Nutritional Health

What is your  relationship with food?

Last month I wrote about the heavy topic of fats. This month I was going to write Part 2 about it, because it is such a weighty topic that one column is not possible to cover all there is to say. However, right now I feel a completely unrelated topic has taken more precedence, and so for now I am going to put the topic of fats to the side and will pick it up at a future date.

So what could be more pressing than fats? The work that I do focuses primarily on the food we eat, how to get the nutrients we need, and on healing the body with food. I truly love what I do because helping people find their true health and really feel better is extremely rewarding. There are many paths on this journey to wellness, and inevitably I find that a pit stop for nearly everyone has to do with their relationship with food. That is what I would like to focus on here.

When I use the phrase, “your relationship with food,” what comes to mind for you? Do you find yourself spending a great deal of time and energy thinking about which foods to eat or not to eat? Do you feel bad if you eat certain foods and good if you eat other foods? Do you have a love/hate relationship with food? Does food make you feel a certain way, like guilty, stressed, happy or sad? At different times in life, nearly everyone has felt some, if not all of these things. Advertising and the media are constantly telling us what is “good” or “bad” to eat. “This food is healthy” touts a cereal box. “This food causes heart disease” claims an advertisement. “Feel good about your body — eat this food,” says a commercial. And on and on. Whew! That’s enough to stress anyone out.

There are some people who have food allergies or sensitivities, so you can bet that those people put a great deal of thought and care into what they eat. As a parent of a child with multiple food allergies, my personal relationship with food was forever changed with his diagnosis. 

The point here is that, depending on our own set of circumstances, our relationship with food can change at any given time.

The food we eat is important. The quality and quantity of our food choices will dictate our overall health more than almost anything else. And yet, it is really just a part of the whole. How we treat our bodies, mind and spirit are all part of the big picture.

When we know better, we do better. When we do better, we feel better. When we feel better, we do better.

There is an old proverb, “When you are hungry, eat. When you are thirsty, drink. When you are tired, sleep.” Simple words to live by, but when we feel so stressed out by the myriad tasks at hand, we just brush those aside and work through hunger, thirst and fatigue. Sound familiar?

Here’s something I know is true: It takes 21 days to make or break a habit. To do something consistently for 21 days will allow that thing to become a regular part of your life. The key, of course, is in the consistency. Let’s use sleep for example. Let’s say your goal is to go to sleep at 10:30 p.m. every night for the next 21 days. You’re on a roll and asleep at 10:30 p.m. for eight nights straight. Great! You notice that you have better energy throughout the day, that you aren’t craving caffeine or sugar as much. You think there may be something to this. But then something comes up and you don’t get to sleep until 11:30 p.m. Does that mean you’ve failed? Nope. It just means that you get to start again for the next 21 days. Get the idea? 

Giving yourself the goal of getting to sleep at a certain time for 21 days will help you stay motivated to stick to it. Knowing that you’re human, that things come up, that sometimes you aren’t able to get to sleep at that time, don’t want to get to sleep at that time, or even just forget to get to sleep at that time, doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It simply gives you an opportunity to begin again. How great that you get to begin again. And again. And again. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Giving ourselves permission will allow us to be kinder to ourselves. Then we will do better. And when we do better, we feel better.

This applies to our relationship with food as well. Whatever we choose to eat will either nourish us and fuel us in a healthy, supportive way or not. Every time we choose what to eat, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to make the best choice. And this opportunity happens again, and again and again.

Jeni Hall of Dublin is a board certified
nutritional therapist practicing in the Monadnock region. Her mission is to empower you to heal your own body and keep it healthy. See, for more information.

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