Health and nutrition play a large role in my life. What does nutrition mean to you? For me it means feeding my body with the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs for optimal functioning. It means staying hydrated and working out often to promote longevity and happiness. Happy body, happy life—right?
As a child I suffered with weight issues, and it took me a long time to learn good eating habits and to exercise regularly. Now well into my forties—and preparing for the turn into my next decade—I’m still learning about nutrition, weight gain/loss, muscle mass, hormones, and how to balance it all. There’s always new research coming out, new products being developed, and more awareness being brought to this delicate matter of weight management.
Overall my diet is very healthy. I eat organically as often as possible, incorporate many fruits and vegetables in my daily diet, and stay away from processed foods. My issues are that I sometimes I eat too much and for the wrong reasons. Sound familiar?
I’m at a point where I want to establish a different relationship with food—a healthier relationship. I recently did a cleanse and eliminated dairy, alcohol, and caffeine for a few weeks. The result was a greater awareness and appreciation of what I’m putting into my body. It’s been much easier to be in tune with my body since doing this cleanse, too. I can sense how my body feels when I’m feeding it well. And when I’m not. I also learned how certain foods make me feel-bloated, energized, heavy, lethargic, happy, and satiated.
Over the last five years, I’ve put on a few pounds, which is a lot for me. So, I increased my exercise. Guess what? That didn’t work. Then I tried to eat less. Guess what? That didn’t work either. While I’m able to eat less during the day, I find myself snacking too much at night, which is still my Achilles heal.
Instead of trying to fight this with willpower, I have found things to eat at night—healthy substitutes like tea, baked apples, or fruit and vegetables—so I don’t sabotage my weight loss efforts. I also remind myself not to eat when I’m not hungry.
Let’s face it. We use food as an outlet—we eat when we’re happy, sad, depressed, lonely, anxious, and so forth. Identifying why we eat, and only eating when we’re actually hungry, can make a big difference for a lot of people, including me. Stop to ask yourself why you want to eat, before you start munching way.
I’m also a firm believer in everything in moderation. It’s also important to me to teach my children what a good portion size is. I wasn’t brought up thinking about portion control, and although I’ve learned the importance of portion size over the years, I didn’t always limit my portions. With my children, I emphasize how important it is to pour a snack in a bowl, instead of eating out of a box or bag.
The point is to be mindful—to be aware of what we eat, why we eat, and how we eat. When we approach food with awareness, we can create a different relationship with our food. Elevate your dining experience by savoring each bite, breaking bread with people you care about, and choosing foods and drinks that nourish your spirit and support your body. Can you bring greater awareness into your eating patterns for the remainder of this month?