Over the years I’ve come across clients who know what healthy food is and even understand the basics of nutrition quite well, yet fail to stick to a healthy food plan. Through health coaching and having studied holistic nutrition in depth it’s my understanding that our eating habits are affected by our relationship with food. Therefore I use my holistic knowledge and wellness therapies to help clients in this respect.
There’s a popular saying – eat to live or live to eat. We all have a bit of both in us, sometimes we eat to live for example before a workout eating a banana is done in terms of gaining some energy. At other times we eat for pleasure as in at a restaurant where we savor that delicious salmon fillet seasoned with dill and lemon. What’s important is to keep a balance between these two notions. When we go off balance, that’s when problems may arise. The food that we eat for pleasure must be limited and food for survival must be the bulk of our meals. Too much food association with pleasure may create an addiction and unhealthy feelings instead one should attain pleasure from other sources in life such as exercise, meaningful relationships, self-care and meditation. If we eat entirely for survival out of choice, food may become boring, unappetizing and in some instances one might end up binging on unhealthy foods after a while. There is no one prescribed formula for all, as we all are different, therefore you need to figure out what works for you as in what fits well. For me I like to indulge in two or three pleasurable meals per week. The rest of the week I stick to my calculated meal plan and focus on what my body needs in order to survive in a healthy manner.
One client of mine told me that she would use food as a reward, that’s similar to the pleasure notion. After a few sessions of combined therapies of mindfulness, aromatherapy and color therapy we were able to work on changing her mindset. She now rewards herself with self care activities like taking a long relaxed walk at the park, having an aromatic bath experience and journaling.
It is very common for us to avoid difficult feelings or things by distracting ourselves with unhealthy foods. This is known as emotional eating. If you catch yourself with cycles of emotional eating, seek a counselor or health coach. This will help in making you confront those bad or difficult feelings, by being more aware of these thoughts you are close to understanding your behavior of emotional eating and altering it. Tell your self its ok to feel sad, lonely, scared and tired and welcome your negative emotions with kindness and curiosity and ask them what they want from you. By approaching your feelings with kindness your body will begin to understand that it no longer has to over eat to protect you from your feelings. Plus by listening to your emotions you will become more aware of your self, which will create a sense confidence within you.
With social media, magazines, celebrities out there, many individuals suffer from body hate which is one of the biggest factors of emotional eating. Negativity, hatred, shame, guilt, disgust are feelings that make us beat ourselves up over and over again, and we tend to do this through over or under eating. Through regular self care, counseling and alternative therapies you can get over this destructive behavior and be healthy and in control of what you eat and when you eat. I have helped clients stop the cycle of emotional eating by encouraging them to make a commitment to reach deep inside themselves to find a place of grit and strength and alternative holistic therapies have assisted in their journeys too!