Nourishment is beyond nutrition.
What truly feeds us is the relationship we have with, not only our food, but also our Self. This includes everything that surrounds us and how we connect with nature through our food choices. It is the appreciation of simple things, like the quality of the food, that brings out the taste. It is how we care for it while we cook and eat that makes a difference in how we experience food. With the holiday season coming up, the relationship we have with eating is very intermixed with our history around food as we were growing up. It is a time of being at the table with those who taught us through time how to eat, what to eat, and how our relationship with food grew into what it is today.
Taking really good care of ourselves seems like it should be so simple that we don’t even consider how our relationship with food plays into our choices.
I often hear from new clients that they are frustrated, because they have been dieting for most of their life without success. They feel it is hard to get healthy, because of limited choices so they keep falling off the wagon. The thing is, there is no wagon in a healthy life-food-style! There is positive self-restraint, not denial and restrictions, but rather mindfulness, self-respect, love, and care. The dieting approach is like being called by the sirens, overtime you are away from your controlled atmosphere. If you know the story, it is similar to the daily promise that we will stay on course, but something calls us down into the depth of the ocean, and we once again get lost in cravings. Especially during the holiday season, there can be many triggers for dieters. So perhaps this time, think nourishment instead.
EATING FOR NOURISHMENT
Why are we eating? When we are eating to lose weight, we tend to eat from counting calories perspective and we don’t consider nourishment. What is it about the mindset of losing weight that seems like it should be painful? During the holiday season being on a diet is never a good idea, because you will get trigger and the risk of letting it all go is just so much higher.
I consistently find that when we focus on being nourished, we stay motivated, on track, …and we lose weight!
I see it all the time with my clients and I love it when this shift happens. It is a shift that happens for good! The choices are plentiful, because we are eating food from the earth, and by default that pretty much means we are healthy! Yes, it is a new way of eating and thinking, but it is sustainable and it helps you quit dieting! For the holiday season most give up on themselves, because they know the caloric intake is so different than there normal dieting choices. Well, it does not have to be that way.
We each need to find our life-food-style
The food culture these days is all about pleasure, but we forget that pleasure is more than what pleases our taste-buds. That is where we get lost! We need to bring pleasure into eating healthy, because being nourished is so much more than picking nutrient-dense foods. We each need, like, and crave different things and we need to learn how to honor and navigate that. We are unique individuals with different bodies, preferences, stories, and dreams. To embrace that is what nourishes us from a life-style perspective.
How to eat. What to eat.
I cook meals from whole, real, and seasonal foods and. I feel inspired by my heritage of Nordic foods, which are much more dense than what we tend to call dieting foods here. Even the holiday meals can be healthy, because of the choices of ingredients we make. I cook based on ingredients and the whole thing becomes so much easier to tackle. Especially if you, like me, are not a chef. In my online course I show you how to use the different ingredients in easy and accessible meals, this way it is more fun, more intuitive, and much more simple to make great healthy meals.
Apart from loving my good comfort foods during this season, I also have a craving for the outdoors (I love nature), a hunger for feeling healthy and vibrant as I age (let’s call it mature – I am still only 52 for a couple of weeks), and a thirst to fight disease (I am considered high-risk breast-cancer). So I arm myself with healthy, nourishing choices, because I want to eat to live in a thriving way. I surround myself with food bowls and tea-cups that feel good to hold and earthy to look at, because that is what I like from a style perspective, it helps me feel grounded and nourished and remind me that there is more to eating than just the food, it is the whole experience. During the holiday season there are so many ways to create nourishment from the environment and shift the experience of eating.
Instead of eating from the dieting mentality of what I cannot have and should/should not eat, I eat based on what nourishes my body, which is more about how food makes me feel, and for that matter how my mind and soul feel, as well.
Don’t get lost in right and wrong. Keep it simple and make it yours.
Food as a tool.
