Feeling confused with all the different diets and weight-loss programs out there? Do you have guilt and anxiety around food? It can feel complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. Eating food ought to be pleasurable, and delicious. Food gives you the energy and nourishment to live a fulfilling life. Dieting can be restrictive, leaving you feeling caged or limited. The art of un-dieting is about learning to trust yourself and listen to the cues and symptoms of your body to make the best choices. Here are a few un-diet guidelines to get you started:
Relax and savor your food.
Eating while stressed may cause more problems than eating dairy or gluten. Stress affects our digestion and our ability to assimilate nutrients. When we are stressed our body goes into a fight or flight response, which causes blood pressure to rise, heart rate to increase, and blood flow to move to your legs and arms to help you flee. This was great when a wild animal was chasing us. But it also causes the blood flow away from our digestive system which can cause problems. Take some time before you eat to relax. Smell your food, chew slowly, light a candle, and eat while tuned into all of your senses for maximum gratification.
Eat what you love and love what you eat.
If you don’t like kale, don’t eat it. Create a beautiful plate (or bowl) with an abundance of color and choose foods you want to eat. There are so many delicious healthy foods and even more recipes and ways to prepare them. Get in the kitchen, have fun, and get creative. And if you don’t have time – make time. Cooking for yourself is an extremely important part of self-care and love.
Labels are for containers, not for people.
Try not to label yourself with the latest diet. Being fixated on one way of eating may cause you to ignore what your body truly needs to thrive. And although one particular way of eating may make you feel great for a period of time, this may change based on your lifestyle, environment, and age. Remember, you are your own best expert.
Don’t count your calories, upgrade them!
Eating 100 calories of cheesecake will affect your body very differently than 100 calories of broccoli. Not only are calories not created equally, but the rate at which a person burns calories depends on your age, activity level, time of year, your stress level and the shape and size of your body. Eating a diet with a consistent balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) will ensure your energy level and mood is balanced, your metabolism is working efficiently, and your hormones are running smoothly. Eat for nourishment rather than weight-loss.
Listen to your cravings.
I like to look at cravings as messages from our bodies. We can learn a lot from them if we sit and listen. For instance, if you are craving sugar, perhaps there is an imbalance in your gut bacteria or you need complex carbohydrate. Or maybe you are feeling the need for a hug, some human warmth and comfort, but the easiest way for you to satisfy the craving is through food. Keeping a food journal is a great way to begin to understand your triggers.
Remember you are your best expert, nutritionist, and healer. Tune in to yourself. Listen to your body and trust your intuition.
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