How to find balance with food and eating. Overcoming fear foods.

When i talk about food, i talk alot about intuitive eating, balance, moderation, eating according to YOUR bodies needs.

But how do you do that when your hunger and fullness feelings aren’t working as they should, or maybe you don’t trust your body yet? Or maybe you just have too many fear foods to actually eat them, or when you do eat them you can’t stop yourself and eat the whole package?

If you have lived with an eating disorder, or disordered eating for a long time… intuitive eating including balance and moderation can seem very far away. And learning to trust your body and find balance with food doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process and a journey.

I do personally recommend everyone to try to eat intuitively, to listen to their body…because the body is smart. HOWEVER, the mind is almost smarter and there can be ALOT of mixed signals when it comes to eating.

All the misinformation about nutrition. All the “rules” regarding what you can eat and how much. If you were to listen to all the rules, you wouldn’t be able to eat anything.

It feels like children are the only ones who truly eat intuitvely and listen to their bodies. However unfortuntly more and more children are beginning to develop disordered eating or eating disorders for different reasons. Which is incredibly sad, and also shows that something is wrong with our society/how we talk about food/teach children how and what to eat, and that diet messages are being converted to children early on.

How do you begin to listen to your body and trust your bodies signals? How do you begin to eat intuitively?

First step is to try to get rid of all the rules and regulations you have around food. Sit down and analyse how and why you eat. What choices do you make when it comes to eating?

Do you choose a food based on nutrients? Based on calories? Based on what you deem as “healthy or unhealthy”? Or because you enjoy the food?

Do you portion the food out according to what you crave/want, or how much you think you should eat?

Do you eat when you are hungry or when the clock tells you when to eat? Do you allow yourself to eat when you feel hungry or do you limit yourself because you think you shouldn’t eat at certain times?

Do you eat until you are satisfied? Or do you leave food, thinking that is what you should do?

Do you plan and control your food intake?

Do you enjoy the food you eat? Do you get cravings for more after eating? Do you feel satisfied after eating?

Do you compensate after eating? If you have eaten a big meal do you eat less later on to compensate?

Do you eat foods you enjoy? Do you avoid foods out of fear? Do you have certain rules of when and what you can eat? Do you allow others to make food for you? Do you choose the option you want to eat when eating out?

Once you have answered those questions, you become more attuned to the way you eat/make food choices and whether they are healthy or not. I.e if you never eat until you are satisfied, only eat food that is low calorie and only eat at certain times due to rules… then maybe you need to rethink your relationship with food.

Related image

Change rules and habits

The second step is to actually change those rules and habits if you have them. And you can start off by questioning the rules you have.

I.e why do i only eat at certain times and not allow myself to eat when hungry?

Why do i avoid certain foods even if i like them?

Why do i choose the food that is the lowest calorie even if i want another option?

Why won’t i eat food that is prepared by someone else?

etc etc

By questioning the thoughts and habits you begin to think differently and more rational. Because you have the answer inside of you… often it is out of fear or just out of habit that you eat the way you do/think the way you do about food.

 

Face fear foods

Third is to face those fears and make changes when necessary. Really try to listen to your bodies signals, and go against the conflicting or controlling thoughts you have about food.

If you go out to eat and you want to order the pasta but your mind says order the salad which is lowest kcal, then you need to go against that fear and order the option you really want. Not the option based on calories.

Do you feel extra hungry between breakfast and lunch, but don’t usually eat a snack then, and your mind says you should wait until lunch? Then go grab a snack and face that fear – listen to your body.

Do you want some cookies but you know you will feel guilty, or you won’t be able to stop yourself at one cookie? Then realise this is the perfect time to practise balance and not compensating.  My best tip is to buy single pack items. Don’t buy big packs of cookies, chocolates or crisps, not if you struggle with binge eating anyway. By eating one or two portions, it helps you practise balance and will stop you from binging on the whole pack. And by eating fear foods in a controlled way, it can help you to realise that you can eat the food in a regular amount without anything bad happening or having to compensate. It can be the first step to reintroducing and eating your fear foods in a controlled way…. which hopefully in the future can lead to you being ok with having a whole pack of cookies at home, or going to a buffet or party and eating all types of food in a healthy manner.

