Whether you’re interested in weight-loss, overall health, or just improving your diet, your relationship with food is the first place to start. Working with a personal trainer or nutritionist can definitely be beneficial in creating this overall transformation, however many of us have emotional attachments or limiting beliefs about food and a hindering perspective.
As a disclaimer, I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer- just a fitness foodie who has learned some wisdom along the way.
I have an appreciation for food, but always try to eat healthily and remain detached from indulging too much in food. On my own fitness journey, I have experimented a lot. I went completely wheat and dairy free for six months and then slowly weaned these food groups back into my diet in smaller amounts. I have tried various supplements and herbs, and then became a minimalist with them, just taking two or three a day.
But in the words of Adrianna Lima, “The gym is like my meditation.” All jokes aside, if you’re just experimenting on your fitness journey and seeing what works best for you, I’ve been there, too.
Here are four balancing principles I have learned on my fitness journey:
1. Understand the difference between healing and indulgence:
While your relationship with food can be unbalanced due to over-indulging, it’s no secret that food can provide comfort and even be healing. From a health and fitness standpoint, food is fuel for your body- but you can still enjoy food.
There are so many ways food can be healing. Cooking for your spouse after they’ve had a hard day is a way to show you care about your marriage. Going out to dinner with friends to celebrate your accomplishments. When you’ve experiencing pain in your life, food can be a source of comfort, but can definitely turn into over-indulgence, too.
For instance, shopping can be healing. After a milestone in your life, it’s perfectly fine to celebrate yourself through buying a new outfit. Spending your entire paycheck, maxing out your credit card, or just living outside of your means is totally over-indulging. Obviously. Sometimes of one of biggest gaps in your success is not celebrating achievements and milestones. When you show yourself appreciation, you attract more success.
Living a life with simple pleasures and luxuries is being in tune with your own abundance. Being in tune with your own abundance enables you to relax and live in a high-vibrational state.
Of course, this applies to your nutritional plan, as well. Keep mixing it up, or you’ll be bored. Giving ourselves too many restrictions in our diet causes the mind to succumb to cravings. Enjoy your meals, but use good judgement in your choices. At the end of the day, your meal lasts 15-60 minutes of your time. Is over-indulgence really worth it?
2. Understand the value of portion control:
Portion control allows you to eat foods you love, without over-indulging and keeping a sense of balance in your diet.
You can indulge in dessert every week, if you use portion control and understand the ingredients in what you choose to eat. You also need to understand your own bio-individuality, including the best diet for your blood type and genetic makeup. When you understand the ingredients in the foods you choose to eat, you can also substitute them for healthier options. In my own experiences, while I am not a vegan, I now only bake vegan and organic desserts and they taste just as good as if they were (totally not vegan.) Also, if you’re craving sweets, making a fruit smoothie can be a great substitute, and in the process of making a smoothie you become distracted from the craving for a dessert that would be less healthy.
Practicing portion control is also a matter of perspective on over-indulgence versus living a life of simple luxuries and contentment. It is a mindset of, “This is more than enough, and I am grateful.” And if it is more than enough and you are grateful, you don’t need more. It is difficult for many people in the Western world to practice a minimalist diet, and that is why gratitude is truly key in sticking with portion control and developing a healthy perspective on your nutritional plan. A minimalist diet, in the sense that you are eating enough meals in the right amounts, is key in maintaining your energy level and getting the right amount of nutrients.
3. Understand your limiting beliefs and emotional attachments to food:
Upon my own observations, it can be hard for people to stick with a weight-loss or nutritional plan because they have a hindering perspective. This issue revolves around a sensitive topic- limiting beliefs and emotional attachments to food.
A limiting belief about food can be as simple as: “I need to eat X food every day because I feel upset about X going on in my life.” Or, alternatively, “I can’t eat X food because I need to look like models in magazines.” This often spurs from what is going on in your life and how you’re feeling in other areas of your life not relating to food.
Emotional attachments to food involve how it makes us feel and the level of comfort it provides. Being too dependent on food for comfort often results in weight-gain or nutritional imbalances. And it makes you feel badly about yourself– a dangerous cycle.
Intention is also powerful in the process. Why do you want/need to change? What will you be able to achieve or obtain if you change your nutritional plan? And if your motivation healthy?
4. Self-love is more important than what you’re eating:
When you love yourself, you feel better about occasionally indulging in simple pleasures. You’re at a party and decide to try a few nachos. And it’s okay. You’re baking with your SO or with friends and decide to try a new recipe. And it’s okay. You’re enjoying your life. You’re learning balance.
It is important to ultimately be gentle with yourself and show yourself on your health and fitness journey. Sometimes you’ll realize, “Hey, I actually don’t need to lose weight, but I want to be healthy and love myself in order to live my best life.” Since this topic is sensitive for a lot of us, and every person’s genetic makeup is different, if often doesn’t feel fair when you see someone who can eat whatever they want and still have a six-pack. Loving who you are, your curves, the dents, and edges is the first step.
That’s why when you’re starting to become serious about your health and fitness journey, it’s important to start with self-love. Weight-loss becomes stressful when you’re always checking the scale and being hard on yourself for the speed of your progress. With self-love, you’re more open to realizations about yourself and your health. You realize where you’re in a state of scarcity, and through first accepting yourself, you’re able to change.
Your health and fitness journey starts with you and your desire to become better. Keep going.