Food and mood is so tightly related, and our emotions are triggered or balanced by our food choices, so I actually master how I feel by my choices instead of being on an emotional rollercoaster all the time. Getting closer to menopause, this way of eating has also helped me avoid the struggling of the hormonal ups and downs. Food is a tool beyond making us healthy, it is a tool for feeling good and thriving.
Food gives us not only more life and vibrancy, but the plant-kingdom is so rich in food choices that it opens up a whole new world of creative cooking. It is beyond avoiding junk and processed, fried, or fast food and colorful candies. We need to look at what nature offers us to eat instead of what food we can get from a factory, where packaging and artificial flavoring is what makes it enticing.
In my book EAT TO FEEL FULL and nourish yourself for good, I talk about how eating to feel nourished helps us let go of the dieting mentality and that is actually what helps us lose weight in a sustainable way. Eating to be nourished becomes your life-style, food choices, and eating habits that help you get healthy instead of on a diet. Something else happens too.
When you focus on being nourished, your food choices are naturally more yummy and the yum-factor in your meals lowers the cravings between meals!
Here some simple ways to shift to nourishment:
- Get your sleep. If there is one thing we know by now about health, it is that sleep is one of the most important factors for anything from inflammation, hormonal balances, weight issues, cravings, and erratic eating habits.
- Make room for pauses. It always seems like we never have enough time, but in between all of the things we do all day are little moments where a simple pause can make a huge difference in how stressed you feel. If that pause is a simple deep breath, a glass of water, or the appreciation for something you see on your way, it all helps you feel just a little more nourished and a little less stressed.
- Start the morning with water. Hot water with raw honey is very soothing in the winter and helps boost your immune system, but also gives you that sweetness that we often look for in our breakfast meals. Sweetness also opens up the liver in the morning, which is when you want to “activate” your liver energy, which helps you feels ready for the day instead of sluggish. Most want that cup of coffee to get started, but try water. You might be surprised. Wait to have your caffeine until after you eat. If you need a “morning pick me up” beyond the water, make a green juice. You can use the powdered version so you don’t have to get the blender going.
- Make a breakfast at home, even if it is fast. Try one of my BYOB (bring your own breakfast) that you can make at night and bring in the morning.
- Eat a good lunch and choose foods that are substantial. For example, if you pick up your lunch and normally get a salad, then change it up with a “salad” that is based on vegetables and legumes with good fats like avocado, not just greens. If you order from a salad bar, ask them to re-proportion your choices. You need a lot of good fiber and fat to feel full and satisfied. Many under eat at lunch and go for the cookie jar by 4pm. If you bring it from home, simply use canned beans and leftover veggies, add some fresh greens–you got food. Now, if you know you are going to have a big meal later, you can choose a lighter or smaller lunch, but make sure it still gets you all the way to dinner. The cookie jar is always out during the holiday season waving at you to come over, like the Sirens calling you.
- Think real food for snacks. One of my favorites is to have a soup for a snack instead of just fruit. It is like a food-based smoothie. The big trigger during the holiday season is the candies and cookies that are out everywhere. Be mindful that you will get triggered by sight, smell, and others grabbing for something.
- Keep it simple for dinner when you are not at a dinner party. Make sure the whole month is not turning into a party. Protein and something green, like vegetables that are sautéed is a good option. Dinner is when you want to eat light so you can get your body ready for sleep and allow your system to recover overnight instead of digesting. I will write another post about how to navigate the Holiday meals.
- Finish your dinner with a digestive tea. Choose a sweet tea if you tend to have sweet cravings after meals. Teas with mint, licorice, ginger, orange peel, and other fruit varieties are all yummy and herbal, so you avoid the caffeine before bedtime. Sweet teas however also feel more soothing and is a good way to simmer down ready for bed.
- If you cannot get to your normal exercise routines, get outside for walks. Some fresh air, big breathing and simple movements can hold you over without turning into a couch-potato.
If you want to get through this season in a way the keeps your sanity, health, and intentions while also getting into the new year without the old feeling of starting over, book a session with me or join the online program.