Labelling food good and bad can be useful sometimes to reset your boundaries around what foods you prefer to eat, and by what criteria you choose to set those labels. However often labelling food just becomes another tool we can use to beat ourselves up with.
When you eat a “bad” food, do you feel guilty, like you’ve “blown it” and you might as well finish the packet now so you don’t eat them later? This is a classic psycho-eating pattern, that has come about just because of that simple label: this is a bad food.
What if all foods were not good or bad, it were simply a choice for the nourishment of your body?
If every food is an option, and there are no diets and labels to guide you, how do you choose? By LISTENING TO YOUR BODY! By discovering for yourself what truly nourishes you. If you learn to tune into the subtle signals your body gives you and honour them, you will find becoming slim a much easier and less drama-filled journey. Nourishing food is often nutrient dense, crisp, fresh, tasty, colourful, bursting with life. This kind of nourishing food makes you feel nourished inside and out. It serves your body and gives you energy and healthful vitality. Food that does not nourish you will make you feel sluggish, slow, stuffed, fuzzy-headed.
You’re out with your closest friends, at a beautiful restaurant and you’ve had a delicious, nourishing meal, though you’re not stuffed, and you want to share a delicious looking dessert with your friend. Ask yourself: Does this nourish me? It may, or it may not. You might decide that you’d really love a taste of that dessert and would like to share it with your friend. So order it, and have a bite, and notice if it does nourish you. Sometimes what is really nourishing is the act of sharing, talking and experiencing new things. So have a bite or two, nourish yourself with that experience. Feel good about it. And when you’re satisfied, (which you will notice is probably quicker when you focus on enjoying the experience without all the guilt) put your fork down.
You’re eating out at a buffet, and your eyes are bigger than your stomach. You load up your plate and get back to the table. You enjoy and feel nourished by about half your plate, chewing slowly because you’re focused on the nourishment and enjoyment. Then you notice a change, you’ve had enough. So you ask, does it nourish me to keep going to finish my plate? In that case the answer is almost definitely NO. No matter how healthy whatever is left on your plate, you’ve had enough. Any more would not nourish you, it would simply stuff you and make you sluggish and tired, slowing your metabolism and stretching your stomach. Ick. Put your fork down, satisfied that you’ve nourished yourself completely.
You’re in the food court in your lunch break trying to decide what to have, as you walk past and look at the options, you imagine eating the food that’s on offer and you ask yourself, “would that nourish me?” Imagine yourself after having eaten that food, are you sluggish or energized? Pick the one that energizes and nourishes you!
You do not need to finish your plate. Give yourself permission to leave things on your plate. It will not make a tiny bit of difference to the “starving children in Africa” if you finish your plate or not. If you are concerned, sponsor a child. Eat less, and donate the money. Do not continue to choose to stuff yourself for some misguided parental saying.
When you focus on “nourish” then you must listen to your body to find out the answer. You must hear, feel, notice all the signs your body gives you to give you the answer, eventually you will get so in tune with yourself that you may even hear a simple, yes, or no from your unconscious mind.
Focus on the nourishment, skip the drama about food. Dramatising how you eat food in your mind will not serve you in your weight loss journey. Food is just food, it is a choice for the nourishment of the cells of your body. That is all. Ideally, you want to get the maximum nourishment and long term benefit for everything you consume. Poor food choices are like toxic credit card debt borrowing from your future health. Nourishing healthy food choices are like saving and investing, creating health for tomorrow and out into the future. Following the 80:20 rule in these choices is a great start. 80% healthy food choices, 20% less healthy food choices. However all 100% must nourish me in some way.
You may have heard already that sugar is now being proven by scientists to be one of the most toxic foods you can eat, as addictive as alcohol or cocaine, and equally dangerous… In your quest to discover what truly nourishes you, really listen to your body if you choose to eat sugar, or sugar substitutes. These foods give you a quick burst of instant pleasure and energy, and deplete your system in the long run. My personal answer to the question would be that sugar does not nourish me, and I do not choose to eat it in my daily diet, however every now and then I still choose to eat a paddle-pop. It is always up to you to make your own choice day by day…
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