Our focus in January is always drawn to new year resolutions or health focus – all of which can be good but we can so easily put too much pressure on ourselves to achieve goals which are often unrealistic, seen as a short term fix or are too much of a change too soon.
I was reminded by my wonderful yoga teacher at Oceanflow this morning that during the festive season our bodies are often stressed with the amount of arrangements to organize, whether it’s hosting Christmas Day, or remembering gifts for school teachers, costumes for plays or just a myriad of all including lots of social occasions where we over indulge (those festive lattes and mulled wine & mince pies are so tempting…), and survive on less sleep etc. We may have been less active during this time too and then expect our bodies to suddenly jump into a new running or gym routine (so we can try out the fab new sports watch we got for Christmas!) or we begin to chastise ourselves with the “I’m going on a diet” mantra, and tell as many people as possible to receive supportive comments and understanding nods.
Whether it’s exercise or diet, or indeed both – January sees gym memberships and slimming clubs attendance rise. Statistics show that most gym memberships then lapse by Easter, and we may feel happy with initial weight loss but are constantly reminded that we are deprived of treats, or indeed they are seen as sins, and are encouraged to save these for a blow out at the weekend! Then yo-yo dieting ensues.
Neither of these approaches leads to what we really want to achieve, which is ultimately a healthy & happy mind & body, with long term good health and enjoyment of life, whilst loving our body as much as it deserves.
You may have seen me say before that I don’t like the DIET word, as on the whole it is seen as a short term thing, to fix a problem. Unfortunately many diets focus on just calories, and not good nutrition (100 calories of apple vs 100 calories of a Mars bar are a good example), and also don’t encourage and empower us to learn to change our way of eating forever, without the incessant calorie counting and stepping on weighing scales, and with more of a focus on loving our bodies and understanding how they work with what we feed them with, and how that can affect how you feel, how you look and also ensure we are having a wide variety of nutrients to nourish ourselves.
Do we feel good when we heat up a plastic coated microwave meal which is the right amount of calories or points? Does it look amazing visually (which is the first part of our body engaging in the digestive process)? Does it taste delicious and fresh, and is it packed full of nutrients to flood our body with goodness? I think you’ll agree with me that the answer to these questions have been or would be no.
Here’s the thing…it doesn’t need to be like that. All of us are different – different sizes, different likes & dislikes but the one thing we should all share is the respect for our own body.
Healthy weight management can be far better achieved with a focus on making gradual small changes towards your relationship with food overall. Understand better what your body needs, and how you can nurture it with delicious and fresh natural ingredients to produce meals which are a feast for the eyes, stomach and every cell in your body. Help your body to reach your goals naturally, whilst still enjoying wonderful food and healthy natural treats.
These small changes will grow into more changes, which will grow into major changes……and slowly you will transition to an overall healthier lifestyle where your choices are guided by your enthusiasm to love and nourish your body, as you not only love your new way of eating as you feel energized and happy, but the word diet no longer features in your vocabulary.
So today, I’d like you to think about how do you feel, how does your body feel, and consider how you could start making small and gradual changes to a long term healthier you.
I will be writing lots more about our journeys with food, so keep reading and if you’re on social media, check out my Facebook page too www.facebook.com/nourishkitchen
For now though, remember “You are what you eat – eat food that loves you back”