Loving ourselves through healthy choices

Eating healthy when one has an abundance of hungry little yeast organisms stimulating carbohydrate cravings (they really do do this), is a matter of self regulation and self love. As the urge arises to eat something that we know is contrary to our health goals, we make a decision in that moment. We must decide between the unhealthy food we are craving, and the healthier choice or abstinence. We must ask ourselves, if the taste of the food is worth the two minutes of bliss from indulging in a craving? 

By choosing not to weaken our resolve, our self confidence or our body and mind by giving in, we have more strength with which to turn towards the increased fun we will by making self-loving choices.

 

Mind your own wisdom

Cravings for unhealthy foods represent a significant challenge to our healthy path when we get together with family and friends. When our new food habits are scrutinized by others, it can be difficult to know how to respond to questions. Without trying to change others around you, I encourage you to find your own tactful strength and to focus inwardly on your knowledge about which foods will maximize the quality of your time with your loved ones. Rather than explain to others why other foods are not healthy, we can turn inward and tell ourselves silently, that those foods are "not for me, not right now".

 

Redefine "Fun Food"

The satisfaction that comes of indulgence  is so very temporary and it will return after you indulge.  I encourage you to feed your own conviction about the potential of health and happiness through food therapy. And I encourage you to try to redefine "Fun food and happy food." Rather than the sugary, starchy foods that leave us feeling lethargic or worse - we can define fun food as the food that is yummy AND makes us feel amazing and energized.

 

Eating the healthy food is an advantage

Eating healthy is an advantage, not a deprivation. It is a way to balance emotional health, physical health and weight. It is also sparing us from the pollution of chemical and artificial food ingredients. Rather than resent the change, embrace it.

 

Cultivating calm, accepting thoughts

The way that we think (about food and everything else), is as important as the food we eat. It is, essentially, "our thought diet." and it affects our health profoundly.  Some thoughts can help us relish the healthy path. Some can trigger an interior rebellion in ourselves. Holding our cravings with compassion and acceptance, can help prevent an inner struggle that might lead to binging.

 

Nothing tastes as good as health feels

To help with making the best choices, I like the phrase, "Nothing tastes as good as health feels." Over time, as our taste buds recover from the over-stimulation of  sugar and starch and msg. We discover that the candy bar doesn't really even truly taste good- it just gives us that sugar buzz that, shortly after, makes us feel like crap. We learn to celebrate true food quality and we realize that nutrient-rich nourishment can taste as good as it feels. Be patient though because it takes a bit of time for our bodies to catch up with our wise thoughts.

 

Craving or addiction?

 Allergy and addiction often go hand in hand when it comes to eating problems and the chemistry of this problem is not adequately understood by most professionals. I see it as unwise to encourage people to use moderation or to eat "just a little "treat'", because for those who have allergic or addictive responses to some foods, these foods are not a treat, but harmful.

Some food cravings act like an addiction. Food allergies or intolerances can alter our state. They may produce kind of a 'buzz'- either stimulating or sedating. Then when we eat these foods we set ourselves up for further cravings, creating a cycle of addiction. Sometimes eating just one of the foods you are intolerant to, can trigger overwhelming cravings for all the other foods you are intolerant to, and lead to a kind of a domino effect in which you breaking all your promises to yourself. Because of this, abstinence can be the easiest solution. The longer we abstain, the less we crave the allergic or addictive food.
In an ideal world, we would be surrounded by delicious, healthy, nutritious, hypo-allergic foods- especially on special occasions when everyone wants to feel their best to have fun with loved ones. Why not try to mix some healthy fun in with old traditions and try out some of the healthy alternative recipes in the Recipes for Recovery book
 

What does it mean to be kind to ourselves?

Although well meaning friends and therapists often encourage us to be 'kind' to ourselves by 'having a little treat' and by not making so many 'eating rules', sometimes this can do more harm than good because in some cases there are more than just emotional issues at play. But no matter what our choices it is important to adapt a loving relationship with ourselves and our eating habits. I prefer to cultivate calm equanimity in response to the sensations of cravings and learn to allow the sensations to exist without acting on them.

Many of us have been raised with the rather perverse idea that we can be loving to ourselves through eating unhealthy food. This makes for a confusing relationship to foods like sugar - if it is seen as a reward yet it makes us feel unwell or contributes to future ill health.
 

Momentary pleasure or well being?

Self education and the practice of keeping a food diary can help you find the best way to eat satisfying foods and resist the temptation to choose taste over well-being.

 

Mindful indulgence

If you do occasionally give in to your cravings, it's important to be ok with this, enjoy it thoroughly and mindfully and without regret and and accept any consequences with awareness. An accepting attitude will reduce the inclination to go overboard and binge out of a sense of frustration.

Also, by eating the food with full appreciation (rather than fear or guilt), we will maximize our bodies ability to assimilate it more healthfully. When we do feel negative consequences, we'll develop the healthy resolve to refrain in future.
 

Transformation of habit

The ways that we indulge in pleasure are habitual. As we transform our lives we find more and more options for delicious indulgences of a different kind. The idea of what constitutes indulgence will change. Your highest ideal in your food choices may even come to include a sense of just ecological conscience and compassion for those who grow and prepare the food you eat. 

Related pages: 

Two Steps Healthy, One Craving Back
The WholeApproach Cravings Chart

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Disclaimer: Information provided on the Whole Approach website, forum or blog has been obtained from a variety of resources. It is provided for educational purposes only. The information provided by Whole Approach, WholeApproach Representatives, including Tarilee Cornish, should not be considered diagnostic or medical advice. None of the information provided by Whole Approach is intended to replace the guidance of your personal health care practitioners and/or physician. Please consult your licensed medical or naturopathic physician before beginning, or making changes to your supplement, diet or exercise protocol.
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