Are you sick of the diet-merry-go-round, confused about what to eat and what not to eat, follow your own set of food rules, see foods as good or bad, have the “guilts” if you too much of the wrong food in your food rules – maybe it is time to learn a new food language. In many cases, people speak fluently in their own food language, however the dialect may be from the wrong region. By this I mean, your may have got some information from others, magazines, websites, social media and peers – however it is not based on nutrition science, it may be biased on influenced by the viewpoint of others or it may be so popular and spoken in the space right now that it is indeed true! Learning and becoming fluent in your new food language will be a game-changer for your life and relationship with food.
With my many years as a Nutritionist-Dietitian, I see all too frequently people having an unhappy and unhealthy focus on body image, endless cycle of dieting, negative and misleading messages about food and nutrition, unrealistic expectations, too much of the “don’t eat” advice, disordered eating behaviours and futile years of food restrictions. Add to this, the pressures of frantically busy daily lives, the constant bombardment of the latest nutrition hype or diet fad – it is not surprising that people don’t have a happy or healthful relationship with food. It is time for people to take ownership of their relationship with food, make sustainable and healthful choices, and be comfortable and content within their own bodies. It is important that we recognise that we are all unique and beautiful individuals and our choices should align with our true and content self.
Helping people learn a new food language, spoken in the right dialect is the most enjoyable part of my work.
- declare all foods morally neutral – there are no good or bad food – there is just food. When you declare all foods morally neutral – you take out the emotive value that you place on yourself when you make food choices. Aim to eliminate all your food and dieting rules, that have kept you on the diet-merry-go-round for far too many years. You can make enjoyable food choices that will help you body to thrive and you can make enjoyable food choices at social and spontaneous times.
- check in with your internal hunger and fullness cues and identify the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Physical hunger occurs approximately three hours after your last meal and should be a slight niggle of “oh, I am hungry, what time is it?”. Emotional hunger is ” I am angry, mad, happy, sad, bored, lonely? – I need to eat”. Eating when you are physically hungry to fuel and nourish your body is listening to your physical hunger cues, and stopping when you are comfortably full (not stuffed full) is listening to your body. This leads me on to feeding your emotional hunger …….
- if you are feeling “angry, mad, happy, sad, bored, lonely, stressed” – it is still important to lift your mood, but I encourage people to engage in self nurturing activities that is not food – think of at least 12. I encourage clients to call them love self activities eg “LK for “Love Kate” or LR for “Love Ruby” activities. These could include listening to your favourite music, do some yoga, fresh flowers in the house, getting a hug from your kids, wearing comfy loungewear or snuggly slippers or even your favourite heels, tea ceremony with favourite tea cup, screen saver of gallery of favourite photos, chatting to a girlfriend, colouring-in, reading a book, flicking through a coffee table book of fabulous beach scenery, enjoying a warm shower. Choose things that just make you smile – this will definitely lift your mood.
- make your meal-times a happy place and have your “mind-meal” connection – sit at a breakfast bar or dining table or on the back -deck with your favourite crockery, napery, take your time and be present and mindful with your meal.
Your new food language should convey positive, restorative and freeing messages and give you the experience of happiness and joy with eating, whilst also feeling in your prime. Be kind to yourself with the food choices that you make and the nurturing activities that you engage in.