How to END Feeling DEPRIVED and START Feeling EMPOWERED by Your Food Choices

 
empowered.jpg
 

Have you recently set out on a wellness journey where you want to begin eating healthier to feel good, build energy and feel more comfortable in your body? The momentum often begins with feeling strong and empowered and you have determined your WHY! Then, you are inevitably thrown into a situation where you are around others eating the very foods you have chosen not to eat because they do not support your wellness journey to feel healthy. Even though you know those foods may leave you feeling miserable (you know, feeling bloated, have an upset stomach, they zap your energy, give you skin breakouts and experience brain fog or another obvious sign that these particular foods are JUST NO GOOD FOR YOU) and yet you now feel DEPRIVED.

When you have turned the corner from making a choice that certain foods just DO NOT serve you, and you clearly know this (uh, remember the above miserable symptoms?), it does not mean that it is easy to choose not to eat them and that you won’t feel deprived.

It takes time and effort to change our minds about those types of foods and to create the shift from feeling deprived. Just because you have made the decision to no longer eat those particular foods, that does not mean that you are not human. That does not mean that there will not be cravings. That does not mean that you won’t secretly be jealous or resentful of everyone else who seems to be eating these foods with no problem at all (at least, so it seems).

Learning to listen to your body is a journey and it is definitely not a straight-line kind of a journey. Nope, integrating mindful and intuitive eating principles into your life often comes with many twists and turns. I know this personally from my struggles with leaky gut and SIBO that there are some foods that my body really does not like. At. All. One for sure is cows milk—which sadly includes cheese. You know, like the super delicious cheddar cheese, muenster cheese, swiss cheese... I pretty much used to be pretty much a chees-a-tarian. Ahh, I do love cheese, it just does NOT love me back. Do you think I didn’t test this many, many times? Of course I did! But with time and practice I had to come to realize that feeling horrible is just not worth it! It took a long time to not feel deprived when I didn’t eat cheese and I wanted it. And there are still cravings, (which are usually more emotionally based) and I have had to practice awareness and managing those desires for comforting foods when I am stressed, tired and anxious, in other ways. 

So how do you release the feelings of being deprived when you choose NOT to eat something you want despite how it makes you feel? Just like any other feelings, you have to learn to be present with them, to accept them and to ensure yourself that you are NOT ACTUALLY deprived. You are making a choice based on your wellness goals, based on what your body needs to feel vital and healthy!

When you connect with your specific WHY driving your decision to eliminate a certain food from your meals it will help to shift how you feel about your choice. Reminding yourself of your personal WHY and ensuring you are NOT restricting foods, not basing this on actual deprivation (like a diet) in any other areas, will help you refocus. My personal mantra is, “eating that gooey cheese is not worth an upset stomach.” I worked way too hard to heal my gut, I do NOT want to destroy it again.

Deprivation mindset is not healthy. When you deprive yourself and restrict certain foods out of fear of taking in calories, fearing weight gain, or to punish yourself because of your own negative body image it will inevitably lead to either malnutrition or a binge. Restriction and dieting do NOT work long-term and will set you up for bigger struggles with food. Research shows that the majority of diets fail and DO NOT last for the long term!!! That is significant and eye opening. IF you make a choice about the food you eat based on how you want to feel, you can simplify your decision-making process.

When you make your decision based on how you want to feel you create an internal experience of empowerment, confidence and self-respect. When you make choices based on building these feelings, you create a powerful shift internally. You regain a sense of control and mastery over your choices and respect your feelings and choices. Experiencing true health and well-being is a reminder that you are making progress towards your personal wellness goals. It is a process and a practice which will take time, effort, determination and focus.

One way to decrease your feelings of deprivation is to create healthy or adapted version of the foods you love. Another way is to explore any emotional food cravings and explore how to get your emotional needs met in non-food ways. An example would be if you find you crave comfort foods when you are anxious and tend to use food to calm yourself down, try a deep breathing practice, journaling, movement or talking to someone you trust about your feelings. Notice the impact of using this non-food-based tool and continue to practice it.

Having regular self-care practice and becoming more comfortable with feeling your feelings will help you choose a different way to eat, to be and interact with food and will help you begin to shift from feeling deprived to feeling empowered! Start each day with asking yourself how you want to feel (mentally, emotionally, physically and energetically) and notice how that begins to impact your choices.

