We live in a stressful world. The constant demands on our time, attention and resources can lead many of us to use different coping mechanisms to help us get through each day. Some of these habits unfortunately are harmful, and can actually destroy our lives instead of build us up and make us stronger.
Do you have any daily rituals that you use that revolve around food?
Like when you get up in the morning.. you gotta have that first cuppa joe before you begin to feel halfway human? Or you grab a bite to eat on the way into work because you got up too late to fix a healthy breakfast or lunch?
Do you snack unconsciously during the day to keep your energy up – on whatever is laying around, or that someone else brought into the office – be they donuts, cake, cookies or candy? Do you feel you have to clean everybody’s plate before you wash up? You are not a garbage disposal you know.
What about on your way home? You forgot to take anything out of the freezer so instead of preparing a nutritious dinner, you either eat cold breakfast cereal or you get pizza delivered. I mean pizza is good right? It has all 4 of the main food groups… or maybe you just need a sweet… like a bowl of ice cream before bed. Every. Single. Blamed. Day.
Do you try to fill the emptiness inside you with comfort food?
When you eat junk food (and you all know what I mean by the word ‘junk’), you are doing your body a disservice. Yes the food tastes really good and it seems like you can hardly get enough of it (who of you, like me has eaten a whole bag of corn chips and polished off a bowl of dip for dinner?!). But is it good for you?
Do you keep an ‘emergency stash’ of goodies just in case you get hungry, or because you rely on them to modulate your emotions when you’ve had a bad day?
I had a funny thing happen to me once. I had an aunt and uncle who spent several nights with us. My aunt appeared to be a healthy eater, and I noticed that she made a point to always refused anything sweet. I was quite impressed with her fortitude. That is until I was cleaning up after they left and found a whole stash of empty candy wrappers under her side of the bed. Hummm.
Food plays many important roles in our lives. Families gather round on significant occasions and bring special tasty dishes. How many of you have been to a baby shower or a birthday party where there was no food at all served? NADA? … Me neither!
However, I have found a way to cope at special events where I know there will be lots of temptation. I eat beforehand, and then always bring a dish to share that I feel comfortable eating. I would then fill my plate with just one small piece of whatever dish or dishes I felt like trying. Because I was already full, it was not difficult to only pick and nibble.
The trouble with the plethora of food that surrounds us daily is that for the most part, it’s not the best for our bodies – especially if it comes from a manufacturing facility. More than likely the food you are eating straight from the box, shelf or freezer has additives in it that were developed specifically to make you hungry so that you will want more of the same, and then the corporation is able to make higher profits from more sales.
Not that they care if you get sick eating their products. After all, we are so lucky to get all those nice chemicals with the super hard names to pronounce added to our foods.. and we pay less for those too than the plain old organic stuff that comes straight from the farm or garden, and which goes for a premium price (can you tell I am being sarcastic?)
Each day we have a new opportunity to improve our lifestyle and our life-story. These three little ideas can help us stay on track:
Be aware of what is put in your food. If that means taking reading glasses with you to the supermarket so you can read the fine print on the labels, then do it. Become a label reader. Know what side effects may be lurking in your selections.
Better yet, shop the perimeter of the store. That is where the real food is kept – usually under refrigeration, because it spoils quicker without preservatives.
Food that has been modified to hit all our flavor cravings, actually turns that particular food into a drug…something to think about…
Take a deep breath. Now focus deeply and fully on the present moment. You are enough just the way you are. Listen to your body and what it wants right now. Not what your mind wants – which can be easily seduced by gimmicks and hype, but by your intuition. Your heart, your belly.
Ask your body… “body do you want to eat this food today, or that food today?“ One of the foods will seem more appealing. Go with that one. Your body can become a complete self maintaining and self repairing organism if you give it some good raw materials to work with.
I read about an interesting experiment once where scientists took a group of toddlers (who are notorious for picking at their food and for eating only one thing for months at a time), and charted out every single thing that they ate. When they added all the nutrients up, they found that the children were choosing the exact nutrients that they needed to make a balanced diet over that period of time, and they did it unconsciously!
Willpower won’t do it. Self control goes out the window when you get upset. Instead, slow down and ask yourself.. “Is this food what I really want?” ask yourself, “Will this food build my health or break it down?” If the food does not help you, then let it go.
This is the greatest part. You get to put on your filter glasses and choose your own adventure. From now on there will be no need to rely on food to make you feel different. You can instead control your outcomes by controlling your emotions and your feelings.
Sometimes it will seem too hard to stick to your new lifestyle. You think, “yeah maybe I feel a little better now, but I really can’t afford the food I know I should eat” or you feel yourself going down that emotional black hole, and can’t seem to claw your way back up. When you just can’t do it anymore…
This is where just a little extra effort really pays off. By being able to recognize your ups and downs, and how they affect your eating your choices become easier.
Depending on your state of mind at the time, It may or may not be the hardest thing you’ve done in a while, but by monitoring your responses and continuing to choose healthy foods instead of fake foods, even after you’ve had a slip up, you will find your mood improving and your voracious appetite lessening because your body is now receiving the building blocks it needs to heal.
If you still struggle to keep your new and fragile foundation from crashing down around you, perhaps you can either ask a family member or a good friend if they will help to keep you accountable. They might be able to point out some of the old patterns you are still using to cope that you can’t see.
I know that one of my very special girlfriends has my back. When I recently informed her of my new lifestyle, she went to a lot of extra effort to make sure I was sticking to my plan by asking me daily what I ate, and is even now still making and bringing me fresh vegetable and fruit juices to have each day at work to make sure I get an extra big dose of nutrition to keep me energized and on track.
Preparation is essential. You can’t just sit back and do the same old thing and expect something to change – because it won’t. If you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same disappointing results every time.
Here’s how you can learn to stick to the plan and thrive!
- Change it up! Move your thinking in a new direction
- Eat more life-giving whole foods instead of life-sucking addicting foods
- Drink clean water with no chemicals in it
- Move your body
- Take some vitamins
In this way you will be working to get the greatest value for your time and effort, and in the meantime you will gain irreplaceable health and wellbeing!
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