Related image

Stop compensating what you eat

Another important step with finding food balance, is to not compensate for the food you eat. If you compensate, whether it is by eating less the next meal/next day, or by exercising or purging or using laxatives, this just makes it harder to truly trust your body, and it will also mess with your hormones and hunger/fullness feelings. Not to mention that you can’t find food balance while you still compensate for what you eat… this just turns into a negative cycle.

Eating the right portions sizes

If you are someone who eats very little, or if you struggle with binge eating… your hunger and fullness signals won’t be working as they should. A normal portion could seem huge or could seem tiny, depending on your food struggles. I don’t typically recommend weighing or measuring your food, especially not if you are trying to break free from an obsessive and controlling relationship with food. However, it could be beneficial to try to base your meals according to the “plate model” where you have carbs, protein and fat for each meal. This can be a first step to eating a decent portion of food and eating from all food groups for lunch and dinner, and can eventually lead to you feeling more free with what and how much you eat. Example, beginning to trust your bodies signals and eating more the days you feel you are extra hungry, or other days you may not want a cooked meal at all and that is also part of eating intuitively.

Image result for vegan food plate

Mindful eating

Another step in finding balance with food is being mindful of your eating, but NOT overthinking/overanalysing your food or eating. If you suffer from restrictive eating you may already be super mindful of how and what you eat and overanalyse/overthink how and what you eat. But balance with food is having a mindful approach to eating… are you eating out of hunger/boredom/stress? Are you eating your meals in 5 minutes or 45 minutes? It can be hard to explain this point without making it seem like you have to overthink each time you eat… because that is not the case. But if you are someone who eats very mindlessly, always snacking or sufers with binge eating… trying to tune in more with your body and whether it is real hunger or boredom/stress can be helpful.

And if you are someone who suffers with restrictive eating, it can be beneficial to become more mindful of your hunger… to actually eat when you feel hungry and not just drink coffee/chew gum or skip eating.

By being mindful of eating also means savouring your food. Enjoying your food. Taking the time to eat and not rushing your food.

Image result for mindful eating

Take the time to cook your meals

Taking the time to cook food and actually have food at home is a way to find peace with food. If you take the time to cook a wholesome meal it is also a form of self respect and taking care of your body and mind. Take the time to enjoy each meal your eat and savour the food. If you eat in a rush or eat without really noticing you are eating, it makes it harder to feel full or to really enjoy the food.

Typically eating without distractions is recommended, however we live in a society where most people like to eat and watch tv/series/YouTube. So atleast taking the time to cook – whether it is by meal prepping or cooking each meal, you know you eat homecooked, nutritious food. (Even if not every meal has to be homecooked, it is fine to eat out or premade food every now and then).

Also, having “healthy food” at home is a way of nourishing your body. I know far too many people who pretty much never have food at home and instead order out each day or just don’t eat because they don’t have the interest, time or motivation to cook or buy food. But actually taking the time to do a grocery shop each week, meal prep if you don’t want to cook each day and if necessary, planning your dinners/lunches for the week, can be a way of taking care of your body and mind. It also limits the risk that you skip meals or order take out/heat premade food just because you don’t have any food at home.

 

Food is part of your life, not your whole life

Another step to finding balance with food, is allowing food to be part of your life, not your whole life. If you spend every minute of your day thinking about food, planning what you will eat, thinking about what you can and can’t eat, it will take up alot of time and energy. Not to mention that food begins to take a huge part of your day and alot of your focus. That focus, time and energy could be spent on other things.

Of course, if you are someone who works with food… whether it is cooking, baking, creating recipes, recipe blog, working with nutrition or any other job involving food, of course it will be part of your day and thoughts. But don’t let it take up more time and energy than necessary. Your day and thoughts shouldn’t be consumed by food thoughts… and especially not thoughts of what you can eat, when you can eat, what you can’t eat etc

Try to focus on other hobbies or interests you have, or surround yourself with friends and family if you find yourself consumed by too many food thoughts or obsessions. By allowing food to just eb part of your life, part of your day it is easier to find balance with food when it isn’t the sole purpose of your day.

