In the spirit of all things mental health, I thought I’d talk about something that can cause a lot of anxiety, guilt and overwhelm for many of us…food.
It’s 2018…we’re constantly on social media, hearing news headlines, watching ads, etc about all things food related. Foods that are supposedly ‘good’ and ‘bad’ for us, veganism, vegetarianism, the paleo diet, the sugar-free and gluten free crazes, high carb vs low carb, high fat vs low fat… the list goes on!
Then there so many distractions with what other people are raving about. Whether it be your best friend, mum, cousin, whoever is on the front cover of Vogue or Women’s Weekly or an Instagram celebrity. They may swear by a certain food or diet, claiming that it’s been life changing! This may indeed be true for them, but it certainly doesn’t mean that the same food or diet is going to be miraculous for you.
When taking steps to improve our health by what we eat, it can be hard not to get overwhelmed and demotivated by all of this food confusion. Good news…it doesn’t have to be this way! I firmly believe that no one should feel stress, fear, overwhelm or disheartenment by food and eating for health. In fact, I firmly believe that food should be fun and it should be enjoyed! My advice is simple – take a step back, go back to basics, and truly tune in to your body. Here’s how:
Eat with Mother Nature
Eat foods as close to their natural form as possible – veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, unprocessed meats, legumes, etc. An easy way to do this is by shopping from the outskirts of the supermarket – this is where all the beautiful nourishing fresh produce is (as opposed to the aisles where all the package processed products are).
Opt for balance over perfection
If you ask me, there’s no such thing as the perfect diet. Many of us fall into the habit of labelling foods as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and trying to completely avoid the ‘bad’ ones…only to gobble them up later on. Instead of this all or nothing mentality, why not think of these foods as ‘sometimes’ foods to be enjoyed from time to time. And when you do eat them, truly enjoy them (without the fear or guilt)!
Remember, there’s no ‘one size fits all’
Just like a pair of jeans and many other things in life, there really is no one size fits all when it comes to food and dietary habits. What works wonders for you will be worlds different to what works for your next door neighbour, uni friend, boss, aunty, etc. Try your best not to get distracted by what anyone else is doing. Instead, truly tune in to your body and what feels right for you at that time – really notice how your body feels around certain foods, and use that as a cue about what’s best for YOU!
Last but certainly not least, let food fill you with joy
Food is so nourishing and wonderful, it shouldn’t be a cause of fear or anxiety. Let’s stop all the negative labels, connotations and restrictions around food. Food isn’t either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and you aren’t inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for the food choices you make. Instead, let food be a source of nourishment and happiness in your life. Next time you eat, remove all judgement, be thankful, and truly enjoy it!
If you’d like some more guidance on eating or your relationship with food, please get in contact with us to book an appointment with a nutrition student.