March was National Nutrition Month and while it has just about ended, nutrition is still a very important topic. It always is! New diets are being created on a regular basis, often self-proclaimed as the diet that will get you the body of your dreams.
Let’s be real, EVERY single person has an opinion on nutrition and what to eat versus what not to eat. You would drive yourself crazy trying to follow all the different “rules” out there in regards to nutrition.
And for what?!?!
Nutrition is quite simply the process of providing food necessary for health and growth. This is not complicated at all. Food is fuel for your body. This should be freeing for anyone that jumps on the next diet train as quick as it rolls on by. If food is fuel for your body, you get to decide what goes into it. You get to make your own rules and craft your own nutrition plan (without it being formally called a diet or written anywhere). You steer the ship.
I strongly believe that if we keep nutrition simple and take time to experiment with our own wants/needs/likes/dislikes in regards to food, we develop a more positive relationship with food and with that, our bodies. Yes, I said it... our bodies. Most people diet to change something about their body, which creates a negative relationship with both food and self. Why would anyone choose to have a negative relationship with self? Oftentimes, it is not consciously, but if we dig a little deeper we can find out that it is exactly what ends up happening when turning to strict dieting rules.
I will share with you five of my simple nutrition tools and if any resonate with you, perhaps they can be of use to you as well. I encourage you to take a little time this week and check in with yourself. See if any of your dieting “rules” are overcomplicated and leading to negativity. If so, toss it. You don’t need it. You have all the tools that you need to fuel your body, but you have to trust yourself first.
Some of my simple nutrition tools that work for me:
1. Reject the diet mentality. Even when a new diet sounds appealing or the desire to get 6 pack abs crosses my mind, I try and talk myself out of dieting or creating strict rules. This isn’t always easy!
2. Fall in love with fruits and vegetables. I strongly believe that you CAN desire color on your plate. You can find new fruits and vegetables that your taste buds love. All you have to do is experiment. Even vegetables you don’t think you like can taste good with the right seasonings or mixed in with your main entrée. You can never go wrong with food the earth gives us!
3. Guilt (or any emotion for that matter) does not need to enter the food arena. I am an emotional person, but eating emotionally just adds fuel to the fire. When emotions are on fire, it is time to check in... not check out!
4. Create positive habits one at a time. If there is a bad habit forming (like too many sodas this week or eating ice cream every single night out of habit), I can change that habit around. I will create a positive habit to replace the negative habit.
5. Savor. Eat slower and enjoy your food bite by bite. Some of us are fast eaters by nature, but even chewing food more or setting the fork down in between a few bites can make all the difference. Focus on what the food looks like, where it came from, and really taste your food. You may be surprised after you consciously do this more. I have found that some foods I thought I liked I no longer liked when I really tasted it or vice versa.