We are what we eat. This statement couldn’t be truer. In the journey to reaching optimal health, diet relates to 80% of the equation. What we choose to eat, the quality of the food we choose to eat and the amounts of food we eat all play an important part in that equation. With so many choices on the market today, how do we decide which options are the best? With so many recommendations on portion sizes and other diet related topics, how do we decipher which advice is right? The answer is simple: We listen to what our body is telling us.
Babies and toddlers are prime examples of ones who listen to what their body is telling them and eat with self-awareness. What may be perceived as picky is really their inner-self telling them what is the best option for them. They are aware of when they are hungry and when they are full. Babies and toddlers will never let themselves starve: If they appear to eat very little one day, they will more than likely eat more the next day. When presented with a healthy and nutritious variety of food, they will always make choices that are best suited for them. Though parents have the best interest at heart, it is the repetitive conditionings of “Finish everything on your plate, there are kids out there who don’t get to eat” or “If you want desert you need to eat all your dinner” or “Great job, you deserve a treat” that we begin to replace our ability to listen to our internal cues and replace them with the external conditioning.
Our body strives to be in optimal health every day. Our body tells us and gives us cues every day on how to reach and maintain optimal health. The trouble is that over time through familial and societal conditioning, we lose the ability to listen to what our body is telling us. So how do we regain our awareness and the ability to eat for nourishment? The answer is to become hyper-aware and begin to analyze the what, the why and the amounts of what we are eating. Are we truly hungry or are we eating to fill a sense or boredom or emotional discomfort? Am I still hungry or am I simply eating because there is still food on my plate? Am I eating what I really want to eat or am I forcing myself to eat something I am really not interested in? Do I truly enjoying what I am eating, or am I so distracted I am not even tasting the food anymore? When reading magazines or recipes, what foods stand out to me the most? What foods do I find myself craving? By paying attention and answering the above questions, we begin to regain that self-awareness that we once had as children.
There are so many diet options available to us today. There are those that may work for one person and not for another. This does not make one diet more “right” than another, it simply proves that we are all unique and each of us has our own individual needs. By taking the time to analyze and listen to what our body is telling us while making healthy unprocessed food choices, we not only eliminate our battle with food, but we drive away any feelings of guilt. Eating becomes a pleasurable, guilt-free experience resulting in weight loss, energy increases, emotional balance and overall optimal health.