Take a moment and ask yourself, how do I feel when I eat food? Not only during eating it but also straight after and a few hours later? How do I feel both physically and emotionally? Celebrity chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin shares her secrets to end your love-hate relationship with food.
Food should make you feel energised, satisfied, content, happy, nourished, calm and guilt free.
Food should not make you feel guilty, fatigued, overcome with cravings, deprived, angry and anxious.
image via pinterest
Unfortunately the latter is the norm for many people and that may be due to a thought that crept in during an overindulgent time, but now its an actual reality day to day and the feelings are all consuming and harder to push away.
There has been a definite shift in how we perceive food. Once thought of as energy to fuel our busy lifestyles, eating trends are now a way of life and often something we prescribe to help define ourselves.
So what has caused something so simple to become so complex?
The rise of celebrity endorsed food philosophies…
Sometimes we can get lost on our food journey and stumble across food philosophies which seem to hold the answers we are looking for. Such food philosophies often come not only with a cult-like following, but are based on unrealistic theories that cut out entire food groups, ban unnecessary ingredients and causing undue stress at meal time. In fact, fixation on what food philosophy you live by is not healthy, full stop.
By attaching yourself to a label, you can create a disconnection with what your body actually needs. We stop listening, we ignore food cues, we ignore cravings and we ignore what our body is trying to tell us. Instead we eat within the rulebooks of our chosen philosophy, feeling guilty if we eat outside the rules, despite possibly feeling better for it.
No one other than yourself knows what’s right for you when it comes to food, only you can feel how your body responds and what foods make you feel best.
Having said that, it is possible to find positive celebrity endorsed food programs such as those that are rich in wholefoods, nutrient dense ingredients, local and seasonal produce. This shift in preference is a major step towards greater health and should be the foundation of your food philosophy.
The way forward – falling in love with food
Your diet should not define you nor should we hide behind a food label. Food is meant to provide nourishment and be enjoyed; it should not create stress nor feelings of frustration. Food should be easy. It shouldn’t become your life it should fit into your life.
I believe in building a solid and sustainable food foundation and one that works for you and not against you. We should be able to take our diet anywhere, out to dinner, on holidays, into a busier time without feeling overwhelmed, out of control or deprived.
The reason people struggle to improve their health is because they may be lacking a solid food foundation. That’s the problem with a lot of the highly publicised food philosophies, they often fail to educate and fail to encourage listening to how we feel from the food we eat.
Choosing what to eat should not be motivated by fear but hunger and tuning into what your body needs. Our body’s needs change daily depending on sleep, exercise, hormones, stress – its unnatural to try fitting such a fluid process into a strict rigid set of rules and expect a good result. The more we start to focus on fresh, simple and nutrient dense foods, the less anxiety and confusion it creates.
My Falling in Love with Food program encourages members to look beyond calories and shift focus to recognising food as nourishment and what it provides the body. Members are taught how to eat for a better lifestyle, enjoying food, and truly understanding how it will increase health, happiness and performance in all aspects of life.
If you’ve fallen out of love with food and are stuck in a ‘food philosophy rut’ here are my top tips to finding the joy in eating again:
1. Eat mindfully away from distraction savouring every bite and noticing how the food makes you feel
2. Buy fruit and vegetables from the farmers markets, meat from the butcher and fish from fish mongers, know where your food is coming from and select your food, you will begin appreciating it more
3. Leave comparing behind, what suits you doesn’t suit others – remember comparison is the thief of joy
4. Shift focus: We are so focused on what and how much to eat, we have lost sight of considering why, how and whom we eat with, Next time you eat a meal ask yourself “how did it make me feel?” Be kind to yourself.