Will matters and your will is free.
Eating. You’d think it would be, should be, such a simple thing. But oh, how difficult it can be. The analyzing, over-analyzing, the under-analyzing followed up by guilt. One simple meal can turn into a stressful affair in no time. I’ve had my share of moments (or rather days and weeks on end) when eating was too complicated and too stressful. Until finally, I’d had enough. I wanted to eat “normally”. I wanted food to be a simple and enjoyable part of life that I could take part in without any more anxiety. I wanted food to become a part of my health, a part of my healing.
And that is the beginning of my transition from just “eating” to “eating well.” When I say eating well I mean eating to sustain and promote health in both body and mind. I want to emphasize that I’m not saying that food is not to be enjoyed. Obviously, food can certainly be enjoyable and should be enjoyable, but the conclusion that I’ve come to is that the problems begin to arise when the enjoyable aspect of eating becomes the central point. My new goal and motivation in eating is to eat well, meaning to eat with the purpose to fuel my body with the energy it needs to survive. And, when I combine that purpose with the goal of improving my mindset and attitude towards food as a whole, the outcome is life-changing.
Food has the capacity to make us feel amazing. It also has the capacity to mess with us physically and emotionally. Whether we feel tired, sluggish and lethargic, or depressed, guilty and frustrated, there’s almost no impact food can’t have. On the other hand, eating well can lift your mood, brighten your spirit, give you energy in abundance to power you through tasks and motivate you to try new things and be more adventurous than you typically are. If you’re tired of being consumed by food, here are a few words of “wisdom” that I keep in mind in my attempts to eat well every day.
Food’s Purpose is First to Fuel (Food First Fuel: FFF)
If you look at food with your number one goal simply being to fuel your body with the nutrition it needs, then everything else becomes much simpler. Rather than trying to determine what has the lowest kcal count or the lowest fat and carb count and instead vowing to choose which food will provide you with lasting energy, the best choices for your body suddenly become much more obvious. Why do you always hear to eat whole grains are important? Because they burn slowly over time and provide you with extended energy in lieu of the short burst of energy and subsequent crash of something like a donut. You’ll have to experiment with what foods do give you the energy you’re seeking. For me it may be whole grains, for you it may be vegetables and protein. We’re all different. Your job is only to take care of your body.
Relish Feeling Good
When you start really taking care of your body and seeking to nourish it and provide it with all the vitamins, minerals, calories, fats, nutrients, etc. that it needs on a daily basis, you will start to feel wonderful. Relish that feeling. Cherish it. Don’t let it pass you by. Finish a meal and take a moment to recognize the satisfaction and joy that comes with eating well. The more you tell your mind this, the more you’ll reinforce good habits and good patterns that will stick with you for a lifetime. A dish of chocolate ice cream may delight for a moment, but a well planned out and thoughtful meal will delight for the entire day.
Eating well is a process. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it can and it will happen if you persevere. You have to listen to your body. Know when it feels good and when it doesn’t. Take notes, journal, do whatever you need to in order to enable yourself to compile patterns that will allow you to re-plan and adjust accordingly. And, most of all, encourage yourself. Push on and seek the day when you will sit down to a delicious, colorful, balanced dinner that will be anxiety free, enjoyable, and ultimately good for you. Because, after all, that’s what eating well is all about.
How do you differentiate between eating and eating well?
Amber O’Connell is a freelance writer promoting healthy eating and living. She is currently writing alongside Air-n-Water researching environmentally conscious ways to use a small, energy conserving baseboard heaters during the winter months instead of central systems.