What did your parents teach you about your relationship with food?
As a dietitian of almost 30 years I notice a common theme with many of the people that walk through my door. Whether they are trying to lower their blood pressure, avoid having to take medications or want to lose weight, they will tell me they know how to eat healthy but struggle to do so. As I dig a little deeper for their definition of "healthy," what I discover is another victim fallen prey to the diet industry and our culture’s belief that diets are healthy eating.
This is simply not true. I believe that we all know how to eat well, but have misused food and exercise as a means to manipulate our size instead of treating our bodies with respect.
Unfortunately, we are also passing this message on to the children in our lives. If you truly want to be healthy, stop dieting and start living by treating your body well. Think about how children or babies treat their bodies. When you were a child you knew when you were hungry and turned your head to signal when you were full. You liked to be naked, kicked your legs, grabbed your toes, ran because you could and it felt good to move. When you were sad you cried, when you were tired you were cuddled to sleep, and you learned to say "no" when your boundaries were crossed. It is time to find that innocent child inside.
Below, the primary components of a healthy balance are outlined to help you do just that: discover ways to move forward and develop a healthy relationship with food. You will know you have accomplished this when you enjoy living, stop talking about weight and model these healthy behaviors for the children in your life.
- Eat for fuel by listening and responding to hunger/fullness cues.
- Eat food that has nutrients to help your body function, feel your best as well as prevent disease.
- Drink for hydration not for taste or entertainment with water being the best source.
- Move your body frequently throughout the day. We are not designed to be sedentary.
- Find ways that you enjoy moving and embrace it without steps and minutes being the primary focus.
- Play with your kids by learning new games and exploring the beautiful area we live.
- Learn how to express your feelings and cope without food.
- Find non-food alternatives to eating triggers (stress, boredom, anxiety, sadness, etc.)
- Balance your life w/ rest and relaxation.
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