10 Ways I Approach Eating: All About Balance
Hello and happy Friday!
It's time for our Friday listicle! How are the weeks going by so quickly? I feel like so much has happened this week: my husband shocked me with the BEST birthday surprise EVER, and the blog has been steadily growing! With all the change and busyness in life lately, I have to say that it's nice to have this blog routine to return to every week.
For today's listicle blog, I wanted to touch on the topic of food!
I used to be quite undisciplined with my food and eating. After years of unbalanced eating, I wound up with unwanted excess weight, dull skin, and constant anxiety whenever it came to eating. It felt like I had no framework to follow, but whenever I tried to diet, I would feel overly restricted, discouraged, and frustrated.
Thankfully, all of that changed exactly ONE year ago. I began a new journey with food and dieting that forever changed my life. Instead of going Keto, Paleo, vegetarian, sugar-free, or whatever, I simply began focusing on changing my attitude, habits, and perspective on food and eating. I was able to approach food in a healthy and balanced way that never left me feeling overly emotional, discouraged, or frustrated.
1. Calorie Awareness
Calorie counting has garnered a pretty bad reputation over the past few years. The practice has been regarded with suspicion and viewed as an oppressive and dangerous diet associated with anorexia and overly restrictive habits.
But the truth is that for ME, calorie counting WORKS. It is seriously the best thing that ever happened to me, and a huge part of my journey towards disciplined eating. I know some people can take it too far and use calorie counting to support an eating disorder, but for me, calorie counting helped me become balanced with my diet.
2. I Began Being Aware of Hunger
There's two parts to this point. Firstly, I began only eating when I was actually hungry. I used to eat a big breakfast lunch and dinner, irregardless of whether or not I was hungry, but now I only eat the meals if I'm hungry.
Secondly, I make sure I'm aware of my hunger and don't deprive myself of food. If I ever feel deprived or overly restrictive, my healthy eating goes down the tubes. Feeling full, balanced, and comfortable is the easiest way for me to stay healthy. Being overly restrictive with food never works, and I would not recommend it.
3. I Removed the Emotion from Eating
Like I said before, an overly restrictive diet would always make be feel angry and deprived. That negative energy always lead to me giving up on healthy eating because it was so frustrating and awful! So a year ago, I decided to remove the emotion from food, and approach it with a positive attitude.
I decided ditch emotional eating, AND to stop getting upset with healthy eating. It can be so easy to tie our emotions to food and feel overly intense or anxious about eating. I still enjoy food and like to celebrate and enjoy it, but I make sure I don't cross a line and use food to assuage sadness, frustration, or melancholy.
4. I Listen to My Hormones
It's important that we listen to our bodies. As my hormones fluctuate during the month, I sometimes feel hungrier some days than others. On those days, I WILL eat more. I always like to give my body what I need. So yes, on those days during the month, I will indulge in some dark chocolate, eat some extra food, and not be hard on myself. Remember, it's important to not exasperate ourselves by being overly restrictive.
5. Eating the Foods I Love
I transformed my eating habits, but I never stopped eating the foods I loved. I didn't give up baking, bread, or dairy: I simply decided to eat them in moderation.
Again, if I feel overly restrictive with my diet, I'm going to give it up and stop altogether. I don't like doing things that make me angry, and giving up my baking would definitely make me angry (LOL.) So the solution? Eating my favorite foods, ALL in moderation.
5. I Don't Purchase Junk Food
If it's in my home, I will eat it. Because of this reality, I don't buy junk food in the first place. Honestly, it would be so fun to buy Gushers, potato chips, and Sprite, but because I'm an adult now, I try to make sure I treat my body like a Temple. And honestly, it's easier to be disciplined in the grocery store than when I'm rooting around for a snack at nighttime.
6. I Don't Take This Too Seriously
This is really important: we should remain balanced and not become obsessed with our diets. Too many people try to get legalistic with EVERYTHING in life. The actions in our lives need to be shrouded in a layer of DISCRETION. Sure, it would be easier to have a set list of rules to follow like a law, but I prefer a method of give-and-take, where we can have rules, but also know when it's time to bend the rules.
7. I Began Having Fun With Cooking
Food should be positive, healthy, and nutritious. The best way to accomplish this is by learning how to cook and learning how to enjoy cooking. I have been able to increase the nutrition and health value of our food just by cooking most things from scratch.
I like to approach cooking in a positive way and view it as a journey and adventure. I also really like that I can manage how much sodium we intake, and how many calories I'm ingesting, simply because I'm the one cooking it.
8. Hydration is a Priority
Drink your water! This is a game changer, and something that my mom taught me. She always suggested that we have a drink of water before we ate a snack or dinner, because there was potential that we weren't actually hungry: we were just thirsty. Bonus? Hydrated body usually means hydrated skin!
9. I Stopped Rewarding Myself with Food
I'm all for birthday cake, celebratory toasts, and delicious hors d'oeuvres. But food as a reward is something quite different. Using food as a reward often looks like turning to an unhealthy treat every time we feel down, or every time we accomplish something.
Instead of rewarding myself with food, I began looking for healthier ways to reward myself. However, if I really can't get a "food" reward out of my head, then I will have one but make sure that it's a smaller portion size.
10. I've Embraced an "Ancestral Diet"
The final way I approach eating is by adopting an ancestral diet. I eat a LOT of meat, eggs, dairy, and rye bread. I shy away from fruits that aren't in season and overly processed foods, including overly-processed "health" food like almond milk, cashew butter, and protein bars.
Of course, I keep it all within my calorie limits, but I have really noticed my energy increase and my health improve as I've stuck to a diet rich in protein and dairy. The only sicknesses I've had in the past year have been mensuration-related. My immune system is top-notch, and I truly think it's from all the vitamin-rich meat and dairy I consume on a daily basis. My skin feels plump and my belly feels full! What's not to love?
I want to encourage you to avoid being weird or legalistic about any of this advice. I truly believe that most advice, other than Scripture, should be taken with a grain of salt.
Rules are nice, but they don't always work for every situation. I hope you can remain balanced in the area of eating and remember to enjoy food, but not become obsessed with overindulging or restricting.
Thank you for reading! I hope you have a lovely weekend friends.