I’ve come to realise, after almost a decade of doing this nutrition gig, the whole health thing isn’t really about what you eat. Well… It is but it isn’t. You see, what you eat is important, but what you eat isn’t really about…. What you eat. Confused? I would be too! What I really mean is that what you eat is actually driven by:
-How you feel about your body.
-How you manage your stress and emotions.
-How you’re making space for yourself in all areas of your life.
-Your own body intuition.
So if you’ve been on this merry go round for a while… Maybe it’s time to look beyond the next meal plan or the next challenge and examine what’s actually driving ‘what you eat.’
How you feel about your body.
Food is fundamentally a pretty amazing life force. The real stuff is full of colour, nutrients, energy and vitality. But often we don’t see food in this light. Instead we see it in black and white: good or bad? Low or high calorie? Non fat or high fat? We see it as a step towards our physical body goals… Or blame it as the reason we aren’t achieving said body goals. The irony is, thanks to a lot of external noise, most of our ‘body goals’ aren’t ‘our’ body goals at all – they are a goal to look like (at least in part) someone else. Someone we don’t even know and who doesn’t even look that way without a professional photographer, the right lighting and 100 take 2s. If we instead just… Accepted and made peace with our bodies and where they are now, we’d be far more likely to choose foods to nourish and nurture our physical bodies. We’d respect food for all that it actually is.
How you manage stress and emotions.
There isn’t really a way to manage stress or emotions through food… Or drink (specifically alcohol) for that matter. If you’re turning to food immediately when stressed or upset, it’s a diversion to avoid confronting the actual emotion and what’s driving it in the first place. This falls beyond my scope of practice… I can only help to identify emotional eating, I can’t really treat it. Except to say that it’s not going to go away unless it’s really dealt with and this is where a good mental health professional can help. Or other lifestyle interventions like walking regularly, meditation, yoga and even just a simple hug.
How you’ve made space for yourself in all areas of your life.
This one might seem a little strange but I see it time and time again. Lots of people want to look after themselves better… But there still looking for the quickest and easiest way to ‘feel better.’ There’s no real time or space in their lives to actually fundamentally change. One of the first things I’ll ask most clients to do is get properly hydrated. I’m often challenged on this from the get go because too many people claim they don’t have time to drink water and they don’t have time to wee that much. See what I mean? Similarly, if we know nourishing food takes time to prepare and we aren’t carving out that time to do it, then there’s no space here for the behaviour change in the first place. Are we actually living in line with the value of health and self respect overall? It’s a big question! Think about it.
Your own body intuition.
Our own innate body intuition is largely ignored these days. Mainly because we are subjected constantly to external influencers telling US what we need and how much. How can someone who does not even know you apparently know your body better than you, may I ask? When put in this way, it really does seem quite silly hey? It’s ok. We’re all falling for it! Get back in tune with YOU. Yes you can seek professional guidance but marry this with your own body intuition for real success.
These days it’s all about the ‘now,’ the overnight success, the faster the better etc. But true change is behavioural and comes from looking at things from a completely different perspective. Be a rebel and play the long game. If we practiced a bit of self love, even just body neutrality, we’d fundamentally change what we ate for the better. If we identified our stresses and worked through our emotions instead of eating them, we wouldn’t turn to food as a diversion tactic. We have to make space to take better care of ourselves in all areas of our lives for a change to occur in the kitchen. And finally, we need to honour the fact that we know ourselves better than anyone else. That is how you fundamentally and truly change what you eat.