I’ve been working in nutrition for almost 20 years and the most important thing I’ve learned is this: food is more than just the sum of its nutritional parts. And how we interact with food every day can be an act of self-love.
Food is something we do several times a day and it’s a way we can send a powerful message—both to our bodies and our spirit. Creating a gorgeous meal that your body loves is a glorious act of self-love. It speaks volumes and says “I am a priority. What I want and like matters.” But…it’s really hard to make yourself a priority. It really is. You’re not alone if you struggle with this.
For years/decades you’ve been taking care of others. You’ve taken care of your family, people at your work, and many people over your life. And now, I’m asking you to give yourself a bit of that attention.
Why meal plans can feel easier sometimes…
Many of my clients feel that it’s easier just to follow a meal plan. It can guide your food decisions each day, giving you one less thing to think about. The truth is, following a diet can sometimes feel easier than undieting. But, our body doesn’t like to be told what to do and it will rebel.
Most of you know what it feels like for your body to rebel. The food in the plan is now totally unappetizing. Cravings become unbearably loud. And eventually, you meander away from the diet.
Diets always fail—it’s their nature. Tons of research backs this up. But, dieting and dieting culture has woven itself into healthy eating so tightly that it’s hard to tell one from the other. I think it’s because dieting is so ingrained in our thinking about food and nutrition that we see it as normal.
Dieting culture tell us that:
- It’s “normal” to say no to cravings over and over again.
- It’s “normal” to bend your likes and dislikes to follow a “healthy eating plan”.
- It’s “normal” to feel like it’s your fault when you fall back to your old habits.
- It’s not normal and it’s not your fault. It’s dieting propaganda and enough is enough. There’s another way!!
You’re in a brand-spanking new year and it’s a common time to hop on a new diet or cleanse and restrict those foods that you’ve enjoyed during the holiday months.
And here I am, telling you to do the opposite. Don’t diet. Instead, eat like you matter.
What food do you really love? You deserve to feed yourself well, to feel satisfied after eating a meal, and to make a meal just because it’s what you like! But, yes, it’s hard.
So, let’s start with something easy…does the evening craving monster visit you? At the end of the day, when you plop yourself onto the couch and relax, does the evening craving monster climb onto the couch with you?
Your evening cravings aren’t a weakness and they’re definitely not a lack of willpower. Instead, they’re a clue. Your evening craving monster is trying to nudge you, it’s trying to let you know that something was out of balance during the day. And for most people, it’s trying to tell you that you didn’t eat enough. And/or, you didn’t eat enough carbohydrates.
It’s really easy to move through your day and make sure everyone in your life is well-fed, loved, and well taken care of, all while putting yourself on the back burner. You deserve more than just those crumbs grabbed off of your kid’s plate after they’ve eaten. You don’t come last.
So, instead of jumping into a hot new diet or new meal plan, I’m asking you to do something different. Something that can stir a deep feeling of empowerment. And it’s really not just about food—it’s about saying “I matter”.
Make just one meal because it’s something you love; this can be a beautiful act of self-care. As does making sure you also have something to eat for lunch. This does more than just quiet your evening craving monster; it’ll give you more energy.
I’ve seen this simple little habit, eating enough during the day, make huge changes in my clients’ lives over and over again. Instead of collapsing on the couch after a long day and zoning out in front of the TV, they have energy. With this small tweak, they now have the energy at the end of their day to connect with their family, partner, and friends. And isn’t feeling a connection with loved ones a beautiful part of life?
Simply put, by taking care of ourselves, we can take care of each other better. It’s not selfish—it’s an act of love.
So, this year, instead of adding a bunch of nos to your life, add a pile of yeses. Yes, to something you absolutely love. Yes, to a piece of chocolate cake eaten with oodles of joy. Yes, to adding yourself to your list of people you love and take care of.
Eating food simply because you enjoy it (not because it’s “healthy” or “good for you”) is a beautiful act of self-care. One delicious meal, created because it’s something that you enjoy, is wildly healing. And it sends a signal to your body that you’re important.
Eat like you matter…because you really, really do.
Lisa Kilgour, rhn is one of Nature’s Fare Markets’ nutritionists and sought-after speaker and educator who helps people heal from diverse and complex health issues. She has spoken at TEDxKelowna and is the author of Undieting: Freedom from the Bewildering World of Fad Diets. Check out the nutritionist schedule on page three and book your free appointment today at naturesfare.com.
Learn more: lisakilgour.com