I think about food ALL THE TIME! When I’m eating breakfast, I think about what my next snack will be. When I’m making dinner, I think about what’s for tomorrow’s breakfast. On Sunday, I’m thinking about Monday’s meals…. it never ends!! No truly, It NEVER ENDS – because we need to eat every day! And for many of us, we need to eat more, or more often than we do!
Could it be? As a nutritionist, in our land of excess, I’m suggesting people eat MORE?! Ti’s true. Tis true. There is this interesting notion that says “I’m a good girl* if I don’t eat until lunch…I’m a good girl if I skip lunch and work instead…I’m a good girl if I have only a salad…” (insert ‘boy’ here where appropriate, though this concept may resonate more with women).
There are times when I’ve found myself feeling guilty, or ‘fat’ or just ‘yuck’ because of my forethought around food. I’ve thought ‘maybe I’d be thinner if I wasn’t planning every meal & snack…maybe, if I could just learn to forget to eat‘ I’d be better off.’ I’ve been jealous thinking ‘she obviously doesn’t think about food as much as I do! Why can’t I be like that?’
Moments like that I realize how disconnected I’ve come from my body; my mind is running without a care for the physiological needs of my body. My body needs nourishment; it needs 3 meals/day and snacks too! My planning & thinking ahead only supports this inevitable need – and it is inevitable right? We truly can’t survive without food. You’ve likely tested that survival state just by experiencing symptoms that remind you to eat: hunger, anger (hanger:), headache, fatigue, irritability… Your body is always talking to you. The question is: ARE YOU LISTENING? Beyond these noticeable symptoms of hunger, when we don’t feed our body, our metabolism slows (yes that means weight gain), our ability to repair & regenerate is hindered; our immune system is inhibited; our thinking becomes foggy; the list goes on…
Sure, there’s a balance here between planning & obsession; between BEing prepared & BEing in the moment. Ideally, we’d listen to our bodies’ cues…understand when we’re hungry, feel what we’re hungry for, and indulge in that. But the reality is, we’ve got busy lives & we don’t have all the options (food anyways) at our fingertips. (Or at least we don’t always have the most healthful options at our fingertips). So forethought & planning ahead becomes crucial…otherwise we turn to those less than healthful treats because they’re quick, easy, and comforting to our bodies that may have otherwise been neglected.
Does planning meals & snacks scare you? Intimidate you? Is it because you don’t know how to do it? (It can be learned; it just takes practice!) Or is it because you hold a belief that food is bad; thinking about food is bad, when you eat certain foods you’re bad…
I was recently listening to an interview with Kind Abdullah of Jordan. He made the point that “when your stomach is full, you can make better choices.” Sure, in our situation we may not be dealing with the same threat of hunger as it relates to poverty, but in truth, when you starve your body of what it needs aren’t you inflicting a sense of poverty on yourself? When you have the OPTION to nourish yourself in a way that supports your body, why wouldn’t you do it? Let’s start BEing ‘good’ to our bodies.
Consider planning ahead.
- Meal plan on Saturday. Grocery shop on Sunday for the upcoming week.
- When you’re cooking dinner, pack leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
- Always have a healthy snack in your bag or car.
- When you make a smoothie make extra & save in a jar in the fridge.
And remember the continual practice of:
- Eating when you’re hungry. Starving your body, starves your mind too.
- Starting to notice when you acknowledge yourself as ‘good’ & when you acknowledge yourself as ‘bad’. What are you doing then? What beliefs do you hold in relation to your actions/thoughts?
These are just a few ideas.. but there’s lots more. Share you Food Forethought ideas @ facebook.com/justbewellness
(thanks to Michelle for the hangry reference & Marissa for the ‘forethought’ considerations)