The next time you notice a sense of feeling deprived in relation to a choice you make related to food, check-in and ask yourself: what’s really going on? Why are you choosing NOT to eat that particular food? Continue to be certain that you are not restricting because of a thought that it is a “bad” or “off limits” food due to calories or fear, but because it is a food that does not serve your health and wellness goals.

Are there any foods that you are working to shift your perspective from feeling deprived to feeling confident, empowered and strong? Remember that healthy eating, intuitive eating and mindful eating are form of self-respect. Let me know how this process works for you!

If you haven’t signed up for my 7-Day Kick Your Food Cravings to Curb Challenge, you can do so here!

3 Strategies to Eat Mindfully Throughout the Holiday Season

 
mindfuleating.jpg
 

The holidays offer a time for fun and fulfillment, yet they can be stressful, tiring and overwhelming at the same time. Maintaining mindful awareness throughout the season will help you remain connected to yourself, remain healthy and well while keeping any stress or emotional eating manageable and at bay.

During times of increased stress you become more likely to be in a rush and tired, which leads to making choices that are often rushed and favor convenience. This may cause an experience of not being fully present which can cause eating to feel like just one more thing on your to-do list. Rushing, not being present with your food and not choosing nourishment can cause the internal experience of stress to only become worse.

Mindful eating is paying attention to what you are eating while deriving pleasure and nourishment from your food. When you are eating mindfully, you enhance the experience of eating while acknowledging the opportunity to nourish your body and your mind. Mindful eating is paying attention to the sensory experience of your food.

Just the sight of the food you are about to eat begins the process of digestion. Mindful eating begins by taking in the visual elements and aromas of your food, before you even take one single bite! This mindful process enhances the experience of eating and pleasure of tasting your food.

The holiday season can trigger emotional and stress eating simply because of the stressed and rushed nature of the season. Additionally, this time of year more “comfort foods” tend to be always available and just about everywhere which can trigger the desire to eat irrespective of hunger. Cravings can be caused by just seeing or smelling food AND because of stress and emotional distress.

The three following strategies are intended to help maintain mindful eating throughout the holiday season in order to manage emotional and stress based cravings effectively. When you use these strategies you create an opportunity to be present with your food, to be engaged with eating in a mindful, calm and relaxed manner. This creates an opportunity to derive true pleasure and nourishment from your food, while at the same time reducing stress and emotional tension in general.

1.    Practice 1 minute of deep breathing before eating.

When you are breathing deeply and in a state of relaxation you are engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the rest and digest mode, which is the mode we want to live in—unless of course there is a true emergency. Often when we are rushed or stressed during the holidays, we eat more quickly to get to the next thing on the to-do list. Try slowing down, and breathing deeply for one minute before you eat in order to calm your nervous system. This will allow your body to assimilate the nutrients from you food more effectively while also creating a sense of inner calm as you release stress and tension with your breath.

2.    Before you eat, set an intention to eat mindfully.

When you set any intention, you set in motion a powerful force that helps you focus. When you set your intention to eat mindfully before you take your first bite, you will be far more likely to do so. Setting an intention helps you create a sense of ritual and care for the process of eating and the nourishment and pleasure you will derive from your food. Try setting an intention to eat mindfully before you eat and notice how this simple practice can shift your awareness and sense of focus from your to-do list to the present moment.

3.    Practice gratitude before you eat.

After a bit of deep breathing and setting your intention to eat mindfully, offer gratitude for the food you are about to eat. When you express gratitude for your food, you create a space for deriving pleasure from your food in a big way. This can be a powerful practice to reduce stress and emotional eating as gratitude helps to alleviate stress and anxiety. When practicing gratitude for your food before you take a bite, recognize the preparation and the life giving nutrients in your food—as well as the pleasure you will experience by eating it. Be grateful and notice the impact of gratitude on your physical body as well as your mood state.

Try these three mindful strategies to remain present, focused and engaged as you make choices about what you eat and how you eat it this holiday season. Taking time to slow down, breathe, set an intention to eat mindfully and practice gratitude will allow for health and fulfillment throughout the entire holiday season.

The Gift of Wellness

Giving the Gift of Wellness 

gift.jpg

During this hectic holiday season, wouldn’t it be amazing to have time to take baths, spend time in nature, get regular massages and cook delicious, nourishing meals that take half a day to prepare? But who has the time for that!?! Enter wellness gift ideas that encourage others to take time to care for themselves in order to be well, live well and feel well. Here are some ideas that inspire movement and progress for others along their own personal wellness journey.

