The struggle is real y’all when it comes to learning how to eat healthy…at least at first, right? It can feel so dang difficult and like you have to give up every delicious food you’ve ever eaten. This method actually might be what is keeping you stuck. Keep reading if you’re ready to make healthy eating a natural part of your life without deprivation.
Here’s the deal, I had a horrible relationship with food growing up. Food was either used to soothe a deeper inner pain or it was an enemy to be avoided at all costs, replaced with diet pills and weight loss shakes. They sound like two extremes, and they are. Growing up, I bounced between different houses, and therefore saw different behaviors around food modeled for me.
Confusion around food started in middle school. As if life isn’t messy enough when you’re hitting puberty, food was one more thing to be worrying about. It felt like I was more focused and self-conscious around food and my body than the rest of my friends, but looking back now, I’m pretty sure we all had our own baggage we were trying to deal with.
Overeating became the norm, and sadly so did the guilt or shame that followed. I would eat because I was bored. I’d eat when I wanted to celebrate and I’d eat if my day was crappy. There was always some sort of food fight happening between my ears.
Don’t be fooled by the lie that getting ‘healthier’ or eating ‘better’ will somehow make all of these disordered behaviors around food disappear. It doesn’t work like that. Changing what you eat, but not getting to the root of the why or the how is like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound.
Until you really change your relationship with food, you’ll carry the same disordered eating patterns around from one diet to another.
In fact, the ‘cleaner’ I ate or the more health conscious I got, new disordered eating thoughts developed around food.
Eating healthy shouldn’t feel hard
One of the biggest problems I see across the health and fitness space is the idea that eating healthy should be hard and only those blessed with iron-clad willpower can succeed. It really ticks me off to see women feeling guilt, shame, or like they have to ‘cheat’ on their diets. Eating healthy should be just as natural as breathing, and when done intuitively, it will be.
Honestly, that kind of thinking is some of the most damaging. And it’s keeping you stuck. A healthy diet is full of variety. It includes both fruits + veggies and your favorite dessert on occasion. Most of us don’t feel like we have enough time as it is in every day. So why are we giving food so much real estate in our minds?
I’m not at all advocating you should eat anything and everything you want, or that you should give into your every craving. What I am advocating for is that you get in touch with yourself and figure out what a healthy diet looks like for you.
This means tuning out the noise from the diet industry. Instead create your own core values around food, and develop healthy habits, thoughts, and behaviors around food. Which is way easier said than done. I get it.
But the more reps you put in, the easier and the more natural it will become. I promise.
Eating healthy should be a part of everyday, normal life. As much so as eating an unhealthy diet.
It’s time to establish a new normal around food. And here is where that journey begins for you.
Tune out the noise of the diet industry
There is so much noise about how we should eat, what we should eat, and what we should look like. Being bombarded with these messages make it hard to tune into what will actually work for you over a long period of time.
One of the best ways you can start to drown out the noise, is to tune into yourself instead.
Self-awareness is the key to all change. I truly believe that. You can’t change what you don’t know isn’t working for you.
If you want to resist the external messages that don’t align with you, you’ve got to look inside and be willing to make some changes.
Messages about willpower seem to be the common theme of mainstream fitness, but what happens when willpower fails? Relying only on your willpower to reach your goals is a sure fire way to set yourself up for disaster…as most of us have experienced at one point or another in the battle of the bulge.
Let’s be real for a minute–there is NO shortage of information out there. In, fact I believer there is too much diet information out there. As a result, we have forgotten how to eat.
Eating intuitively used to be, well, intuitive. Meaning we just knew how to do it. We didn’t rely on experts to tell us we needed veggies and fruits. Or to limit sweets and other processed foods. We naturally just knew what to eat, when, and how much of it. But somewhere along the line, we’ve given that inner power over and have silenced our inner wisdom about food.
