If you read yesterday's post about switching our minds away from resolutions and towards intentions, then this topic will go hand in hand with that message. Right now I am sure there are many of you who have come into the New Year with an aggressive plan for dieting or cleansing. Maybe you are trying the ever popular Whole30, which seems to gain a ton of traction this time of year. Or perhaps instead you have simply decided to swear off all carbs for the month of January, or eat 100% clean...whatever than means.
If this sounds familiar then you probably have a long list running in your head, or maybe you even wrote it down, of all the foods you are absolutely NOT ALLOWED to eat. Most likely this includes "junk food" type things like potato chips, cookies, candy, but I would bet that you may have also gone a little further and are swearing off bread, pasta, maybe even nut butters, cheese, chocolate, etc. You have vowed to live the foreseeable future of your life as a slave to kale, and are in the process of convincing yourself that a life without chocolate really isn't so bad.
Now tell me, are you feeling positive right now? Because I for one am not, just writing out all of these restrictions has made my mood come down, and I can guarantee that it has done the same for you. You want to know why? Because no one likes being restricted, especially not adults. We don't thrive on limitations, we thrive on possibilities! Think about it, when you were a kid, if your parents told you over and over and over that you absolutely could not have something, lets just say it was ice cream, what happened? Did you magically stop wanting it? No I can be sure that you wanted it even more and more, until you finally got your hands on some ice cream and ate it until your belly hurt. This my friends is the vicious cycle called dieting.
We restrict ourselves, trying to convince our minds that it is for the good of our health, or that if we can only just go 30 days without any bread and cheese we will reach our goal weight and find happiness. But here is my next question...how many times have you restricted yourself and found happiness? How many times have you gone on a diet, and had lasting resulting forever? Well you wouldn't be on a diet again now would you if the diet had worked the last time, or the time before that.
Diets and cleanses, whatever you want to call them, create extremely negative environments for our bodies and our minds where we are incapable of thriving. They make us overly think about food, and give forbidden foods a kind of power that is entirely unhealthy. Now I am not saying that this means we should just throw our hands up and in the air and say screw it all because diets aren't the answer. No, what I am saying is that there is another approach to finding balance with our food, and our bodies that has absolutely nothing to do with dieting...the diet industry just doesn't want you to know about it.
It's called mindful eating  , some people also call it intuitive eating, but it is a method of eating that focuses on all the good things you should be eating, and focuses very little on the things you shouldn't. In fact it really doesn't focus on the things you "shouldn't" be eating at all. Mindful eating instead is rooted in this idea that if we create positive intentions for what we want for our health, and how we want our relationship with food to be, then slowly overtime the "forbidden foods" will naturally become less frequent, maybe non-existent, but never forbidden. It creates a mindset that you can have whatever you want, whenever you want it, because last time I checked you are an adult and can choose what you want to eat. But that right there is the difference between mindful eating, and dieting.
Dieting gives you no choices, it leaves very little room (if any) for error, and last time I checked your were a human right, so mostly likely you are not going to be perfect. This is where mindful eating really shows it beautiful colors because it embraces your imperfections, and gives you all the choices in the world...the only caveat is that those choices have to be...you guessed it mindful.
Practicing mindful eating at first is going to be be WAY harder than dieting. You don't have a list anymore of rules to follow or foods you cannot eat. Your only "rule" is that you must listen to your body before, during, and after eating. You must be brutally honest with what you body wants/does not want, and you have to reflect daily on those positive intentions you have set for yourself and how they relate to the food choices you are making.
No one said that it would be easy, but if practiced consistently mindful eating has the power to completely mend and change your relationship with food, reach the health goals you have been searching for, and create a positive environment for a future life free forever from dieting.
Since this may seem overwhelming, I want you to know that I am here to help you begin the process of mindful eating and support you along the way. Helping others achieve their goals from a place of positivity and self-love is kind of my jam, and is something that I want to be yours as well. My methods of encouraging mindful eating are centered around the fact that food should taste good! It should leave us feeling well nourished and positive. I help my clients fill their lives with delicious, whole foods, and teach them how to look inside themselves, and identify what it is they want from their relationship with food.
 "The Center for Mindful Eating - Home." The Center for Mindful Eating - Home. Web. 03 Jan. 2017.
 Publications, Harvard Health. "Mindful Eating." Harvard Health. Web. 03 Jan. 2017.