How To Jump Start a Healthy Relationship with Food and Your Body
By Guest Bloggers McKenzie Hall & Lisa Dixon
When it comes to our jobs, we sometimes feel like we’re on a never ending shift. We’re Registered Dietitians, so that means we share our knowledge about food and the effects it has on the body. Since everyone has to eat, and more recently, food is at the forefront of everyone’s radars, the conversation around food seems to be a constant one.
When we meet someone for the first time and share what we do, it often seems to open the gateway to a game of 20 questions. “What do you think about the Paleo diet?” “It’s a good thing to give up gluten, right?” “Is a banana bad for me?” “So, do you always eat healthy?” When we’re asked these kinds of questions, we’re happy to answer them. We feel grateful that people feel comfortable enough to ask. But when it comes to the topic of food (and mostly everything else in life, for that matter), people don’t want to be judged. It is our mission to engage in food based conversation, judgment-free. We’re on a mission to repair broken relationships with food and to change the negative relationships people have with their bodies to healthy, loving ones.
For us, food is one of those amazing things that enriches lives in so many ways. Food should nourish your life, not the reverse. Food is meant to help us feel energetic and vibrant, not lethargic or drained; food is meant to help us feel beautiful, not meant to induce self-hatred; food is meant to bring our loved ones together, not to be feared at social gatherings; food is meant help fight off disease, not cause it; food is meant to be simple, not complicated.
So, when we get asked these food-related questions, it probably catches people off-guard to hear our answers. We don’t believe in diets or restricting yourself to anything unless you absolutely have to for allergy or health reasons. The terms “bad foods” or “good foods” don’t exist in our vocabularies- and if “eating healthy” means we eat foods that we think taste good, help us feel good, and don’t leave us feeling deprived – then yes, we eat healthy.
Here are five concepts to embrace when it comes to food. They encourage you to live your best life and they promote healthy, happy relationships with your food and your body:
- Be done with the dieting. Diets tend to categorize certain foods as “bad,” “wrong” or “off-limits.” This sets you up for failure or guilt. When you’re able to allow all foods into your eating world, you are finally able to relieve yourself of unconscious feelings of deprivation which often leads to subsequent overeating. How many times have you broken your diet and thought “I blew it anyways, so I might as well have more…”? If you allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods mindfully, you’ll be less likely to over-indulge in the long run.
- Eat real food. People tend to get hung up on a food’s nutrition content – things like sugar, fat, and fiber grams. When you focus on eating real food – unprocessed, unpackaged food – food you can picture growing in nature, the nutrition takes care of itself. Focus on enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good-quality proteins and healthy fats in reasonable portions.
- Nourish your body regularly. Most people feel their best when they nourish their bodies every 3 – 5 hours. Eating regularly helps to keep your metabolism going at a quick pace and keeps you bright-eyed from dawn till dusk. Skipping meals and snacks opens up the opportunity to become over-hungry. By the time you finally have a chance to decompress, you’re more likely to make up for your skipped meals (and more). Pack a few extra snacks in your purse, car, or desk. Try having fresh fruit, whole grain crackers or granola bars, nuts, veggies, cheese, hummus, or trail mix on hand to help get you through the day. If you can manage to do this, you’ll feel much better.
- Surround yourself with positive people. This one is so important, that we’ll say it again. Surround yourself with positive people. A recent study from Ohio State University in Columbus found that the key factor for loving your body isn’t related to size. If a woman’s social network appreciates her body and if she feels accepted, she will in turn appreciate her body more, have a greater appreciation for her body’s physical abilities, eat intuitively, and be more apt to trust her hunger cues. Surround yourself with people you love and respect – and who love and respect you. It’s good for your health.
- Practice self-compassion. When people put more energy and focus on loving themselves and removing the guilt, the weight will take care of itself. This might sound overly simplistic, but there is a direct link between your self esteem and body weight. There are going to be some days when you eat too much. There are going to be some days when you eat too little. That’s A-Okay. It’s part of being human. It’s part of life– cut yourself some slack. Remind yourself that you are a perfectly imperfect version of you.
If you feel as though you have a broken relationship with food or your body, it’s time to jump off of the fence, and start treating your mind and body with respect. It’s never too late to start. You matter.
About McKenzie Hall & Lisa Dixon
McKenzie Hall & Lisa Dixon are Registered Dietitians and the founders of Nourish RDs, a nutrition counseling and communications company. Together, they help others to love their bodies, and laugh a lot. Their food philosophy is simple, “Eat real food, and share it with those you love.”
They live by the philosophy that eating well isn’t about what you can’t eat; it’s about what you CAN eat. Eating real, wholesome food is affordable, accessible, and achievable. To read more about their workshops and conferences, click here.
Tell us, do you have a healthy relationship with food and your body? Are you in the minority of women who love their bodies? Are you a healthy eater or do you struggle with food and weight? How do YOU find the time to eat healthy on the go? We’d love your TIPS. Share them right here…
Or if you have a question for McKenzie and Lisa, ask away!