As we finish this last week of January I wanted to send a friendly reminder that –
it’s ok if you aren’t into setting New Year’s resolutions but you may still feel the pressure to make dramatic goals and drastic changes this year
It’s ok, too, if these past few weeks of 2020 haven’t started the year off the way you envisioned.
You are allowed to take some time to refresh. You’re allowed to NOT set unrealistic, infeasible, restrictive, or even overwhelming goals.
Let 2020 be the year you set your nutrition free!
I wrote this article originally for a New Orleans publication, Health & Fitness Magazine, but I wanted to share it here too in hopes of giving you reassurance & a friendly reminder to just be, and live, and enjoy your life and your food.
A new year comes with new perspective and insights into what we hope to accomplish this next year. It can be an overwhelming time of fresh beginnings with an unnecessary burden we place on ourselves to make changes or improvements in our life.
I challenge you to let 2020 be the year you free yourself form boundaries; boundaries related to food, boundaries or limitations related to your body and body image, or boundaries you set towards overreaching goals or unrealistic expectations for yourself.
Here are a few areas to be mindful of when it comes to letting your nutrition take a more forgiving and yet wholesome & nourishing approach:
Avoiding entire groups of foods due to fear of foods that may limit your weight loss capabilities or foods that are misconceived to make you gain weight (just as examples)
Instead try incorporating a variety of foods you enjoy into each day’s meals and snacks with a mix of foods that are nutritious and delicious. For example, if you love pizza but avoid it because you’ve been told in the past that it’s not good for you, think how you can nutritiously work pizza into your plan. Is it once a week when out to dinner with your friends or family? Is it a lunch during the middle of the week, on a typically stressful day, and you aim to include a vegetable or salad you like?
Labeling foods as good or bad
Despite popular notion, foods are inherently not good or bad, we label them as such based on what we have been taught or told, past personal experiences, or marketing we’ve seen over the years.
For example, fruits get a bad rap because they are labeled as “high in sugar” but I always share that they aren’t high in sugar, they just are a source of naturally-occurring sugar. That doesn’t make them bad, in fact they are loaded with nutrients from vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting compounds, fiber and fluid.
Rather than suppressing your cravings for something sweet, salty or crunchy, try to think how you can incorporate them in a balanced way that allows you to be satisfied and answer the craving without feeling like you are going overboard.
Some suggestions- maybe you incorporate a little something sweet you crave at the end of your meal or even with the meal. Maybe you incorporate some salty, crunchy snack into your afternoon snack, before you head home for work.
Ignoring hunger cues
We often have this misconception that to be more healthy and achieve whole body wellness we need to eat less so we can lose weight and achieve those health and wellness goals.
Instead aim to create a flexible, but regular meal pattern for yourself so you can provide your body the nourishment & energy it needs to go about your day. Generally speaking, a breakfast within the first hour or so of waking up in the morning, following by additional meals or snacks every three hours is what I recommend.
Thinking we have to be all or nothing with regards to food
Your meal plan is just that, a plan. If it doesn’t play out exactly as you planned, it’s ok to give yourself some freedom to acknowledge where it may have fell short of your intentions, non-judgmentally, and move on to the next day. There’s more opportunities at future meals and snacks. You don’t need to be perfect and neither does your meal plan or nutrition.
I hope 2020 is the year you become more relaxed, less stressed regarding your nutrition (and other areas of your life) and find food truly more enjoyable and satisfying- like a child enjoying the simple, delicious pleasure of beignets!