Day 10 - Gentle Nutrition
As I mentioned above, I typically only get into this topic when I'm sure women are ready.....often several months into working together. In my experience, women cannot make truly healthy choices for themselves until they leave diet mentality behind. So, with that in mind, read this through and maybe tuck it away for later. This is a step in the process that you can revisit over and over and over again, as your gentle food rules may change. No rush to get it done today.
An important reminder before diving into Gentle Food Rules:
Health is not black or white. It is incredibly dynamic, complex, and forgiving.
My absolute LEAST favourite quote is:
“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”
WHAT?! That's just not true.
While I aim to regularly feed myself foods that make me feel energetic and well.....I know that I am a healthy person, even when I'm eating M&Ms. Incorporating a balance of play food into your diet does not make you unwell.
Nutrition is the science of the complex interactions between the foods we put in our body and our health. There is evidence of a wide range of people eating a wide range of foods - with varied nutrient density, living very well (and not well). The science is murky. For every vegan that lives to 100, you can find a Big Mac eater that lives to a 105. Conversely, the sad fact is that, vegans get cancer too. So do people who eat Paleo and #clean and all the right macros. Life and health are inherently unpredictable and your best bet to live the life that you enjoy the most - a life where you feel great AND you're having a really, really good time.
Food and exercise (and other lifestyle choices) IMPACT our health but they don't ultimately DICTATE it....so you can relieve yourself of the burden of ruining your health every time you take a bite of something currently labelled "unhealthy".
The goal with gentle nutrition is to figure out what feels good in your body and in your life. To balance work and play food while maintaining A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD, space for social events, holidays, emotional needs, changing nutrient and calorie requirements, and intuitive food desires.
Gentle Food Rules from the Pros:
- Geneen Roth:
- Eat when you are hungry.
- Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
- Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
- Eat what your body wants.
- Eat until you are satisfied.
- Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
- Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.
- Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch: Enjoy eating food. Not too much - not too little. Mostly what satisfies you.
- Michael Pollan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
No meal plans or numbers or rigid boundaries. Just guidelines.
The ADVANCED VERSION
I think it's also important to include gentle guidelines around HOW you want to live and what's important to you. For example, do you really value eating vegetarian or local? Is eating organic or from scratch something you care about? Maybe sitting down to eat at the table as a family is MORE important to you that cooking from scratch and so you order-in occasionally to make it happen. Make sure to work these values into your gentle food rules.
Lastly, I encourage women to write out some non-negotiables in their gentle food rules.
Things like -
- Dieting no longer has a place in my life anymore.
- I'll never sacrifice my mental, emotional, and/or physical health for a few pounds.
- I listen and am interested to nutrition science facts but ultimately, my body knows best
- I pay attention to how my body feels, not how much she weighs
- I value FLEXIBILITY above all else, because life is tough enough.
- Food should be fun and enjoyable.