Think Before You Eat
If you’re looking to change your food habits, I recommend the first thing to do is pause. Take a moment to consider the motive behind your journey and not just the goal. In other words, think about how the steps you will take to reach this goal will show your body kindness in the moment.
I say this because it’s easy to get caught up in doing whatever it takes to get results as soon as possible. It’s always good to check in and ask if your body is feeling happy now. After all, we want happiness, right? A happy life guides a healthy life in the long run.
It is possible to push through whatever means and keep up your goal for an extended period. I just believe that loving your body at the same time makes for a more positive experience.
Since I’m not an expert, I’m not going to tell you what you need in your life. That’s not what this blog post is about anyway. Only you can know the best way to love yourself. Instead I’m going to share an exercise that helped me with food mindfulness a few years ago.
My advice to you is get yourself a food education. Learn the impact of your consumption and from there make an intentional new life choice. Keep reading to see what I mean by this.
If you’re looking for something easy, I’ve written a post on my favorite ‘Lazy Foods’ that you can find here.
Learn How Food Affects You
We all know to eat less sugar and more vegetables. But the reason to do so goes far beyond our weight. Everything we eat alters our body’s functionality. If we pay attention, we discover how food impacts the way we think, feel, move, and respond to the world.
So basically your mom was right; you are what you eat.
I initially treated this like a science experiment, introducing one change at a time and writing down my findings. It was fairly underwhelming at first, however some things surprised me. Such as mixing coconut oil in my coffee removes the acidity, subsides the ill feeling in my stomach if I drink too much and moistens my lips.
If you aren’t sure about a food’s health benefits (or drawbacks), a quick google search can give you a good start. However, no two people are the same, so you’ll need to experiment to become especially savvy.
As a bonus, the more we practice this, the more power we have to know exactly what our bodies need at any given time! The key is to learn our unique dietary needs by paying attention to the signals our body sends us. From there, we can begin to build our dream meal plan/cleanse/life diet or whatever works for you.
If you haven’t taken this step and you’re confused like I was, definitely put down the juice machine and walk out of Target. Before taking a big leap, eat on it.
Below I have included some silly examples. They are mostly for fun.
You worked hard all day long. Finally home, you eat a slice of cheese stuffed oven-cooked pizza while binging Stranger Things. You instantly feel cheery and energized, but maybe at the end of the episode you feel sluggish and your mind gets foggy. You sigh as you get up to press the “Yes, I’m Still Watching” button.
Since you’re up, you grab another slice of pizza. And by slice, I mean what’s left of the pie so you don’t take anymore time away from learning the secrets of The Upside Down. You eat more pizza and you feel happier, but a few minutes later you feel more lethargic. Lucky for you, you’re not going anywhere.
When you finally decide to go to bed or pass out on the couch, you feel sleepy, but notice you’re having a difficult time winding down your brain. You wake up a few times in the night and figure that last episode of Stranger Things was a little freaky and must have gotten to you. Nope! This is simply a prime example of late night sugar overload.
[Photo by Dan Gold]
The next morning, you still feel exhausted. Lucky for you, it’s Saturday and you have lots of time for yourself! There is no more pizza leftover to boost you through the morning blues, but there is plenty of kale. Yeah…it’s not as exciting. Your brain won’t get the same sugar kick and you’re not totally into it, but you throw two cups of fresh kale on the side with your usual over-easy egg.
In an hour you feel energized and your mind is sharp. When you get hungry again, you still don’t feel like chomping down on leaves, but you have some kale leftover from breakfast. You grab another cup of kale and mix it with the leftovers along with some feta, sliced almonds, cranberries and homemade honey-lemon dressing. YUM!
Thirty minutes later, you have found your groove. Nothing can distract you from finishing that project you put off earlier. You’re super motivated and actually finish the task at hand in less time than expected! You think about all the activities you could take on with this newly found free time. You’re in the mood to make extra good choices so you finally settle on trying that homemade face mask you’ve been thinking of making. Best day ever!
Okay, that was an extreme contrast, but it’s the beginning of food awareness. Happy eating!