Do you ever talk to your food? If so, what do you say?
When it comes to creating a healthy relationship with food, you get to set the tone. Now, I’m not saying that you need to whisper sweet nothings into your smoothie, and you don’t need to praise every leaf of baby kale you put into your mouth. But I do suggest taking a moment before you dig in to appreciate your healthy food. Just think about all that nutrition in there, waiting for you to partake!
I say this because I’ve seen too many people eat healthy food with all kinds of hostility. They’re pissed because they feel like they “have” to eat a salad when they really wanted a slice of pizza. And I get it — really, I do! But there’s a better way to handle this than to angrily shove forkfuls of produce into your maw.
First, check in with yourself and see where you fall on the hunger/fullness scale. If you determine that you are actually hungry (rather than, say just bored or thirsty), ask your body what it needs.
Now, this is where it can get tricky, because every time I ask my body what it needs, the initial response is usually something like, “Tacos! Pizza! Ice cream!” But, when I give it a moment (and think about what I know my body needs in terms of nutrition in order to do the things I’m asking of it), usually something else comes to mind, like a fruity green smoothie or a savory sweet potato, black bean and avocado bowl.
If the message I’m getting is still revolving around less healthy fare, I try to figure out why I’m having that craving and then determine whether it’s something I still want or if something else will satisfy it. If I still want it, I eat it — happily and entirely free of guilt or anger or desperation. I might look at ways to up the nutrition (like, if I want pasta, maybe I’ll throw a bunch of broccoli in there, too), but I don’t worry about the fact that it’s not the healthiest meal I’ve ever had. However, if I realize a healthier food (or a sparky water, or a nap!) will scratch that itch, I go with it — gratefully and gladly.
The thing is, whatever you’re chowing down on, you get to choose the way you eat it. So why wouldn’t you choose to enjoy the heck out of every bite you take?
Do you eat any foods you actively dislike because you know they’re good for you? Are there any other foods you could try instead that you might enjoy more? I know there are loads of benefits to eating lean chicken, but it’s not for me, so I focus on getting protein from things like eggs, beans and Greek yogurt, and I couldn’t be happier about it. —Kristen