Gift giving feels good. When you create a moment of joy for another person it doubles the warm and fuzzy feelings for you both. Now, if it is not financially feasible to give gifts that cost money, there are many gifts that you can create on your own or time you can spend that doesn’t cost a thing! If you feel like you have the means and the desire to give others the gift of improving their health, wellness and overall quality of life, here is list of some ideas to offer the gift of health and wellness this holiday season.

When you think of wellness, think of all the elements that make up a balanced, healthy, content life. Wellness comprises of relaxation, healthy movement and exercise, healthy eating, sufficient sleep, personal fulfillment and connecting with nature. Each area contains potential practices that encourage overall good health in mind and body. The following is a short list of ideas within each wellness area to spark your creative giving spirit!

1.    Gifts for relaxation.

Giving a gift certificate for massage, infrared saunas or other healthy body work offers an amazing gift of cleansing, detoxing, relaxation and greater health and wellness. Candles, bath salts and essential oil diffusers with pure essential oils are also wonderful gifts that encourage inner peace, calm and relaxation. Just be sure to read ingredients and look for pure essential oils in both the candles and bath salts so as to not give out toxic chemicals!

2.    Gifts for healthy movement.

Giving a gift of a yoga class series, dance classes, barre classes or a health club membership encourages healthy movement. If there is another activity that you know the person either already does and enjoys or has expressed interest in doing, this is a wonderful way to give the gift of health and wellness. Fitness trackers and personal training sessions also encourage healthy movement to feel well in body and mind. Health and fitness gear such as a yoga mat, new shoes or clothing are also great gifts.

3.    Gifts for healthy eating.

The gift of a healthy dinner subscription such as Sun Basket or a subscription to a monthly local produce delivery of fresh healthy food is an amazing gift to give. You can also create a homemade basket that includes healthy food items to make a favorite dish, meal or beverage along with the recipe or cookbook makes a fantastic gift. You might put together some ingredients in a basket like herbs, nourishing broths, sea salts, olive oils and vinegars, cacao, chia seeds, walnuts, matcha, or find a beautiful healthy cookbook. Teas, preferably organic, are also wonderful gifts that are healthy and delicious! Kitchen items that encourage healthy eating are also great gifts, like a high powered blender (Vitamix is my favorite!- but any are great!!), salad spinner or bowl, Instapot, tea pot with a nice strainer, stainless steel or glass water bottle with or without an infuser for herbs, spices and fruits. When you give a gift that encourages healthy eating, you are giving the greatest health insurance policy that exists!

4.    Gifts for healthy sleep.

The gift of sleep may be a challenging gift to give, but you can give items that encourage the possibility of rest and restoration! Sleep masks, sound machines, guided relaxations, relaxing music, binaural frequency sounds, a cozy blanket, pj’s or slippers encourage making sleep a priority and more available.  A gift certificate for restorative yoga or meditation also help to make rest and sleep more available and there’s always teas and tinctures that can help you get more zzz’s.

5.    Give gifts for personal fulfillment.

Gifts that encourage a sense of fulfillment are super valuable. Items that encourage self-reflection, mindfulness and living more intentionally bring value and increased wellness to life. Gifts like adult coloring books, sketch pads, gratitude journals, blank journals, art supplies, music, gift certificates for a fun creative class, books, or other items that you know the person on your list would love goes a lot further for fulfillment than a new shirt or a tie! When you encourage someone to explore, be creative, learn something new or learn more about a passion they may have, you encourage their continued personal growth and evolution. What an amazing gift to share!

6.    Give the gift of nature.

Nature is healing. Spending time in nature is tremendously therapeutic. Giving something as simple and beautiful as a plant, flower, bulb or even seeds to begin to sow in the early spring creates an opportunity to connect with nature each and every day. Gardening items or items that encourage being outdoors such as a hammock, bench or wind chimes encourage spending time in nature. If you are thinking a little larger, you might give the gift of a trip to the mountains, some outdoor adventure or the beach. Encouraging the opportunity to connect with nature is a wonderful gift to give.

This is a short list and it is intended to help spark some ideas that also allow for a personalized approach to giving. Finding “that just right thing” brings you a sense of pleasure and fulfillment. There may be other ideas you have that help to encourage others to live well, feel well and be well. I’d love to hear how you are sharing the gift of wellness to others this holiday season!