Ditch the diets

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These are the words many of us have been waiting to hear. In this month’s column, Danielle Roberts advises us to ditch the diets and try an holistic approach, letting your body guide you to optimal nutrition.

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding more and more people opening up about how confusing it is to decide which foods will best serve their body, and that all the “diet” information is clouding the true connection they have with their bodies.

I want to share some tools you can use to enhance your ability to know what your body needs and when it needs it. Please note, this is not an overnight fix but it is a very necessary addition to your health journey. It is a skill to be able to listen to your body, hence it takes practise and patience in order to master it.

The basic tool to listening to the body
Take note for a while of what types of foods you are eating and then an hour or two later assess whether you feel vital and energetic, or whether you feel “blah” and lethargic. If you feel the latter, then you know the food you just ate did nothing for your body.

Test this result several times. Don’t get frustrated, and be in the experimentation/ playful mindset. When we choose to become frustrated we are holding on or trying to grasp a result which can often lead us to fight against our body rather than working with it. With experimentation you are saying to your body that you are willing to learn to reconnect and practise listening to what it is telling you.

The more advanced tools to listening to the body
In the beginning you may find tuning into your body quite hard because it requires you to have trust in yourself and your intuition (feeling, rather than monkey mind thoughts).

The first step is to start by asking yourself what you feel like eating. Wait for a few moments and be open to any feelings or instant thoughts that come to mind to guide you to particular foods.

Another angle for a similar result is to pick up a food you feel drawn to eating, hold it in your hands for a moment and feel into yourself whether or not you should be eating what you are holding.

The key to these two above steps is to be open and honest with yourself, go with your FIRST feeling. This is an act of self – love, do not be concerned what others think. If you choose to go against your first feeling, ask yourself why you did that?

Was it a fear of failure, i.e. that you are trying something new and you are worried you may become disappointed if you can’t do it, hence that could bring up all sorts of pain. Which let’s face it, we try to avoid at all costs.

With this I would say to you, it is time to leave your comfort zone, slowly but surely tiptoe away from it. How are you ever going to discover yourself, your body and its amazing ability to communicate with you if you are not willing to practise communicating with it?

The other choice is to go back to the old ways of dieting and becoming stressed out about what foods you need to be eating.

However, you will continue to go around in circles. This cycle is one that does not allow for growth or expansion of the mind. It keeps you limited, it stops you from feeling empowered.

Feelings of empowerment are a huge energy that goes towards us feeling vital, strong and happy as it is an act of self– love. This in turn has a huge effect on the way we interpret what our body is wanting to tell us.

If we are swamped with emotions which leave us feeling worthless or with no love for ourselves, then how are we to feel what our body needs when we are getting caught in our own pain, and in the process detaching ourselves from the present moment where we are anchored and in tune without bodies?

After feeling what your body is needing or holding, start eating the food you have chosen slowly and consciously, not being distracted by doing anything else – just enjoying the tastes and textures.

Does it hit the spot for you? Do you feel satisfied? If you are not, is there something else available to you which you can try? If not, that’s okay – just being aware of what you are eating is a crucial step.

The more you eat the nutritious foods you come to like and are able to feel what your body wants, the more you will feel satisfied and the less you will need between meals.

Remember to play – don’t make this a stressful task by falling into the frustration and impatience. Put some much needed attention and love back into yourself. What better way to do that, than learning to reconnect and listen to the body.

Understand and work with the purpose that these practices will aid you in creating the greatest freedom in your life, so you are able to focus your energy on other things and people you truly love and fill you with large amounts of joy.

Joy, love and happiness are the true creators of vitality and good health. We so rarely are able to maintain such energies in our lives because of our self-belief systems or by feeding into others thoughts and perceptions.

I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and delve into the depths of how you desire your body and mind to feel.

Nutritionist Danielle Roberts is dedicated to helping people enjoy a healthy and knowledgeable relationship with food. Her business Fuel Nutrition allows her to share her passion for nutrition and healthy living.  Danielle is a freelance nutritionist and works with a number of Hamilton gyms. To make a booking, please contact Danielle at www.fuelnutrition.co.nz

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