Are you "all or nothing" when it comes to your health?
I’ve been speaking with many clients lately who say they do really well with black and white guidelines. When they have clear restrictions on what they “can” and “can’t” eat. They may avoid dairy, gluten and sugar for periods of time during healing diets and although it’s challenging at first, they feel good with these strict boundaries because there is no ambiguity. When they begin to add in foods and things like travel, work events, holiday parties, and dinners at friend’s houses come up, however, they have a really hard time navigating this grey area.
It’s this gray area that I’ve been thinking so much about. This grey area is so important because really, it’s life.
It’s easy to hand someone a list and say avoid these “bad for you” foods and eat these “good for you” foods. We know we should eat vegetables and avoid excessive doughnut consumption. But what prevents us from doing so on a regular basis? Where the real transformation happens and the real work gets done is in navigating the gray area with intention.
Watch the video below or read on to learn 3 ways to navigate this grey area and avoid the trap of feeling “all or nothing” when it comes to your health.
1. Get clear on your “why”
It is so crucially important to get clear about why you want to eat healthy or feel a certain way and what your real motivations are. For me, the reason why I don’t just go for it and eat chocolate croissants and macaroons every day (just some days) is because I have a genetic predisposition to autoimmune disease. I know how eating those foods makes me feel and affects me at a cellular level, and I do not want to feel that way.
Excess sugar, grains and dairy affect my gut, which affects my immune system and symptoms of autoimmunity, makes my skin break out, alters my mood, sleep and overall sense of well being. I choose to eat whole, nutrient dense foods 90% of the time because they keep me feeling great and not getting sick. That’s a very powerful “why” for me and makes it pretty simple to stick to my guns when choosing how to eat (note: his has been a lifelong journey to be sure). My why is different to yours though and it’s important to get clear on what’s true for you.
What is your why? Do you want to feel good in your body? Reduce symptoms of disease? Improve frustrating bloating? Maintain energy to run around? Look good naked? Take a minute to think about it and write it down. If you first come up with “feel healthy” go deeper and keep asking “why” to get to the powerful core (there is always one).
2. Begin the process of tuning into your body
Many of us do well with protocols where someone tells us what to do and we follow that plan. But this means that when we stop doing the protocol or veer off track, we feel lost. Sometimes we need protocols to support us during different phases of our healing journey, but what we really need to do is become experts at listening to what our bodies are telling us and turning inwards.
“Listen to your body” might be an annoying phrase that you can’t quite wrap your head around. It’s in the same family as, “reduce your stress” or “self-care” or other phrases that sound so nice and simple, but can be hard to pin down when you’re actually trying to achieve them.
Listening to our bodies has become a vague and somewhat challenging task because we've gotten so used to looking outside of ourselves for information and guidance on how to feel better.
Instead of constantly searching and looking outside of ourselves for the answers, I want to talk about how to look within as the only way to really figure out what works best for you and your beautiful body.
Here are 3 ways to start this process of tuning in:
5 second body scans before meals to ask yourself these questions:
How am I feeling?
Where am I holding tension?
What are my symptoms?
What is my energy level?
Getting quiet. Silence isn’t empty. It's full of answers. Breathing and meditating allows us to clear mental clutter so we can more fully listen to the signs and signals our bodies are trying to give us. I like the apps Calm or Insight for introductory meditation, or I practice my favorite 4-7-8 breathing technique.
Complete a 5-day food/symptom journal to start the process of noticing how what you put in your body makes you feel. You can download it by clicking here >>
This is a process and it's like strengthening a muscle, so be patient with yourself! Let me know in the comments where you're at with this process of tuning in. What do you notice right now if you do a 5 second body scan? What comes up? If you complete your 5-day food journal and come up with some interesting insights, let me know!
3. Start with a good foundation
To be able to make good choices you need to know what works for you and what doesn’t. We are all so different and thrive with different foods in our bodies. In general it is advised to avoid overly processed foods and refined sugars and eat a diet with lots of nutrient-dense vegetables. From there however, we must take into account our own unique bodies and needs. This involves tuning into your body and experimenting with what works and what does not.
Once you really know how certain foods make you feel and you consistently incorporate foods that make you feel good while taking out foods that make you feel bad, you create a great foundation and your body responds accordingly. Once you have a solid foundation of health, it’s easier to veer off and come back to your baseline. You become more easily able to tune into how you feel and you know exactly how to bring yourself back. I work with people to uncover sensitivities and move towards a healthy, whole foods diet that works specifically for them in order to create this solid foundation. It can be really helpful to have a guide through this process so message me if you want some assistance!
I offer free, 30-minute discovery calls so click the link below to book in your free session today! In these sessions I help you get clear on your main health issues, figure out what’s standing in your way and create a plan of action tailored specifically to you.