There’s so many “rules” on how to be healthy. And I get it…it can get majorly confusing. Like, majorly! But can I share a secret with you…it doesn’t have to be hard. Today I’m talking about how to be more in tune with what your body needs, rather than just eating to eat. I’m sharing the best diet advice you’ll ever hear.
Ok, so you’ve been around the block with a few health magazines and self-cure books. You’ve done your research, just trying to be healthy and live a few extra years…maybe.
But there’s not many diet or self-help books out there that teach what I’m talking about today. And honestly, I don’t know why this isn’t more widely talked about. Maybe it’s because it’s too easy. There’s no formulation. It’s not, “Eat a grapefruit and egg whites in the morning, this magic protein shake for lunch, and a bland chicken breast and veggies for dinner…don’t you even think about touching that white potato. Maybe you can have a sweet potato. But definitely not a white potato or bread, heavens no!”
I’m sure you’ve read similar plans to that. Maybe you researched your favorite celebrity to see what they were eating on the day to day and tried that for yourself. But none of the things you’ve tried really changed your body. And they definitely didn’t make you feel any better…more likely, they made you feel worse.
People try to over-complicate health and nutrition, giving themselves all of these rules of what is and isn’t healthy. And this is all always changing as well, which makes it more confusing. One day eggs are the source of all heart disease, the next day they’re curing heart disease. Not long ago, fat was scorned upon and today it’s encouraged. If you keep trying to keep up with all of the fads, you’ll likely find yourself feeling more lost and confused and unhappy at the end…the opposite of what your hope was.
But I said I had a secret to all this healthy eating stuff, and I do. Well, it’s really no secret. It’s pretty obvious. But maybe so obvious that people look over it in search for something that takes more effort.
Here it is…
Listen to Your Body.
Your body is an incredible being, created with each square inch having a specific function. And with that, your body has ways to tell you how it needs to be fed. Don’t believe me?
Listen to your cravings.
After working out, what do you crave? Most people will say they crave carbs and protein. Not so much craving fruits and vegetables. Your body has just done some intense training and work and needs calories from carbs and protein to replenish it’s stores. And how about a week on the road? Your diet may have included a lot of fast food and quick meals. Most likely you’ll come home and long for salad and lean foods.
These are just a few examples, but hopefully you get the picture. Hopefully you have just had a little light bulb go off. Ding! You remember those times your body was speaking to you and letting you know what it needed, what it was lacking. Hopefully you listened, but maybe you didn’t. Either way, now you know.
Think about how what you eat affects you.
I’ve noticed a major change in how I feel every day when I take time to listen to my body. But this takes time and practice. I’m trying to be more intentional in taking time to think about what I’m eating as I eat it. Along those lines, I also try to eat slower and more mindfully (as a nurse, it’s easy to always rush to eat just out of habit). But also, I really try to not get caught up in all the “eat this, not that” that circulates the news, and instead focus on eating whole and as close to the earth as possible. Foods that are fun and that I love. For meals, I try to include a combination of all food groups: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fruits and veggies. No one category is “off limits” because our bodies need each just as much.
Like I said, eating well is simple. It takes time and planning, but isn’t as complicated as some people try to make it. It’s not about eating grass fed vs. organic vs. plain old store bought. It’s about eating to fuel your body, to feel well, and to enjoy life.
Be in tune with your body.
Think about your meal before you eat it. Slow down while you’re eating. Notice how you feel while you’re eating. Take note of how you feel 30 mins after eating. Listen to your cravings, respect what your body desires. Enjoy the process. Enjoy how it feels to feed your body good nutrition not out of a mindset of restriction, but out of conviction.
Do you know what will happen when you start living in this manner? You’ll find yourself free to enjoy food with friends and family without feeling the need to count calories or skip on dessert. You’ll know your limitations and have strength to eat until full instead of binging or restricting. You’ll find that your energy will surge because you’re feeding your body exactly what it needs. You’ll be happier without having constant thoughts of dieting. You’ll have more time for the things that matter.
I hope you’ll begin this journey with me towards mindful eating. I hope you’ll find freedom when you listen to your body and feed yourself well. And yes, it’s a journey. It takes time and probably a lot of “mess ups”. But there’s no true mess ups here! Just progress. And it’s a beautiful one, at that. And trust me, listening to your body is the only “diet” that works.
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