When I meet with people as a wellness coach or personal trainer, among the things people discuss most is their eating habits. So many people have had a strained relationship with food for most of their lives. We find comfort in food from the day we are born; we are rewarded with treats as children; as teenagers many people develop body image issues and start to “diet” or starve themselves- or on the other end of the spectrum, teenagers gorge themselves on chips, soda, pizza and hotdogs. As adults we learn to count calories- feeling guilt or a “price” associated with every meal, or we eat for emotional reasons, or add high-calorie alcohol to our daily menu to relax after a long day of work. We associate our social life with going out and eating and drinking with our friends (this is probably my biggest struggle with food relationships).
I think how we think about food and the language that we use is important. When people ask about their food, I always say that I cannot prescribe them any specific “diet” and I don’t like the connotation of the word diet anyway. What I can tell people is that I believe in eating from a nutrition mindset. Ask yourself, “What does my body need?” A drug addict can stop using drugs to fight their addiction. A food addict cannot stop eating food. Food is our fuel and giving our bodies what they need is just as important as not putting garbage and excessive calories into them. Although I think logging meals can be a good idea when starting a new meal plan, to help a person be more mindful of what they are consuming, I think having to count every calorie that we consume is not something that is a sustainable habit. I also think that it is OK to enjoy food without attaching guilt to it.
• Eat for nutrition: Make sure you are getting enough lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Include enough vitamins and minerals in your food by eating a wide variety of foods, especially green vegetables.
• Continue to enjoy food. Your favorite foods can be prepared so that they are healthier.
• Give yourself a treat day. Unless you are training for a specific event that involves your pant size, I think you need to have a day where you allow yourself to relax and have food you enjoy, even if it may not be something that should be included daily in a healthy meal plan.
• Think about your relationship with food. (“When Food is Love” is a book that was just recommended to me today).
• Continue to enjoy food. Your favorite foods can be prepared so that they are healthier. Find ways to add nutritional value to what you already like.
Liz Jones is a wellness professional in Rockwall, Mesquite, Wylie and surrounding areas. She is a writer, certified yoga instructor, personal trainer and wellness coach. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management, with a graduate certificate in Ethics and Leadership. Her undergraduate studies included communication, business, writing, art, fitness, and dance. Liz Jones can be reached at: [email protected].