Welcome to 2016, “A New Year a New You” right? Right. Like you, I’m watching the usual weight loss commercials that hit our televisions every new year, try to capitalize on the consumer’s resolution to lose weight and keep their billions of dollars rolling in. But they sound so convincing, it MUST work. Then those little voices tell say, ‘Yes it can work, I can do this! I will do this!’ So you buy in all excited, you do really “good” and then at some point the perfect dieting scenario fades as life hits and that’s the end of that diet. You are “off the wagon” for a little while until life slows down and a friend introduces you to what she is doing and it’s “Let’s do this!” all over again. Sound familiar? Time for a little nutrition coaching…
Pretty much every program you see or hear about provide rules and regulations to follow, goals to achieve, and nutrition information (adding to the plate of nutrition information you already downloaded or researched from 50,000 other resources). All with great intentions to help you as the consumer get a handle on that eating of yours. But have you ever thought about if maybe all these rules and regulations within various programs are the same rules and regulations that provoke you to overindulge and break the rules themselves? To cause you to feel like you fall short? Increase your habit of fearing “bad” foods and lose trust in your own ability to choose what you eat? Confuse you even more? When was the last time (outside of overindulging) did you really really feel you could trust yourself in making your own choices about what works for your true needs, without doubt, without hesitation, without guilt, and with full confidence?
The point of today’s nutrition coaching session is, we are losing our own innate ability to make our own decisions when it comes to what foods truly work for us and WHY we’re eating, what we’re eating, and how much we’re eating in the first place. We live in a food abundant society and we rely on rules and regulations that we’ve been exposed to in our many years of dieting to determine what we “should” be eating and also deter us from having a positive relationship with food itself. We have become extremely hesitant in what we choose, eating more out of fear to not eat the “bad” foods or to not break the rules. Who’s to say it’s “wrong” if it works for YOU? If it helps YOUR need for balance, variety, and moderation? Here are 5 signs that you are disconnected from your own innate ability to eat according to your needs and that you are dependent on making choices primarily on rules and regulations you’ve been exposed to.
#1 You Don’t Know WHY you Eat
Nutrition Coaching: We’ve all heard “food is fuel”. What does that mean? Do you know when/if your body even needs fuel? How do you know? How many times a day do you eat for any other reason other than because you need fuel? Do you eat because you’re stressed, bored, sad, glad, anxious, or restless? Do you eat according to rules and regulations-because you’re “suppose” to eat every 3 hrs? Because you’ve been told you’ll store fat between meals if you don’t? What about those extra chocolates on you’re co-workers desk, do you eat because they are simply there in front of you? Or maybe you just eat the way you’ve been eating because that’s simply what you’ve been doing for so long you don’t even remember the reason why you started eating that way in the first place? When you have the urge to eat, ask yourself, “Am I Hungry?” If the answer is yes, choose foods that both interest you and nourish YOU. If you are NOT hungry, step back and observe why you have the urge to eat.
#2 WHEN you Eat is Based on Circumstances, Not Because your Body Needs Fuel
Nutrition Coaching: You eat because the program tells you to, or because (for example) you’re “suppose” to eat 6 times a day, every 3 hours, etc etc. You eat because it’s “lunch time” or because you had some free time to grab a snack. Point is, you do not eat because you are hungry. Do you remember what it feels like to be hungry, I mean physically hungry not head hungry? Can you still recognize the signs of your stomach growling, shrinking, gurgling, can you notice when you’re energy drops?
#3 WHAT you Eat Depends on the Program you are Following
Nutrition Coaching: Carbs are “bad”. Fruit is good. Dairy is “bad”. The food only has 3 points. It’s low fat. We could go on and on…What happened to eating the foods you choose to because they nourish you? The interest you, they provide you energy, less digestion problems, they satisfy you for a few hours, you sleep better, you recover better. Look at WHAT you’re eating. If you aren’t mindful and in charge of WHAT you CHOOSE to eat, it’s more than likely you’ll be searching for something that will fulfill this void sooner or later at times when you are not even hungry, taking in calories that our body simply doesn’t need, and we all know what happens when we take in more calories than what we really need.
#4 You Eat HOW MUCH you are Told to Eat
Nutrition Coaching: You eat 24 points because that’s what your advisor assigned you. You only consume 100g of carbs because you’re in Phase I of an 8 week program. All of these rules distract you from tuning in and FEELING how much you really need. Do you know when you’re content? What does that feel like? How do you know? Do you finish a meal without even checking in to determine if you are content or do you just finish a meal because the plate is empty, that’s the end of Meal #5, or because you were only allowed so many calories per meal? Cut your main meals in half, create a speed bump for yourself to check in and observe how you feel when you get there, do you feel content? If not, continue to eat, slowly, mindfully, until you are satisfied but not stuffed. Observe how long those particular foods give you energy and satiety until your body speaks to you when it needs fuel again.
#5 You’re ALL Out or Nothing
Nutrition Coaching: You’re either eating following the rules or breaking the rules, bad. Having “cheat” days, “bad” days, or “off the wagon” periods of time. You judge yourself and you’re progress based on standards other programs and our society has place upon you. Whatever happened to making a choice that maybe wasn’t mindful and you promised yourself to make the next choice a better one and being ok with that? Have you ever been in that beautiful place where you are eating in a balanced way where you have a wonderful combination of eating for enjoyment and eating for nourishment? Assuming no because once you are there, you never want to leave. Yes, there is such a place! And it’s amazing! But we’re so hard on ourselves, expecting ourselves to follow the “rules” all the time and then beating ourselves up when we break the rules, and then we feel bad about breaking the rules so we crawl back to the same rules and regulations that provoke us to break the rules in the first place. This is an easy way to see how much influence society’s rules and various diet plan experiences have impacted you. Are these “rules” preventing you from taking an inward observation of what balance works for YOU, your needs, your lifestyle?
At TNT Nutrition, we believe that your needs are your needs. Information is a tool, not a weapon. We thrive to strive to find that “happy place” with your eating, where you are eating for enjoyment AND for nourishment in a stress free environment and without “rules” to break. Today’s nutrition coaching session is to help bring awareness to your own eating behaviors and mindset. Start with the basics of WHY you eat. If you aren’t sure, that’s ok! Keep digging, keep observing without judgement. Learn to trust you again, and your body’s needs and learning what your needs really are in terms of balance, moderation, and variety. Have fun with it. Remember, it’s your life, you are in charge. Don’t let some set of rules and regulations get in the way of what truly works for you for the long term in management your weight.