As a health coach, I’ve learned a lot about nutrition, including expert theories that say you “should” eat this and “shouldn’t” eat that.
As a real person, business owner, and busy mom, I’ve learned that formulas and expert advice don’t always work.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big believer in the power of healthy food, and I’ve learned from my own experience that what I eat makes a huge difference in how I feel when I wake up, in my energy through the day and whether my skinny jeans fit. But that doesn’t mean that I always eat perfectly, or that I don’t make mistakes. Instead, I work to create my recipe for real life by doing the best I can for myself and my family, and understanding that some days will be better than others.
To create your own recipe for real life, here’s what I suggest:
Let go of the “should and the “shouldn’ts”. What works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. Diets tend to be unsustainable – this is why most people set New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or get healthier year after year. Instead, turn inward and start paying attention to the foods that support your body and the foods that don’t. For me, this means cutting out gluten, and no cheating!
Prioritize your own self-care. Listen, I get it – life is busy. With a busy 2-year-old, a husband who travels, and a thriving health coaching practice, I could easily claim that I don’t have time to take care of myself. The truth is that I have to consciously make time to exercise and relax, because when I don’t, the rest of my life suffers. Finding time for myself is key in my ability to show up for my clients, my family, and my friends. Start with small increments – a ten-minute walk before picking up your kids at school, or saying a mantra to yourself when you first wake up in the morning.
Let your cravings be a lesson. Food cravings can be frustrating, but they are also often a signal that your body needs something. Craving a chocolate cupcake? First, check in to make sure that your basic needs are being met: are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you lonely? Your body’s craving for a chocolate cupcake could be a sign that your blood sugar needs a boost, or that what you really need is a hug and a little sweetness in your life. Cravings don’t have to be the enemy when we’re open to experiencing them and learning from them rather than trying to dismiss or ignore them.