Have you ever seriously thought about your relationship with food? Maybe that relationship needs to be redefined or maybe it’s time for a breakup after all these years. I hope this article makes it a little easier for you to decide, because, as you know, breaking up is hard to do!
I have personally coached thousands of individuals in many areas of health, including nutrition, over that past seven years in the work I do as a health educator. So let’s give this some thought and see if I can share a bit of insight that I hope will be helpful to you.
Are you an emotional eater who uses food to self-soothe? Do you have a love-hate relationship with food where you over indulge one minute then make up for it by punishing yourself with starvation the next? Are you a stress eater? Are you a binge eater? Will you eat anything just to end your hunger? Are you a “foodie” who sees food as an interest, identity, or hobby? Do you have a food addiction? Are you vegan? Do you only eat organic? Are you a chronic dieter? Do you follow eating rules? Do you wish you could just take a pill and be done with it all?!
However you feel about food; how you identify with it or whatever position you take on it, one thing seems to be crystal clear: relationships with food are indeed complex and varied. And it is important to remember that there is no such thing as perfection or an easy answer when it comes to our diet. Some days our diet may be better than others and that’s okay! The goal is to maintain daily balance and not “beat ourselves up” over something we ate.
Attaching emotions to food can result in eating disorders that can do serious health damage. It is a much better use of our time to be mindful of moderation and become more active than it is to scrutinize everything that goes into our mouths. And truthfully, health information is perishable just like food!
Bottom Line: We need to try to eat the best we can, as often as we can, in order to feel the best we can. Make sense?
I believe we are overloaded with wellness information right now and that makes it hard to decide on the right things to do in the eyes of all the “experts” out there. I hear this frustration constantly, and it doesn’t make my job any easier. Personally, I find information on nutrition, vitamins, and supplements sometimes confusing and conflicting, leaving me to question my own choices no matter how evidence-based they are.
So, in order to simplify, here is a brief summary of my thoughts on “wellness” which are often discussed in one way or another with each health-related topic I teach:
- Know your numbers such as your blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index, and cholesterol by keeping up with yearly screenings from your doctor or other health professional. Before you proceed with any weight loss or exercise routines, consult your MD. You need to approach improvements in your health safely.
- Choose real food like colorful fruits and vegetables over packaged food in boxes and bags. Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables, aiming for those high in antioxidants which decrease oxidative stress leading to inflammation in the body, the basis for many chronic conditions. Aim for balance by eating from the following food groups most days — lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy.
- Remember to “nourish first before the desserts!” Moderation is the goal, not going without. Elimination = deprivation. Not sustainable.
- Practice portion control and stop eating when you feel satisfied, not full. Think quality over quantity with respect to food: Nutrient dense over calorie dense.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise! Engage in aerobic activity at moderate to vigorous intensity 30-60 minutes, 3-5 times per week, in addition to strength training, 2-3 times per week. Yoga for stretching and back and spine health is also recommended.
- Always consult your MD as to whether you need vitamins and/or supplements which can actually hinder or multiply the effects of prescription medications or just be a waste of money if you do not have any deficiencies. And be sure your MD is aware of any vitamins or supplements you are taking.
- For further reading on health-related matters, see my resource page for helpful links.
Wishing you the very best in health and happiness,
–> “Sorry, there’s no magic bullet. You gotta eat healthy and live healthy to be healthy and look healthy. End of story.” ~ Morgan Spurlock
COPYRIGHT © Nurse Kelly and nursekellyknows.com [2015-2017].