Follow your body’s cues
Okay, this is one of the hardest health related posts I’ve written. As a person with poor body image and who has regularly been on some sort of diet for a majority of my life, this is something I have personally struggled with.
You need to follow your body’s cues.
This totally goes against most of what mainstream diets tell us. They all have the same sort of advice:
- Eat lots of this stuff
- Avoid things from this list
- Drink lots of water
- Ignore the cravings
Well, of course I have said some similar things, but the main point of my advice is to Eat real food. Avoid packages, items with an ingredients list, preservatives, etc. Drink when you are thirsty.
But what do you do about cravings or aversions?
Eat what sounds good to you and avoid what sounds bad.
The avoiding what sounds bad is super easy. I’ve never done many diets out there because I don’t like soup, beans and other things that affect my texture issues. And many sweet foods just don’t sound appealing to me, so I naturally avoid many foods that have excess sugar.
The part I really struggle with and am working on now is eating what sounds good.
What do most diets tell you to do when you crave sugar? Don’t eat it, be a martyr, use self-control! And what do you do? You can avoid it for awhile, but then you cave in after a week or a few days and binge eat. You eat a whole package of cookies, or eat several servings of ice cream. And then you give up. Or you tell yourself it’s just one day and you’ll do better tomorrow.
And then we are told to drink tons of water. The advice varies from 64 ounces a day to half your body weight in ounces daily. I read this recently: 8 Reasons NOT to Drink 8 Glasses of Water A Day. In most cases we are not following our body’s cues and are actually over hydrating!
So what is a Real Foodie to do?
The first thing you should do is listen to your body. If you are craving sweet, give your body sweet. I would start with eating some fruits to see if that takes care of the craving. But if you are really wanting dessert, go for it! Find some recipes that use whole food ingredients. You can try out my recipes for whole grain cupcakes (no icing necessary) and cookies. Eat one and move on. If a few hours later you are still craving sweet, re-evaluate.
Craving salty? Nuts may be exactly what you are craving. A slice of homemade bread with butter may take care of it. Make some soft pretzels. The main point is to stop the cycle of reaching for the normal chips or pre-packaged pretzels, find a way to take care of the craving while actually feeding your body.
And I’m learning with the water. Of course your body needs water, that is what we are made of! But if you are eating real foods, you are already getting a lot of water from the fruits and vegetables you are eating. The main point is to swap out all the juice and soda for water. If you are thirsty, fill up a glass of water. If you want some flavor add a slice of cucumber or lemon, or try out some other flavoring options. Maybe go for a glass of full-fat milk. Drink when you are thirsty and stop when you are satisfied. Stop focusing on quotas and minimums!
Remember the words “is this feeding me, or hurting me?” If it is hurting you then see if you can find something else, but if it is feeding your body, go for it! If you are constantly denying your body what it wants, you are setting yourself up for failure.
And stop focusing on the scale.
The goal is not rapid weight loss or a perfect body. The goal is balance and health. So eat what is not only good for you, but also what you are craving. Get active. If you are truly overweight, your body will slowly shed the excess. It may take months for your body to realize that it is being regularly nourished and getting what it needs to function, and then (and only then) will it start to lose its fat stores. And if it doesn’t you may want to consult a doctor about underlying issues.
Is there anything about this that is new to you? Is there anything encouraging you can share?
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