ONCE LOST IN a raging battle with body image herself, our nutrition contributor, integrative nutritionist Jennie Miremadi, is a big believer in the importance of positive self-talk. Her work with private nutrition clients stresses the importance of an emotionally healthy approach to food.
If you liked Jennie’s ‘Wellness Girls’ Guide To Collage Survival‘ series a few months back, you’ll love this series on a daily diet that’s loaded, first and foremost, with plenty of self-love. Explore the basics of this holistically healthy approach to food below, and check back for more on the topic soon.
Changing what you eat can radically improve your life — from making you feel better in your body to improving your energy to helping you overcome major health issues. But, if you’ve ever tried to upgrade your diet, you may have noticed that changing what you eat only feels sustainable if you approach it in the right way. You cannot create lasting change when you come from a place of self-loathing. Shaming yourself into eating healthy food just doesn’t work.
The secret to elevating your diet (and making it last) is to do it with love. When you believe that you’re worthy of caring for yourself, you’ll instinctively put your health and body first. When you start loving yourself more, you’ll naturally start choosing to nourish yourself with healthy food. If you’d like to bring more love to your relationship with food, but don’t know where to start then these self-love diet tips are for you.
Creating A Self-Love Diet.
Connect with the idea that you deserve to feel good in your body; then love your body by nourishing it with nutrient-rich, real, whole foods that will make you feel amazing from the inside out. Know that when you fill your plate with protein, healthy fat and fiber-rich carbohydrates, this macronutrient combo will not only help satiate you, it will stabilize your blood sugar and give you the sustained energy that you need to feel fabulous.
Although you’re going to feel your best if you stick with a healthy, nutrient-rich diet most of the time, balance is important, and that includes giving yourself permission to have the occasional treat without feeling guilty or ashamed about what you ate. The key is to make a conscious decision to indulge, eat only the amount that your body is physically hungry for, and fully enjoy what you’re eating without guilt or shame. If you don’t feel well after you eat a particular food, take that into consideration the next time you’re deciding whether you want to eat that food — but don’t let it diminish how you feel about yourself.
You show your body love by tuning into it mindfully when you eat. Put away distractions like your phone, computer and TV so that you can be totally present with your food. Eat slowly, tasting every bite of food, and notice the hunger levels in your stomach as you eat. When your stomach is physically full, stop eating. Remember, you honor your body when you listen to what it needs and that includes connecting to the amount of food that it’s physically hungry for.
Trust Your Body…
You’re the best judge of what’s working for your body. If there’s a particular diet that works for others, but makes you feel unwell, then it isn’t right for you. Respect your body by trusting what it’s telling you.
Let Go of Perfection…
When you aim for diet perfection, you don’t make room for real life situations where you’ll need (or want) flexibility to deviate from your diet. And, because no one is perfect, it’s inevitable that things won’t always go the way you want them to. When this happens, you’ll always end up feeling ‘less than’ because you’ve created an unattainable goal for yourself. Show yourself love by letting go of perfection and allowing your best to be good enough.
Notice Your Feelings…
At the outset of working with me, some of my clients think it will be impossible to stick with a healthier way of eating. They’ve tried in the past, felt deprived and ultimately reverted back to how they ate before. But when these same clients start connecting with how the food they eat makes them feel, they have no desire to go back to the food that they used to eat because they feel so much better with their healthier choices. When they do try a food they used to eat, they generally tell me that it made them feel so awful that it just wasn’t worth it.
Like my clients, the most powerful tool you have to do right by your body is to notice how the food you eat makes you feel and to let that guide what you decide to eat. The more you connect with how good you feel when you nourish your body with healthy food, and how unwell you feel when you eat unhealthy food, the more you’ll naturally gravitate toward the healthier food. With this mindset shift, you’ll be able to sustain a healthier, more nourishing relationship with food.
Be Kind To Yourself…
If you fall off track with your food, don’t let the voices in your head telling you that you’re not good enough creep in. Those seemingly harmless whispers are toxic, damaging and take a major toll on your self-worth. If you’ve been diminishing yourself in this way, it’s time to change how you speak to yourself. First, pay close attention to your thoughts. Each time you catch your inner critic on the attack, pause and say, “No, I won’t talk to myself like this. I deserve better.” Then speak to yourself with the kind and compassionate words you deserve to hear.
Take a peek inside Jennie’s fridge, scoop up some healthy snack recipes
and discover more advice for balanced living here.