Now, let’s look at our personal eating culture. We want to identify the parts of eating we really enjoy and value, the parts that feel like too much work, and our pitfalls when it comes to enjoying eating well. Remember how we’re not setting goals for an imaginary you? Let’s make a plan that makes sense for you without pretending you don’t love donuts or pasta or whatever it is you love.
If you love chocolate chip cookies, for example, we want you to enjoy them in a way that makes life feel full. You want to enjoy the real thing that brings the pleasure. When you do this, you can decide to live without the stuff that ranks lower on the enjoyment scale. If you love a meal surrounded by the people you love, we want you to eat good food surrounded with your friends and family. We would definitely want you to avoid eating solo over the sink. We want to maximize our joy when we eat. We want to savor. And we want to completely nix the guilt. Get rid of the idea of off limit foods. You’re a grown up! You can eat whatever you want! This doesn’t discount the value of good nutrition. However, most of us have processed the information we’ve learned about nutrition as good vs bad food, perpetuating an unhealthy relationship with eating. Instead let’s see cause and effect. What does this food do for me? We can choose food for their nutritional value or their enjoyment value. When there is nutrition and enjoyment our whole selves are nourished. Nourishment is what we’re going for.
Rule #1 is all delicious food must be enjoyed wholly.
Rule #2 is eat healthy foods that you love.
Enjoying what you eat is vital if you don’t want to find yourself rifling through the pantry at 11pm. When you enjoy what you put in your mouth and the experience of it, all the other stuff that we don’t care for, we can choose to do without. And the stuff we truly don’t like, we can find a solution to. Hate veggies? Find a green drink you can guzzle or get a new cookbook. Struggle with portion control? Give yourself permission to eat 1/2 a portion of whatever you want until you’re able to balance nutrition and portion control (I think letting go of the idea of good and bad foods is essential to managing portions). Don’t have time to food prep? Buy chopped veggies from the grocery store or a salad bar. Some restaurants will even sell larger family-sized sides and veggies (this is something I utilize often).
Some questions to sleep on before you hit your journal:
What do you believe about food? Do you have some false ideas that hold you back? Have you had some unhealthy patterning in your life?
What foods and rituals do you really enjoy? This could be early morning tea or late night dinners with friends. What makes life feel full to you?
What rituals, habits, or philosophies do you value? Have you read anything that has resonated with you?
What foods or habits make you feel great?
What foods or habits make you feel terrible?
Which healthy foods are hard for you to make yourself eat?
What have you learned about yourself from dieting/goal setting in the past? We are our best teachers. What can you learn from your own experience?
What kind of nourishment and eating habits do you envision as part of attaining and maintaining your best body? Picture your whole life.