Eating to Nourish
Emotional Nourishment – Many people eat when they are not hungry; instead they are lonely, bored, angry, or feeling empty inside. This is how food becomes medicine. The food might displace the feelings temporarily, but that empty feeling is still there. During times like these it is very important to be one’s own best friend. Allow the feelings of loneliness, depression, or boredom. It’s really okay to feel all these emotions; everyone does from time to time. If the feelings get too overwhelming, do something to pampering. Take a relaxing bath, read a favorite book, or do whatever feels good.
Self-talk – Self-talk can be critical, worrisome and negative, it can worsen depression and promote old behaviors. Work toward developing the inner voice (self- talk) into a coach. The job of the coach is to provide guidance, inspiration and praise; tell the truth objectively without judgment; and provide direction and support. Positive self-talk can help during the hard times and increase motivation.
Troublesome thoughts – Feeling down, ask: “What is going on for me right now?” Thoughts have a tendency to persist and grow, so that by the time they are noticed, they have snowballed into big negative patterns. If it’s difficult to identify the troublesome thoughts, keep a journal and write down the thoughts, especially just before and after eating. Take periodic thought inspection breaks, especially before meals. If critical, negative thoughts persist take a moment to replace this talk with accepting, supportive and encouraging thoughts.
Reasonable goals – If goals or expectations are high and constantly changing – this is a set-up for failure. Avoid setting abstract goals like “I want to lose thirty pounds”. Set specific, concrete behavioral goals such as, “I’ll increase my exercise to 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and I’ll eat 1600 to 1800 calories a day”. Avoid strict commands like “I’ll never eat another cookie”, or “I’ll always exercise every day”. Such resolutions are sure-fire tickets to failure. Leave room to make mistakes or deviate somewhat, because human beings are not perfect.
What is working? – There is a tendency to dwell on mistakes, which can lead to decreased motivation. Give credit where credit is due. If there are things that are working, take note and incorporate them often. This will encourage continued success for the weight loss program.
Solve problems – What if no credit is due? What if there was an all-day binge? Again, the internal dialogue (self-talk) is crucial. Critical, negative thoughts will lead to feeling worse; ignoring the incident, will increase the chances it will happen again. Instead, say, “O.K., I didn’t have a good day, but that doesn’t mean I’m terrible”. Problem solve for ways to interrupt the pattern the next time it occurs. Learn from mistakes; don’t be defeated by them.
Accept yourself – Some people are afraid that accepting themselves at their current weight will lead to inaction – they won’t feel the need to change their habits. However, belittling and criticizing will not motivate change. Self-acceptance means truthfully acknowledging good qualities and imperfections. It also means treating the body as a prized possession. So, remember love and acceptance is key.
Weight loss booster shot – Weight loss can be multi-faceted – self-talk, self-love, determination, small changes, and attainable, reasonable goals. A low-fat, high fiber diet incorporating adequate protein, vegetables, grains, fruits, and lots of water, at least eight glasses per day, is a great plan. An experienced nutritionist or naturopathic practitioner can help tailor a plan that includes nutrition and exercise to facilitate weight loss. Remember to be loving and gentle. Congratulations – this is a big step toward long-term health, happiness, and well being.