In a world where individuality is so celebrated, I can’t believe that we are still trying to make someone else’s diet work for us! Just like everyone has a different personality, everyone also has a different digestive system, different taste buds and different food preferences.
Have you been “food bullied” at some point in your life? Whether you were made to clear your plate at dinner time growing up, called a picky eater, were made to eat when you weren’t hungry, made to eat things you really didn’t like or had someone tell you what you were eating was gross, it’s an experience most have had and it has a profound impact on how we feel about what we eat.
As a general rule, our society ruins our natural sense of hunger from an early age. As babies, we get fed every time we cry, whether it’s been 20 minutes or 2 hours since we last ate (I know not everyone does this, but many do). As toddlers, we’re given more food than our little bodies need and are made to eat, even though at that active age, our growth has slowed and we don’t need much food. When we’re out and about as toddlers and preschoolers, we’re offered lollipops nearly everywhere – the bank, the barber shop/salon, even at places like dance and gymnastics! Once we start school, we are rushed through our meals and snacks and treats become a constant occurrence. [Just today, my 10 year old came home and told me there were 2 birthday treats in his class today plus Gatorade^! He was so stuffed from all the “treats” (aka junk) that he didn’t even want his lunch! Not to mention, that all those sugary treats make you less likely to want good, healthy food and instead makes you want more sugar!]
So, how do you get back to a place where you can listen to your body and eat according to your actual hunger? Well, I’m not going to tell you it’ll be easy! A detox or master cleanse isn’t the answer. You have to make the commitment to yourself to change. Getting support from a certified coach like me can be very helpful 😉
Here is the challenge I ask of you today:
- Don’t comment on what someone else eats or doesn’t eat (even your kids*). They have every right to enjoy the foods they like and pass on the ones they don’t, just like you do. No need to explain!
- Slow down when you eat so you give yourself a chance to feel full before you’re overstuffed. Take a nice, deep breath between bites. You’ll also enjoy your meal more and it just might taste better!
- Don’t eat when you aren’t hungry. The only exception to this is breakfast – your body really does need food within an hour of waking up! If you aren’t hungry in the morning, there’s a good chance you are eating too much at night. Eat a smaller dinner and don’t snack before bed [Your body needs food at regular intervals throughout the day, so I’m not suggesting meal skipping! Perhaps smaller meals more often work better for you; or maybe 3 more substantial meals is best. Don’t be afraid to experiment to figure out what is best for you]
- Write your nutrition story. While it might feel a little silly at first, write down everything you remember from your earliest age and continue on up to the present. You might just gain some real insight on your feelings about food!
*a note on kids – they will model their eating habits after yours. Eventually, they will eat a bigger variety and might even include some veggies! However, I don’t suggest catering to them. Make one meal and everyone sits down together (obviously, this relates mostly to dinner time). Don’t make them something else and don’t allow them to whine and gripe about what is on the table. I promise, they won’t starve themselves!
^more on Gatorade to come in another post