Updated: Sep 7, 2021
We all need to eat to live, but are the foods you’re eating nourishing your body so you can live healthfully?
If you have ever set a goal for healthy eating and weight loss, then chances are you’ve followed a diet before. Maybe you're a chronic dieter, hopping from one diet to another, on and off for years. How is that serving you?
If you’ve ever struggled with yo-yo dieting, binge eating, emotional eating or any other type of food challenge, then I want to encourage you to try a new approach – eating for nourishment.
There is a difference between eating (and dieting) and nourishing.
When you stop trusting your body’s hunger cues and rely on someone else’s guidelines for eating (aka dieting), a weird thing happens. You start to obsess over food, your weight, calories, carbs... in fact it may be all you think about! And this creates an unhealthy relationship with food. This type of "eating" comes from a place of fear and is based on deprivation and restriction.
Nourishing is a whole different concept. Nourishing comes from a place of love and self acceptance, with a focus on enriching your body and mind. Its purpose is to develop a positive and compassionate relationship between food, your body, and your mind.
Merriam Webster defines nourish as: provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.
How do you know if you are dieting or nourishing?
Focused on weight and appearance
Uses a list of "good" and "bad" foods
Requires counting calories
Asks that you eat at specific times or according to certain rules
Creates feelings of doubt, shame and fear when goals are not met
Focused on how your body feels
Includes a wide variety of foods without rigid rules
Does not require obsessively counting calories
Recognizes your body's hunger cues
Fosters an enjoyment of food without guilt or shame
And when you stop dieting and start nourishing you will...
Have more energy. Eating healthy helps regulate your blood sugar so you don’t get energy zapping sugar spikes throughout the day, plus your body gets access to energizing nutrients like B-complex vitamins and iron that help your cells access fuel.
Reduce risk of disease. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamin C which helps strengthen blood vessels and lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. When you eat healthy, you’ll be getting more plant nutrients and antioxidants in your diet and they both fight cancer growth. It’s proven that cruciferous veggies from the cabbage family like kale and broccoli are cancer fighters too.
Sleep better. Researchers have tied good-for-you foods like dark leafy greens, whole grains and fish to better zzz's. People who eat better, sleep better.
Improve your mental health. An increased intake in B-vitamins will boost your dopamine production and have you feeling happy. And foods like salmon, fish, walnuts, chia seeds and spinach provide a healthy dose of Omega 3s that combat moodiness and depression.
The big difference between "dieting" and eating to nourish your body is really about your relationship with yourself. Are you approaching your body with love, compassion and acceptance, or are you practicing restriction and deprivation to guilt and shame yourself into a smaller size?
Maybe you think you can't possibly nourish your body and achieve your goals too. Consider this, nourishing your body with healthy whole foods packs more nutrition in smaller portions than processed foods, helping you keep your blood sugar on an even keel so you aren’t fighting cravings, energy slumps and mood swings.
And eating in a way that nourishes your body helps you consume fewer calories that are higher quality, so you can fuel your body more effectively and efficiently. By listening to your body, recognizing hunger cues, and enjoying real food with real ingredients, you can create a healthy relationship with food that empowers you to lose weight and maintain it over the long haul while simultaneously improving your health with every meal.
Why should I nourish my body?
You care about your health. That’s why you’re reading this post and that’s why you know you should stop dieting and start nourishing. Show yourself some love by nourishing your body with foods that promote your healthiest, happiest self!
I believe the 3 pillars to a healthy and happy life are to eat well, move daily, and live happy. And one of the quickest, simplest ways to make meaningful change is by eating healthy in a way that nourishes your body and mind.
Though you can absolutely start doing this on your own, if you are like most of the busy men and women I work with, you do a little better with guidance and support, that’s why I created my company, Mind + Body Elite. I’ve got a variety of kickstarts, one-on-one and group programs complete that are designed to help you eat healthy, move daily, and live happy so you can live a life you love in a body you are proud of.
Truth - you will not become your healthiest self by eating food that isn’t nutritious and delicious, beating yourself up over your weight, going on restrictive diets, or punishing yourself with unrealistic rules and expectations.
I understand how challenging it can feel to make a change. And if you’ve been eating processed and convenience foods, or relying on an endless cycle of diets for a long time, chances are that you’re used to defining foods as "good" or "bad" and associate healthy with restriction and deprivation.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Aren’t you sick of beating yourself up? If you want to feel healthy, happy and more fulfilled, do it!
How hard is it to eat healthy?
I'm not going to lie, healthy eating and nourishing your body after years of doing the opposite takes effort. But so does living unhealthy.
Look, I get it, the idea of changing how you eat and look at food can be scary and overwhelming. But I have helped my clients do it and I know you can too.
Discover how to take small and simple steps to help you eat better, think better and feel better. Download my FREE 4 Ways To Eat Better Guide now and I'll show you how!