People may make jokes that, “they live to eat”, or “food is my only happiness” or other quotes… but as long as they are just jokes it is fine. Because if the only happiness in your life is food or you only live to eat, then you need to question your eating habits and your relationship with food.

Image result for always thinking about food

Îf this if you in real life then you need to overthink your relationship with food and make changes to focus less on food.

Intuitive eating isn’t perfect

It is important to note that just because you eat intuitively doesn’t mean you always listen to your bodies signals. Food is more than just energy and eating nutrition. Food also plays a role in social contexts, it can have an emotional connection and times such as stress, tiredness, anxiety or other emotional states food can be a comfort. So don’t think that just because you eat intuitively and try to listen to your body, that that is what you do 100% of the time… because nobody really does that.

Intuitive eating isn’t supposed to be controlling or restrictive either… you can’t eat a perfect diet/eat perfectly while eating intuitively… there is nothing perfect about it. You should feel satisfied with the food you are eating and the amount you are eating. You should feel nourished and energized (as much as possible anyway!).

 

Summary: How to find balance with food?

So to summarize, how do you find balance with food? Well, first off questioning your habits, thoughts and mindset.

If you are reading this post, it is most likely that you are aware that you need to change something in your eating habits or you need to find more balance with your eating.

How you find balance also depends on what you struggle with …. whether it is restrictive eating, binge eating, constant yo-yo dieting or just not being able to trust your body or bodies signals.

A good recommendation is to try to eat regular meals throughout the day and to not restrict or cut out food groups.

Be mindful of your choices and be honest with yourself… that is where change begins. You often know the truth and why you make the choices you do.

It is not easy to find balance, especially not in todays society where it seems like every other person is on a diet or trying to lose weight.

Try to focus on YOU. Tune into your body…. of course like mentioned, many factors can affect your hormones which can affect your hunger/fullness which in turn makes it hard to trust your body. So just by starting to eat regular meals, and finding a routine with eating is the first step to trying to eat more freely.

Face fear foods in a controlled way to start off with. Be honest to yourself about your food choices, and make small active choices to make changes. And facing your fears is part of finding balance.

It is possible to find peace with food and find a balance relationship with food. However.. .remember there is no perfect way of eating. And most people have days where they eat too much or days they may not eat as much or days they just eat chocolate and bread… that is ok. It is not about eating a perfect diet or just eating fruits and vegetables, but LISTENING to your body and somedays that means eating oats for lunch or cookies as a snack. Othertimes it may mean a green smoothie for breakfast and a salad for dinner. That’s balance.

Some other relevant posts:

 

Eating intuitively – how and how to eat enough. 

How much is the right amount to eat? Talking portion sizes.

Binge eating recovery: Tips, advice, my experience: Masterpost

Intuitive eating: Is it really intuitive eating if….? | Nutrition post

Dealing with extreme hunger and binges? | Nutrition advice | Masterpost

Getting caught up in numbers around food – absorption/digestion, counting calories | Nutrition post

Does your life only revolve around food? Too much focus on food

Constant hunger & hormones? | nutrition post

Normalizing eating disorder behaviour?

Something i have seen alot of online in recent years…. is a normalizing of certain behaviour, which in my opinion is not the healthiest of behaviour.

Sometimes people leave comments encouraging certain behaviour… and it leaves me wondering, what effect does that comment have on the person who wrote the caption. I am sure people don’t mean anything bad with their comments or support, but just like when you praise someone for losing weight and looking good when they have an eating disorder, it is not something positive and instead just encourages the sick behaviour.

Ex… someone really active writes “i just can’t sit still, so restless and always doing things”. And someone comments, “that’s ok.. it’s not good to sit still anyway.”

There is also the normalizing of counting calories and macros of your food, not to mention the normalizing of “cheat days”. In my opinion… none of that should be normal. I do understand that some people need to maybe count calories or track portion sizes to understand what regular portions are. But it shouldn’t be something you always do. And it definitely shouldn’t be something that gives you anxiety. Ex. if you eat more than what you had thought/planned. If it is just from time to time then it is no big deal.

