist). I used to get down on myself if I “slip” but there’s no such thing as slipping if you approach your journey with food as one meal at a time. It’s all about progress (not perfection) toward a healthier way of living.
I hope that these guidelines help you approach food and eating in a healthier way!