• Ellen Allen

Chewsing Your Food Lifestyle

We're deep into a time of year in which food often takes center stage. You might be attending fewer parties this year, but chances are you're still indulging in those traditional holiday treats.

And you know what? THAT'S OKAY.

I'll repeat that: IT IS OKAY TO EAT THE TREATS.

However, none of us wants to make it to the new year feeling like we overdid it. So how do we find a balance between eating healthy foods and the occasional indulgence?

It's all in how you think about your food choices. In other words, it's all in your food mindset, and part of your food lifestyle.

Most of us have a less-than-ideal relationship with food, whether we think we do or not. Society, the government, and "experts" tell us ALLLL kinds of lies about how we should feed ourselves. And it leads to some warped thinking about our food lifestyles.

What do I mean by "food lifestyle?" The narratives and beliefs that propel your food

choices on the daily. Not the isolated choice here or there. I'm talking about the reasons you eat what you do, every day.

For example, some people make food lifestyle choices based on:

  • Calorie content. While this is helpful info to know, that number doesn't tell the whole story.

  • Fat/sugar/other nutritional component content. Again, helpful info to know, especially if you have food intolerances, allergies, or another medical reason for avoiding certain things. But, like the calorie thing, it's not the whole picture.

  • Emotions. Emotional eating is absolutely a thing, and we've all done it, whether we've realized it or not. People eat because they are bored, tired, stressed, happy, sad, and for a whole host of other emotional reasons.

  • Ideology. Whether it's institutionalized or personal, our beliefs affect our food choices.

Except for the emotional eating, all of these reasons could be legitimate ones for making your food choices.

HOWEVER. They all have some holes. Because they don't look at food holistically.

Take calorie-counting, for example. Rather than just looking at the number, find out what the calories are from. Sugar? Fat? Protein? Just because something is low-calorie does not make it good for you. In fact, sometimes the low-calorie alternative is LESS HEALTHY than the original thing.

What we need to be thinking about as we develop and maintain our food lifestyles is:

How do particular foods work in the body?

In other words:

  • How will your body react to, process, and use what you eat? How does sugar work in your body? What about protein or fats? What will happen if you up your fiber intake? What's the difference in how your body will process oatmeal versus Wonder Bread?

  • How does YOUR PARTICULAR BODY respond to certain foods? Do you have allergies or intolerances? To which foods does your body respond well? Which foods does it seem to handle poorly? Be mindful of how you feel during and after eating certain foods.

  • What wellness issues are you trying to address? Your food lifestyle is your foundation and first line of defense. How do you feel now, and how would you like to feel?

Once you start thinking this way, you - quite naturally - start eating a lot more healthily - without worrying about calories or reading every inch of the nutrition facts label.

Once these things become your guiding principles, you can then make your choices with knowledge and empowerment. You won't be depriving yourself of anything - in fact,

you'll be giving yourself the freedom to eat foods that you know will fuel and nourish your body every day, and that will make you feel well. You'll also be freeing yourself from the adverse effects of others by choosing to avoid them. And when you're eating this way on the regular, you can then make the choice to indulge in the pumpkin pie, or chocolate fudge, or layer cake. Because in knowing how your body will process that treat, you've made an informed choice that you can own. That you can feel confident about and make peace with. When your guiding principle is the health and efficiency of your body, your baseline food lifestyle will be healthy enough that you can afford to indulge a little during the holidays.

If you want to start re-framing your food mindset, I'm your gal! As a holistic wellness coach with additional training in nutrition, I can help you develop a food lifestyle that's guilt-free, simple, and budget-friendly, all the while based in nutritional science. If you're ready to start your journey, book a free Discovery Call here!

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