I know this may seem like a silly question but let me explain…
For anyone who has ever made an effort to change their nutritional habits or who has gone on any type of diet, you know that the thoughts associated with food can consume you. The thoughts about what foods you are “allowed” to eat? What foods are you not “allowed” to eat? What foods are going to give you the most energy? What foods will help you to manage stress? and so on.
We make hundreds of choices about food every single day! I know that seems aggressive but if you think about the planning that goes into prepping a meal, what ingredients do you have? What do you need to get? Do you even feel like cooking chicken for dinner? Then there are the decisions we face eating out? Are you going to get Baracoa in your Chipotle bowl today? Are you going to get a side of chips? Etc
We are surrounded with food and choices about food. It is inevitable. We HAVE to eat, and sometimes we can feel pretty out of control with those decisions.
As a Nutritionist, I can definitely get wrapped up in thoughts of food… because it is kind of my job to care. However, it has not always been a positive relationship. My thoughts associated with food previously spiraled negatively. As I acquired a deeper knowledge about the science behind food, environmental factors, agricultural factors, etc. I got pretty wrapped up in the mindset of “every food is bad for me”. I know you would think the opposite but taking in a ton of information around food turned out to be pretty overwhelming. I went down the research rabbit hole and adopted a pretty negative outlook on the nutrition and health industry. I became obsessed and definitely let my food choices take control of me.
This is very similar to the mindset I see with my clients, who have been on diet after diet without seeing long term results. They dive in head first tracking every calorie, gram or nutrient they put into their body, they quickly let food take control of their every move.
These three mindset shifts can make a big difference in gaining back control associated with your food choices.
- Food Is Food Not Just Fuel -I would be lying if I said that I haven’t used the term “food is fuel” because there is truth to this statement. The issue is that food is so much more than just what it does for us in regards to energy. I’m sure you have heard the analogy of owning a Ferrari and that you would never put regular fuel in a Ferrari you would put premium because it is a high-performance vehicle. For optimal performance, we need to put in the best possible fuel for these powerful engines we call bodies right? Well not entirely, the way we eat, why we eat and environmental factors all play a huge role in our nutrition. The shift for me was to look at food as a whole foods approach rather than just nutrients, calories, macros, or grams of food. Look at the whole picture instead of breaking the food down into parts, this will help us to gain control of our nutritional choices and not become overwhelmed with the abundance of information regarding nutrition.
- We Have The Choice As To What Goes Into Our Bodies- Now this is -in my opinion- the hardest shift to make in our thought process. There are so many situations where we think we don’t have a choice concerning what we eat and that is a bad excuse. I know this is tough love but it doesn’t matter that you had cake at the office every single day at work this week because it was a different co-worker's birthday every time. You chose to eat the entire slice of cake. You could have had a bite to be polite, or turn it down (which is also OK). You have the power to choose what to eat or not to eat!
- Use Curiosity Instead Of Judgement- This was a HUGE one for me in my personal life and with my nutritional coaching practice. Often times we lose control of our nutritional choices when we judge ourselves. Thinking we made a “bad” decision sends us into a tailspin of “poor” nutritional choices. Instead, try to understand WHY you made the choice that you made and MOVE ON. For example, maybe you ate an entire bag of chips while you only intended to have a handful. Breathe… first step is to question why you may have eaten the entire bag. Was it that you were distracted with watching TV? Were you “stress eating”? Were you in a social setting and following the habits of others around you? It is important to identify your triggers and what it is that makes you “lose control” with your eating habits. Constant judgement of our food choices leaves us feeling guilty and helpless. Be curious, evaluate and then move on. You have a CHOICE every time you eat to make changes.
I am not saying these are easy overnight fixes. Like any habit, you would like to change it takes time and dedication to change, especially nutritional changes. In my new program: Inner Athlete Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching we cover all of the bases involved with making long lasting changes leading to a healthy lifestyle.
-Sylvie (OG Lifestyless)