Change your focus
During my many attempts at low carb diets, clean eating and everything in between I found one main focus which took over my life- weight. These diets put so much emphasis on weight and how I look that it became an obsession. I began weighing myself weekly, checking the mirror to see any changes after just days and being disappointed when these didn’t occur. I also found that by eliminating major foods I became obsessed with them too. One diet in particular which I followed for about a year allowed one cheat meal a week. Well I took this as a cheat day and would gorge myself with food until it made me sick. This viscous cycle left me feeling fatigued and suffering from such low self esteem I barely felt like socialising. These diets, which target vulnerable, desperate people, only lead to further issues and are not sustainable. What helped me the most in moving away from that focus was to change it. Instead of wanting to look a certain way or be a certain weight I looked to eat a diet which would fuel my performance for sport and help me maintain my hectic lifestyle. The impact was and still is remarkable. My change of focus allowed me to become in tune with my body, eat foods I enjoy and remove any guilt I had surrounding the ‘Devils food’; carbs.
It still astounds me how many people follow low carb diets and it’s to no fault of their own. They have been told by these diet companies, by celebrities and by the media that to be beautiful you have to be thin and to be thin you can never touch grains/dairy/sugar again. And when I ask them, are you tired? Do you struggle to make it through your training week? Has your weight loss plateaued? They all say yes. One client in particular I spoke with when I told them what foods they were avoiding and what crucial nutrients can be found in grains, dairy and fruits they were shocked at how unbalanced their diet really is. Instead of focusing on what foods we should eliminate we should focus on foods we should include and what benefit they will have to our everyday lives. But most of all we should be focusing on achieving health and not an unachievable perfect body determined by society.
So how do we change our focus?
1. Throw out the scales. This is a pretty simple one. When we focus on weight loss we get obsessed by the number on the scale, but this number is affected by so many different factors like water level, muscle mass and food intake just to name a few. When we eat to be healthy and to meet our needs based on activity level, age and gender then our weight will follow suit.
2. Love yourself, flaws and all. A hard one to achieve but an essential part of changing our focus towards health. No one is without flaws and everyone has something unique and special about them. Love your flaws, love your uniqueness and focus on being kind to yourself. If you eat a chocolate because you really felt like one then don’t hate yourself. You are human and chocolate is delicious. Know that you nourish your body well and that chocolate nourishes your soul. Allow yourself to enjoy life and be kind to yourself when things don’t go to plan.
3. Find your focus. My focus was on a diet to fuel my performance in sport. I eat particular foods before and after training and during the week to help maintain a heavy training schedule and busy life. Your focus may be completely different. You might want to get better sleep or have enough energy to run around with the kids after work. Find yourself a goal and focus your energy on that rather than how you look or the number on the scales.
4. Be aware of how you feel. I have talked about this in previous posts but I feel I is an important step to help change your focus. Eating to make yourself feel better is a stepping stone for you to move away from weight loss. Eating more nutritious foods will leave you feeling more energised. This feeling is addictive and you will soon find by eating less nutritious foods that you are left feeling sluggish or fatigued. You will soon adapt your cravings to those foods that provide you with good quality fuel for the body, health will merely be a side effect.
As I have said in many of these posts and it is very cliche but we are most definitely on a journey to better health both mentally and physically. Food should never produce negative feelings, instead should help you to be the best version of you everyday. Change your focus, love your flaws and your unique qualities and eat to make you feel energised and alive. Health is holistic and needs to be worked on everyday. I hope you have benefited from my posts on improving your relationship with food and enjoyed sharing my insight into the topic. Remember to be kind as you stumble through, there will be set backs but you will get there.
Peace, Love and Food xx