Also the whole, “cheatday”, where you have a day where you specifically eat all the foods you haven’t allowed yourself during the week, or some people just have a “cheat meal”. I can understand that this works for some people, but i don’t like that it is called “cheat”… because food and eating isn’t cheating. Also if you have a healthy balanced diet, you shouldn’t have to “cheat” or feel like you are eating something “Bad/wrong”, because no food is bad or wrong…. just everything in moderation. Not to mention, cheat days or cheat meals can spiral out of control and you can end up eating even if aren’t hungry/don’t want it… just because you know you won’t be able to eat the food again until a week… or whenever the next planned cheat day is.

Also talking about guilt and compensation after food… this is something i have heard from “regular” people. Talking about having to go for an extra long run or eat less the next day to compensate for eating a certain food. Or when people talk about feeling guilty after eating certain foods, but the food is so delicious so they can’t help it.

None of that sounds particularly balanced to me… but many don’t even reflect on it. When people talk about feeling guilty or compensating after food, i usually call them out on it. Granted, it doesn’t happen so often.. but when it does, i question them. I ask them why they feel guilty or feel the need to compensate. Or i remind them that food is just food and shouldn’t be something to feel guilty over.

Sometimes it feels like it is just normal for people – especially women – to feel guilty after eating. Or to always be on a fad diet or trying to lose weight.

But that shouldn’t be normal or normalized.

I definitely think people need to be aware of how they talk about food, i have written a post on my previous blog: How people talk about food which i think is a good read. But also… to remind you to be aware of how people talk about food. To not let other peoples negative talk about food effect you… not to mention, call people out on it. Ask them why they said what they did if they ex. said something negative about food.

Ex, if someone says…. “don’t eat bread it will make you fat” (which is something i have heard)… ask that person why? Why they said what they did…. most people don’t know why they said what they did, or they will say “i read it somewhere” or “this person said it” or “because gluten is bad for you”….. ask their sources in that case.

It’s like coaching… you get a  person to reflect on what they say and make them question/more aware of their actions or what they say.

Let’s stop normalizing an unhealthy relationship with food. Don’t accept things, and instead question someone if they are showing unhealthy behaviours.

*Of course, as mentioned… some people may need to track their food for a period in their life, or ex. if someone has an illness they may need to track to make sure that they are eating enough/or eating to lose weight if that is what they need to. So i am not saying anything about that…. but just the majority of people who fall into the trap of micromanaging food when it is not necessary and the way people talk about food in a negative manner.

Another post i have written: The way we talk about food – giving food the power to control our emotions

You have to learn to love yourself, no matter how your body looks

Learning self love and body love takes time.. .it definitely doesn’t happen over night. It can sometimes feel like a continuous journey, reminding yourself to love yourself, to embrace your so called “flaws” and work on getting better/improving certain traits.

These past 2 days i have been reminded that self love doesn’t lie in appearance or how your body looks.

But also that your body will change throughout the years… you don’t always look the same. Not to mention that you have to learn to love yourself – not just your body – because what happens when you are 60,70, 80 and your body doesn’t look the same as it does when you were younger.

Many think that happiness lies in a body shape or a certain weight – but trust me… it really doesn’t. And if your happiness does lie in your body shape/a flat stomach/a certain weight then that happiness won’t be long lasting, because your body will always continue to change.

You need to find happiness within yourself, and with things that will last. If you place your happiness or your worth in the way you look or your weight, or the amount of calories you eat, it will be very hard to constantly feel happy.

Image result for body love self care

One of my tips when it comes to self love and body love, is to begin to appreciate and be thankful for what your body can do. That it allows you live life, and functions. This is a great step to learning to love yourself and not focus as much on appearance, but i also believe that deep down you have to learn to accept yourself – and the way you look/are – no matter your appearance or bodily functions. Because what happens if you get injured or can’t move, or when your appearance changes…. ? You need to be able to accept yourself no  matter what.

And i understand that it is easier said than done – but i think it is something more people should think about. To not just love themselves because of their appearance, or just because they can workout, but to be able to say that you like yourself no matter what. Or that you atleast feel comfortable and ok with who you are.

