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6 Tips to Make Eating Well Effortless
Why is it that eating well can sometimes feel like a struggle? Some days it’s easy to walk past the junk food vendors without a glance back and other times that fat and carb-laden food is calling to you all day long saying just a bit will ‘comfort you’.
Wherever you are on your health journey, we all have those days that feel harder than others to keep making those healthy choices, but the trick to a healthy life is to simply keep adding on those heathy days one at a time so they add up to healthy weeks and then months…and those times add up to seeing the results of an overall healthy lifestyle.
At Goddess Retreats we truly believe you can experience major transformations by just adjusting your mindset and making small but powerful changes in how you approach life. This principle also applies to our health and food philosophy. By doing a little planning and setting simple boundaries you can start to create an effortless balance when it comes to food.
Change your relationship with food with these six tips:
1. Stop all restrictions around food
Most of us have years of labelling certain foods ‘bad’ or ‘off-limits’ and we restrict having them. Unfortunately what happens is that the mind then swings the other way and starts to crave these items. Think of your hand holding a ball of jello, as you clench your fist (restriction) the jello just squeezes out the sides, and so it is with trying to cut out a certain food item all the time – it just squeezes though the clamp we have put on our mind. Start to practice changing your mindset by giving yourself permission to eat all types of food. (This step can feel scary because you think “if I do this I’ll just end up out of control”, but the great secret is if you can do this step, and apply the following tips you will start to experience a real freedom and trust in yourself when it comes to food and eating)
2. Eat more to eat less
Another important habit to help you move away from the restrictive diet mind is to eat enough food in a meal to feel fully satiated and satisfied. If you are in the habit of restricting your portions and not eating enough to feel like your hunger has been satisfied, you are more likely to end up snacking in-between meals – think of those afternoon or late night snacking sessions. Studies show that its common that the snacks end up having more calories in them than if you just had a larger, more satisfying meal!
3. Eat foods with a high nutrition content
When creating your meals make sure that the majority of the food is ‘real’ and is as close to its original state as possible. In other words that it isn’t ‘processed’. A piece of chicken is a piece of chicken – not a nugget or a breaded strip, milk in your coffee is milk or sugar free natural nut milks – not artificial creamer, bacon bits on your salad is real bacon – not a hydrolysed whey protein bacon flavoured chips, your porridge is not made from ‘instant oats’ that have been processed’ but rolls or steel cut oats that are in a more natural form. For processed everyday foods like bread, pasta and white rice substitute real carbs such as baked sweet potato, cauliflower rice, wild or brown rice.
The idea is simple whatever you are eating see if you can find the version that is as close to its original form as possible. This is because the body is designed to pull the nutrients from the food and convert it to energy to keep everything functioning at its best. so if you feed it ‘fake’ or ‘processed’ food the body doesn’t feel satisfied because even though it may be eating lots of calories (or no calories in the case of ‘diet’ products) it’s not actually getting any nutrients. This sets up the body to keep looking for more food and what we experience as ‘cravings’.
4. Eat with mindfulness
The next time you experience a ‘craving’ ask yourself first are you really hungry – often times we eat due to other triggers such as boredom, loneliness, anger, stress. Sometimes just identifying how we are feeling can cause a craving to pass, sometimes it doesn’t. so the next step is to ask yourself is there some real food or meal I can have right now that would satisfy this craving? If there is great – fix yourself a real meal. Even if you aren’t eating out of hunger at least you are giving your body good nutrients and leaving less room and desire for foods that aren’t helpful to your body.
If you decide that you must have that one food that you have previously put in the ‘off limits’ list then give yourself permission to have it and really enjoy it! Just ensure that your new approach will be to enjoy it in a mindful way. Get rid of all distractions and give yourself time to experience al the pleasure of eating this item (ie. don’t eat it on the run or while your checking Facebook). Sit down and pay attention to the way the food looks, smells and eat slowly observing how the food tastes and feels in your mouth. You may be surprised that the food item you used to love may actually taste too sweet, sour etc or just one or two will be enough when before you could go through a whole pack without looking away from your screen!
5. Make it easier to make healthy choices
Now that you are allowed to eat every kind of food and enjoy it, the only condition is to only keep the healthy ‘real foods’ you want to eat within reach. All other items can remain in the supermarket, coffee shop or food hall until you feel like you really must have it. Do not keep a ‘junk food stash’ anywhere. you will be surprised how many ‘micro-cravings’ can come and go in the day and you don’t act on them simply because that item isn’t within arms reach. Just know that if you really must have something you can take a walk or jump in your car to get it anytime. Another tip to making healthy choices easier is to have healthy snacks packed with nutrients at hand – nuts, cheese cubes, boiled eggs, cut veggies or dried veggie chips, hommus, non sweetened nut butters are all great ideas. The key idea is to make it easier to make healthy choices a natural part of your daily routine, and other items become a once in a while thing that requires you to go out of you way to indulge in.
6. Your body is your buddy
Overall the secret to making eating well effortless is to become really aware of how your body feels. Your body is an incredible machine that is programmed to ultimaltey establish and maintain optimal health. it wants to survive and thrive and is set up to let you know what it likes and what it considers poison or toxic (think about what your body tells you via hangovers! Your mind may love a drink or four…your body, not so much).
Start to think of your body as your ‘buddy’ rather than that thing you are fighting with over the size of your hips! Your ‘buddy’ it will tell you by how it feels if it really likes a certain food, or if it is just your mind telling you you like that food. Keep the channels of communication open, listen to what it has to say rather than doing all the talking and you will find that you start having a whole new relationship with your ‘buddy’.
Give these tips a try and enjoy the process. Making changes isn’t an over night thing, it’s about taking small steps forward everyday and over time you will see your whole world change.
Love, Light & Seashells