In the name of “getting healthier,” a lot of people use short-term strategies in an attempt to meet their long-term goals.
They count and log everything they eat, they eliminate entire food groups, force themselves to eat the latest super foods; and vow to give up pleasures like chocolate or eating at their favourite restaurants.
And that is the problem: short term thinking applied to a lifelong experience.
Making sacrifices or choices that really are tolerable for only a short period of time.
Without a doubt what you eat plays a big role in your health and well-being.
But so many people struggle to maintain their efforts because they don’t pay attention to how they are eating.
Making sure that we pay attention to our food when we are eating, truly enjoying the experience and being aware of how the food makes our bodies feel is the key to making long lasting sustainable change.
In our hyper busy world it is easy to undervalue the importance of nourishing our bodies. Eating has become something that we do quickly between our endless series of daily events.
Many of us find ourselves routinely eating while driving, working at our desks, or in front of the computer or TV.
While crossing off all the to-dos on your list comes with a sense of satisfaction, we have missed out on one of the most powerful ways to help us regulate our intake-tuning in to our bodies natural hunger and fullness cues.
We are all born with innate knowing of how to best feed ourselves.
Don’t believe me? Just watch a baby.
They certainly let you know when they are hungry (no putting them off until the clock says ‘lunch time”) and refuse to eat more when satisfied.
Taking time out during our busy days to tune into our bodies is the first step in relearning that skill.
Eating while distracted, or in a rush also disconnects us from our senses.
When we slow down and pay attention to our food, savouring each bite we are much more likely to be truly satiated. Imagine leisurely eating a perfectly ripened peach, inhaling its fruity essence, eyeing its vibrant hue, nibbling at its tender sweet flesh, enjoying each deliciously juicy bite.
Taking pleasure in our food, nurturing our bodies in this way can also help to diminish cravings and overeating from stress.
Many of us use foods to help us cope with distressing feelings or as an attempt to comfort ourselves. This is completely natural.
The connection to food, comfort and love are made early on in our lives as our mothers fed and nurtured us.
However, if food becomes our sole source of love or comfort this can lead us to eat more than we truly need.
And sadly our real needs — for love, comfort or connection — are never properly met.
Before we get completely caught up in finding the ‘right’ foods to eat for our health lets remember to build a long lasting foundation.
We can do this by practicing undistracted eating, savouring and enjoying our food and being aware of how we are expecting foods to meet our needs.
For more information and support around this topic please feel free to join me in the upcoming session How to End Emotional Eating at the Summerland Health Centre on March 3 from 9 to 11 a.m.
Please register by calling 250-770-3550.
Sandra Turnbull, RD, CEC is a registered dietitian, certified executive coach with the Interior Health Authority.