We live in a world that puts a huge focus on appearance and image, but there are so many things far more important than appearance. And health – overall health – being one of them! I.e make sure that you actually are healthy – mentally, physically, socially – and not just that you “Look” healthy, but also feel and are healthy. Not to mention that being able to live life, feel happy, reach your goals and dreams is so much more important than how many calories you ate or what the scale says.

Focus on inner happiness and health and accepting yourself no matter what. And if there are things you want to change about yourself – appearance or personality wise – just make sure you are changing them for the right reasons.

Image result for love yourself

 

Related image

We are our own worst critics: Personal thoughts

It’s funny how i can look at pictures of others and always think they look amazing. I never see flaws or anything wrong, i just see the beauty in others but can struggle to do the same with myself.

I don’t like seeing myself on photos or on camera. I have found that since posting photos of myself on my Instagram i have also become more critical of myself…. i can’t just post “whatever” photo of myself. Instead i need to sit and choose the right one. I don’t edit myself, i just fix the light and contrast, but i don’t photoshop myself. Infact i don’t think i have ever done that in any of the photos of myself – but lighting and posing does play a roll when it comes to certain images and angles.

Image result for we are our own worst critic

I don’t like this critical side of myself. When i take 20 pictures and amn’t happy with any of them – just seeing all the things wrong with every picture. Either it’s my hair, my smile, my hands, my nose…. something wrong with all the pictures. When instead i could think… this is just how i look.

I can not compare myself to edited pictures of others.

I don’t find social media negative, not in the way i have used it. I haven’t found myself negatively affected, but i do find that this critical self that comes out when i post a picture of myself is not good or helpful.

I know i am not alone in feeling this way….  Example, whenever i take group photos with friends all of us just end up looking at ourselves – finding flaws and saying that everyone else looks good but that you don’t. In the end, there is always someone unhappy with the picture.

Image result for we are our own worst critic

I think what most people dislike about seeing themselves on camera is that a camera catches a second of reality. You see yourself in a way that you usually don’t considering that when you look in the mirror it is just a reflection. But also you may see yourself form angles you aren’t used to example from the side or from other angles, and that can make you think “do i really look like this?”.

The thing is, no one sees you in just one second pictures… people see the whole you. You in reality when moving and alive, and a picture can’t capture that.

I wish i could give some good advice, but the best is to just get comfortable infront of the camera. But also when posting pictures, try to careless about the perfect picture and just try to get a realistic and real life picture. Those are usually the best anyway according to me.

Also realise that no one really cares…. we often get caught up in our own pictures and how we look, when most people won’t even see the small things we get caught up on.

Image result for we are our own worst critic

But also unfollowing accounts that may make you feel bad about yourself and your body/appearance. If you feel yourself constantly comparing or feel like you need to look like them or have perfect pictures like them then maybe the best thing is to unfollow them. If they cause you negativity instead of inspiration then maybe it is time to unfollow.

Learn to love yourself and i guess just learning to see yourself more on camera and get comfortable with it is a good way to overcome the critic. But also just accept the way you look and that yes…. in some photos you will be caught from angles that you aren’t used to seeing yourself in and that is ok. You are only human and you don’t need to look like a photoshopped picture 24/7.

And this advicse is all meant for myself as well, of course! If you have any other tips or advice, comment below!! 🙂

Love your body from the inside out | Self love

Learning to love your body isn’t about changing your appearance until you are happy with the way you look, but it is about learning to love your body how it is.  Accept that you may have features you aren’t 100% happy with, but learn to be ok with them. Accept that you may think you have “flaws” (which really aren’t flaws). Accept your body for how it looks and try to learn to love yourself as you are… not just appearance, but who you are as a person. Of course, sometimes change is necessary for full acceptance and self love. Sometimes you just that one small change that can really increase your confidence which make a huge difference in how you feel and view yourself.

One of the best tips to learn self love is to start from the inside.

