Today’s blog post is written by a guest contributor. If you’re interested in contributing to the blog, email email@example.com.
Hey there, my name is Kelly Powers, and I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who helps busy independent women feel confident in the kitchen while improving their relationship with food. I’m really excited to be contributing to Sivan’s blog. I hope you find this post helpful!
What we eat, when we eat, how we eat, and why we eat are often very personal and individualized. Though, ultimately an individual’s choice, many factors beyond our control can influence our daily intake.
As those of you with children are likely aware, we’re born intuitive eaters. Before parents, caregivers, doctors, social media, and what often feels like anyone and everyone shares their opinion about food and nutrition, we intuitively know what’s best. Babies stop feeding when they’re full. Infants stop eating when they’re satiated. Kids lose interest when they’re done. Why is it that as we grow into adults we often forget to listen to our bodies and honor our needs?
Well, the 250 billion dollar diet industry is definitely a factor; profiting from insecurities by selling health, happiness, and prosperity in an enticing and unattainable package. Promotingrestriction, fad diets, calorie counting, and everything under the sun (that’s generally not backed by scientific research), the diet industry is setting you up for failure.
But what if I told you that you didn’t have to listen – that you’d be better off kicking all of these external influences to the curb? That you could find health, happiness, and prosperity by canceling diet culture and listening to the one person who knows you best – yourself?
Well, you can. And you can start right now. Here are five ways to improve your relationship with food.
+ Replace calorie counting and tracking
Delete the apps – you don’t need them. Challenge the serving size listed by eating the amount that sounds good to you. Recognize how often calorie-counting is happening, and if you can’t stop, do a grounding exercise or distract yourself by singing the ABCs or focusing on the word “stop.” You can’t do two things at the same time. This will help you shift your thought process and begin to rewire your brain. Finally, focus on how you feel; let that be your motivation.
+ Get in the kitchen
View it as a form of self-care, because, well, it is. Put on some music; pour yourself a glass of wine if you’re of age; taste and play as you go. Let yourself have some fun! Start with a few foundational recipes and simple cooking techniques. Find a few you enjoy and master them. Try batch cooking to save time during the week. Cook for friends and family. Plate your meals on nice dishes (yes, even take out). All of these things will help you reconnect with food and yourself.
+ Slow down and practice mindful eating
Whether you have 5 minutes or 45 minutes, take a few seconds to check in with yourself and your body before meals and snacks. If you’re open to it, the 4-7-8breathing exercise is a great introductory tool that will help you connect with your body and hunger cues. It’s simple – sit up straight and exhale completely through your mouth, inhale through your nose to the count of 4, hold it for a count of 7 then exhale completely through your mouth to the count of 8. Repeat as needed.
+ Cancel weight loss and diet culture
That influencer who’s genetically predisposed to look a certain way that promotes disordered eating with no background in nutrition? Unfollow. The personal trainer telling you to remove carbs from your diet and fast for 16 hours a day? Unfollow. The IG model who makes you feel bad about your body? You guessed it, unfollow. You have the power to control the messages you receive in some settings – take it.
+ Put away the scale
Who’s ever felt better by weighing themself? If it feels scary to not weigh yourself, it’s okay, that’s expected. If you’ve been a chronic dieter and weigher, not using external tools like the scale to validate your health and worth will likely feel uncomfortable. Part of this process will be about learning to connect with your body’s internal wisdom instead of listening to rules from diet culture. Ultimately, over time, the goal will be to connect your mind and body so they come together one.
Most importantly, remember that habits take some time to change, but they can be changed. With a bit of effort and time, healthy eating and living well can become a part of your everyday life.