effortless eating. doesn't that sound nice? no diets. no rules. no "bad" foods. when it comes to food & eating, it’s taken me a lot of time (and patience) to develop my personal food philosophy. i, by no means have it all figured out, but i think in large majority the principles i strive for will work for everyone, if they give them a shot. so, here goes nothing…
1. trust my body’s intuition. we’re so bogged down by diets and “good” and “bad” foods and calories and “shoulds” and “should nots”, no wonder our nation has a weight problem. i finally came to the realization that it’s much more pleasant to work with myself rather than against myself. diets put so many restrictions on our food and our bodies, it’s tiring, and we always feel the need to rebel…and often do. that’s why diets (based upon deprivation) don’t work. they offer no long-term solutions. no sustainability. your body is not out to get you, i promise. develop some trust and listen to what it’s saying…which leads me to my next point.
2. listen to my body. first and foremost, i always try to listen to my body when it comes to food and eating. if i’m thinking about food, i ask myself: am i really hungry? if so, what am i truly hungry for? yeah, sometimes it’s “disappointing” when your mind wants cake, but your body wants an apple or, maybe, isn’t even really hungry at all. but believe me, in the end, you’ll definitely feel better for not eating the cake and listening to your true hunger instead. and sometimes, when you ask your body what it needs when you think you’re hungry, it might not be food at all. maybe you need some alone time, a nap or are really thirsty. it’s fascinating how much more in-tune with your needs you become when you cultivate the art of listening to your body’s wisdom.
3. eat healthy, nutritious food 80-85% of the time. this isn’t something that i strictly enforce – it’s more like the byproduct of the previous two principles. i find that if i really listen to what my body is asking for, most of the time, i really and truly am craving something healthy. fresh fruit, hearty roasted vegetables, yummy oatmeal, hot tea. then there’s the night (or two) when we want to go to happy hour, and i enjoy a sugary cosmo, or we order pizza because i don’t feel like making dinner or am craving something super cheesy. but, undoubtedly, after a day or so of not-so-healthy options, my body is asking for cereal with soy milk for breakfast. trust that balance will come if you listen.
4. quality vs. quantity. i love to cook. and i find that if i cook with quality ingredients (i.e. fresh, organic, wholesome) the calorie/fat content naturally stays in-check. instead of obsessing about the quantity of food on my plate or the quantity of calories it contains, i prefer to think about how to prepare a delicious and wholesome meal. then, i (try to) take my time, really taste my food and enjoy each delicious mouthful. feeling stuck in a food rut? for inspiration check out “less fat, more flavor”.
5. food is meant to be savored & enjoyed. food should be a pleasurable experience. not a test of how "good" you are or how strict you can be with yourself. diets strip food of pleasure. it becomes about work and will power. if you enjoy your food...slowly, deliberately and consciously, you'll reap all the benefits of it (nutritional & pleasurable). being present when you eat and really focusing on the food you're consuming changes the game. no longer is your mind bombarded with incessant thoughts about calories and rules and fat grams. instead, space is created for you to appreciate food on a new level. an effortless level. free of external regulations. you begin to find what works for you. and that's what it's all about, my friend.
on my quest to be effortlessly fabulous, a poor relationship with food (we’ve all been there) can be an enormous obstacle. that is why i consciously strive for a healthy balance. and, the thing that’s really cool is that the principles i’ve outlined above all help to develop your consciousness with regard to food. and, better yet, they don’t feel like work! instead of a short-term diet of restriction, deprivation and frustration, you can begin a lifestyle shift that will bring you closer to your best self. and, if you remain open-minded and curious, you’ll learn a lot about yourself..