Image result for love yourself from the inside out

So many people focus on appearance, thinking… “if only i had skinnier legs”, or “if only i was longer”, or “if only i had a flat stomach”… realising that those things might not make you happy or like your body. Because there will always be something new you can focus and hate on and want to change.

Love yourself from the inside out…. what does this even mean?
Well to me, it means taking care of yourself – body and mind.

Eating good, nourishing food and fueling yourself. If you are only eating sugary foods and processed foods, it is not the best nourishment for your organs, muscles and brain. And too much of anything can leave you feeling a little sick.

But also, if you don’t eat… then you can’t think clearly. You will feel tired, low on energy and it is easier to begin to think negative thoughts and feel even worse about yourself, your appearance or your life. So you need to eat enough energy everyday so that you can think!  (Food is fuel and if you don’t eat enough you can’t think straight or do all the things you want to do because you don’t have the right energy).

A step to loving yourself is eating nourishing food everyday!

But also drinking enough water. Don’t just live on coffee and diet soda. (From personal experience…. it can happen where i barely drink 500ml water because i drink coffee or energy drinks, and i end up not feeling so great about myself or my body after a while.)

Sleep and exercise are also key to loving your body. If you don’t sleep enough, it will impact how you feel and how you think. You will feel slow, heavy and not have as much energy which can make you feel negative and low.

Snapchat-3623178548792435300Snapchat-356764937807941426P1091521

And exercising (Doing an exercise form you enjoy for a moderate amount of time!) leaves you with feel good endorphins which can make you feel very good about yourself. But also moving your body is important for health and overall wellbeing and is very important for mental and physical health. Of course a workout doesn’t have to be 60 minutes crossfit or a 2 hour run, you can go out for a 30 minute walk to clear your mind and get both positive physical and mental benefits from that 30 minute walk!! If you aren’t overexercising then you should most of the time have a “feel good/feel accomplished/feel happy” feeling after a workout. (And i say most often, because somedays you may not feel that way after a workout even if you love exercising).PicsArt_143313650358220131013-IMG_9425

Take your vitamins and supplements!! Not everyone needs supplements and it is up to your doctor or dietitian to recommend you the ones you need, but if you do need supplements don’t forget to take them! I personally forget to take my medications and supplements far too often, but once i get into the habit of taking them regularly i do infact notice a difference both in energy levels and even my skin (i.e i can get dry skin if i don’t take certain supplements).

And most important… mindset! You can’t love yourself if you are constantly thinking negative thoughts about yourself, your appearance or your life. Doesn’t matter how much you sleep, exercise, drink water and eat vegetables and fruits. If you are thinking negative thoughts about yourself, it will be hard to feel good about yourself or in your body. So begin to change the negative thoughts to positive ones. Work on changing the “i hate this and that” to, “i accept this and that.” Remind yourself that you don’t need to change and that changing your body won’t necessarily make you love yourself or happy in your appearance. (However, sometimes change does help…. so my advice is to ask yourself is it a necessary change and most of all… is it a healthy change? I.e if your goal is to have an underweight BMI or a very low body fat percent, then it isn’t a healthy change. But if the change you want is maybe to have more muscles or have a little smaller/bigger X bodypart. As long as it isn’t an unhealthy or unrealistic goal… This is so so individual and most often i tell people just to accept and love their body, but at the same time i know that some change can help with body love and acceptance.)

20180422_123807.jpg

Loving yourself is about feeling good in your own body. I know that the days i don’t feel good about my appearance, it often stems from too little sleep and over stressed. Or if i have eaten alot of junkfood several days in a row or even the times when i end up undereating for a few days…. then this uncomfortable feeling can begin to creep in. And it’s that feeling of not liking yourself or the way you look that is the worst. Because i know i don’t hate my appearance, but it is the uncomfortable feeling that creeps in when i don’t take care of myself from the inside out.

If you feel good on the inside you will also be more likely to like your appearance. Not to mention, you will most likely have a glow and extra energy when you really take care of yourself!!!

So learn to take care of yourself and your body! Treat it like you would treat a friend!! Your body and mind should be your friend and not your enemy!!

By loving yourself from the inside out, you are creating a good feeling which makes it easier to accept and love yourself!

20180519_152258.jpg