Are you listening?
You shouldn't live on a diet. I hear the phrase, "I'm not dieting, it is a lifestyle," but what you eat should not be what makes your lifestyle. What you eat should fit in your lifestyle. I feel like we have this whole living thing backwards, or at least all mixed up.We are bombarded with theories and routines that encourage:
- eating three to six times a day
- counting calories
- measuring grams of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
We are supposed to read labels for those terrible ingredients that we don't understand. We are told to avoid certain foods or ingredients and blame entire food groups for our weight, blood tests and lack of energy.What if I am not hungry at noon?
What if my body needs a little more energy than what my diet budgets?
Our bodies don't burn the exact same amount of energy every day, yet I know people who eat very close to the same number of calories every single day!
I studied over 150 dietary theories for my health coach training and I wonder what in the world we are trying to accomplish!
Do you think third world countries follow any of these diets? Have they even heard of them. What about first world counties just a century ago? How did they know what to eat if they weren't told about carbohydrates, glycemic index or even serving size?
I will give you a hint, they listened to their bodies rather than the TV or radio. Instead of trying dozens of "lifestyle changes" (read diets) why not slow down, take a deep breath and close your eyes.
Now, just listen.
Not just with your ears, but with your mouth, skin, tummy, nose, head....your whole body.
Does your tummy gurgle and feel bloated after every meal? No?
Do you crash everyday at 2pm or just after you eat drive thru food?
Do you feel best when you eat burgers and brats from the grill with your friends in the back yard?
Instead of counting calories and reading labels on those packaged foods, try reading your body and your symptoms (or lack there of) when you eat. Take note of where, when and with whom you eat meals with. Those are the ingredients that most seem to forget. Walk through the produce section or farmers market and let your nose guide you rather than coupons, sales and diet programs. Plan meals with the seasons and day to day needs. You don't need a grand buffet dinner every week. A few times a year-sure! Celebrate! Indulge! Feast! But on a Tuesday night after skipping lunch.....not a good choice.
There are times when we should eat less and times when we should have seconds. But don't make those choices based on how much money you spent or how everyone around you is eating or because you feel down. So stop focusing on the foods you are supposed to eat or are supposed to avoid and start focusing on your body. What does your body crave?
We crave slow digesting foods in the cold weather to keep our body warm and fast digestion and hydrating foods in the hot weather.Do you think any there are any watermelon binges in February in North Dakota? But watermelon won't last long in Florida in August. Listen to your body. You may have been ignoring your body signals for so long that you need help reading the signs. Your body may need to re-learn to give you signals after years of being ignored.
Communication is key to any relationship. This includes your body and your brain.
Learning to listen to your body is like finding the perfect pair of jeans that fit perfectly. You feel good, you look good, and you are comfortable.
Also, your body probably doesn't know what those packaged and processed foods are, so give your body whole, real foods so it can communicate better with you.
One last thing, don't let your body image speak louder than your body. Love your body all the time and it will love you back. I promise.