Learning to listen to your inner intuitive eater
You’re probably wondering if you can actually make intuitive eating work for you. That’s totally understandable, and I don’t blame you. If you’re like me, and have a ton of nutritiional baggage you’ve been carrying around, its normal to have doubts, fear, and anxiety. Heck, with all I’ve been through with food, I’ve often wondered if I have what it takes to teach other women how to health their relationship with food. But I’ve seen first hand how the process works.
No matter where you are coming from on your food journey, you have what it takes to eat intuitively.
Currently, it is quite normal to be food and body obsessed, but that is not how it’s supposed to be. We should be taking care of ourselves through food and exercise. Not making it one more thing to worry about doing “right” or being good at.
Being in the health industry I’ve questioned whether or not I’d be leading women astray by empowering them to question the health info out there. One of my beliefs as a coach is each woman should be confident and capable of making the best choices for herself. If I told you to play by our cultural rules and follow the leader without wondering where they’re leading, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a coach.
Unhealthy food obsession
Deep down I sensed that obsessing over food and health wasn’t actually healthy. For so long though I went along with it because it’s a normal part of our culture.
I knew it was time to do things differently if I really wanted to step into my full power as the woman I was created to be. And if there’s a small part of you that truly believes you were made for more, then it’s time for you to do things differently too when it comes to how you approach eating.
Contrary to popular belief, people haven’t always been so food obsessed and body conscious. It’s time to establish a new normal around food and to stop normalizing disordered eating behaviors.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Your body was made to help you eat in a way that nourishes you and gives your body the nutrients it needs. To move away from the diet noise, we’ve got to move closer to eating intuitively, building healthy habits around food, and establish our core values around food.
Establish a new norm..here’s how I did it.
Ditching your beliefs around food can be overwhelming. I started questioning everything about food and how I interacted with it. One of the first steps in this process was to look at my relationship with food–both now and in the past.
I had to get really honest about my behaviors when it came to eating. Where did the behaviors and beliefs come from? Slowly a food story started to emerge. I realized my beliefs and feelings about food weren’t really my own, but rather those of my family and diet culture.
After identifying my food story, I was able to start rewriting it bit by bit. I could take the information I had about my beliefs and behaviors around food up to that point and choose which ones I wanted to keep and which ones needed an upgrade.
Instead of listening to the noise and following someone else’s rules about what was healthy, I decided I needed to do what I’ve never done before:
Create a healthy relationship with food. Ditch the food rules and beliefs. And start from scratch. The first order of business was to rebuild the foundation with habits.
Nobody said it was going to be easy
Not too far into this journey, it became clear just how much I’d internalized ‘healthisms’ and cultural norms around food as truth and the only way to be healthy.
Being mindful is hard at first, and it doesn’t deliver the sexy promises of main diet culture with quick fixes. In fact, the changes will happen on the inside long before they do on the outside.
This way of doing things is still a bit radical, and is just a whisper in the noisy diet/ health world. That is changing though. With books like Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating, there’s a wave of change on the horizon.
As with anything, there are extremes on both ends (HAES and traditional diet culture). In my opinion neither are right. Both ultimately leave you powerless and in an unhealthy place with food and yourself. Ultimately, I believe you need to step up and take ownership of your health. Part of that is creating the system and the beliefs that truly serve you and your higher purpose in life.
Throughout this journey, I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve also realized I don’t have to accept what others have said or taught me about food just like in every other area of life.
I’m much more relaxed about and around food. Eating doesn’t feel like a chore or another thing I’ve got to worry about succeeding at. With healthy habits in place and being in touch with what I believe about food, healthy eating feels natural and so much easier.
You can still be healthy even if you’re not consuming all of the health information out there. In fact, I’d say you might even be healthier because there is less anxiety and worry.
Learning to eat this way has given me freedom in ways I never imagined. I’m able to be more present at meal times and enjoy the company and the experiences because I don’t have the diet ticker running in the back of my mind. I’m not counting macros or points. I can just be in the moment, confidently.
Want to learn more about how I can help you ditch the diet mentality and actually start enjoying exercise? Get started here by clicking the link to set up your free consult call.