Kale is a good food.
You’ve done the research – It’s a super food, loaded with antioxidants, low calorie. It’s healthy and what you should be eating, so you whip up a kale salad. As you sit down to eat, you find yourself wishing you had a slice of pizza.
The voice in your head starts chattering a mile a minute.
I kinda want a slice of pizza, but pizza is bad and if I eat the pizza I’ll have to do an extra workout today, but pizza would taste so much better than this salad. I’ve been good for three days so technically I could eat the pizza and still be ok, I’ll just workout a little longer tomorrow or have the pizza now and eat a really big salad later, without the dressing…
For the love of inner peace, eat the pizza!
Pizza is not a bad food and kale is not a good food.
There’s no such thing as good and bad food, unless you label it that way.
It’s all just food – it either works for your body, or it doesn’t.
Food has the potential to make you feel good physically, mentally and emotionally or make you feel bad physically, mentally and emotionally.
Food is also meant to be enjoyed – we depend on it for nourishment, but our bodies are also hard-wired for pleasure. No matter how much willpower you have, depriving your body of pleasure will always backfire – this plays out differently for everyone: midnight pantry raids, devouring a whole box of cookies after promising yourself that you would stop at 3, or a deep dive down the spiral of shame and regret.Pleasure is an essential part of life. Click To Tweet
If you’ve been depriving yourself of foods that you enjoy so much that you crave them constantly, and frequently end up binge eating or eating emotionally as a result, it’s time to find another approach to food and eating.
Eat in a way that’s pleasurable, nourishing and satisfying — sometimes this means having pizza and sometimes this means having kale. Choose foods that are good for your body, not because you’re low on points or are watching your caloric intake but because you genuinely enjoy them and they make you feel nourished – physically, mentally and/or emotionally.
Imagine enjoying bread, cookies, cake, or kale without guilt or shame – savoring each bite (and enjoying it) without thinking about how long it’s gonna take you to burn off the calories. And being so in tune with your body that you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re pleasantly full.
It may sound impossible, but you can do it.
The first step: Choose foods that are nourishing, but also bring you pleasure.
If kale doesn’t do it for you, find something that does or experiment with different cooking preparations – kale chips, kale sautéed with oil and garlic, added to a soup or stew.
Eating well doesn’t mean you have to eat salads, kale and quinoa all the time. Choose foods that nourish you from the inside out, and make you feel good. Eating for nourishment, good health, and pleasure is much more sustainable than eating to control your weight or to control the size of your body.
The next step: Slow Dooooown.
When you sit down to eat, take a moment to notice what’s on your plate. Activate your senses – take a look at the colors and shapes, notice the smells, then take a breath. Taking a breath will help your body to relax; the best state to be in for optimal digestion.
The next order of business: Chew Your Food
After you’ve taken the time to notice and appreciate your food, take the time to taste it by chewing slowly. Allow yourself to be aware of each taste and texture (they will change the more you chew).
Finally: Notice How You Feel
Slowing down gives you the opportunity to tune in to your body so you can better gauge hunger and fullness. This is relaxing for some and anxiety inducing for others, so proceed with caution. If you start to feel anxious, stop, take a breath and come back to the exercise at another time. Either way, notice how you’re feeling as you’re eating and be mindful of the way the food you’re eating is making you feel – do you feel calm and relaxed, or anxious and annoyed? When you finish eating do you feel nourished and satisfied, or bloated and uncomfortable?
Making peace with food is less about the food and more about how you feel about the food.
If you want to take a deeper look into your relationship with food and eating, let’s work together!