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If you’ve been following me since the way back days of Weight Watchers and Nuddy-Pants (don’t ask). You’ve seen me try every diet and way of eating in the book. You name it, I’ve tried it – Whole30, Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescitarian, Intermittent Fasting, Weight Watchers, 21 Day Fix + Shakeology. What I can tell you about each of these diets, programs, ways of eating (or whatever you want to call them) is that they work. Each one of them will get you to your wellness goals if you follow them the way they were designed. However, for people like me who have struggled with binge eating, following a prescribed eating plan can lead to a dangerous binge restriction cycle. Among the things that I promised myself when I turned 30 was that I would make peace with food.
It took 3 babies for me to finally learn to love my body but if I’m being honest, I have yet to come to a place where I have a normal relationship with food. As a Culinary Nutrition Expert, I know exactly what foods to eat for optimum health. I can make you a mean warming elixir and soups that help heal gut lining but I’ve still fallen victim to drive-thru fries and take out pizza more times than I’d like to admit.
I am currently trying to find a healthier size for myself (one that doesn’t make my body hurt) but refuse to employ any of the other methods I’ve tried in the past. Why? Simply put, I’m tired and don’t have time to sit and obsess over any of this anymore. I’ve spent too much time cooking separate meals for myself and my family and I’m over it all. I need to simplify my life and today it starts with food.
So where does that leave me now? Honestly, I’m just eating to support my health but eating foods that I genuinely enjoy… no meal plan, no containers, no calories, no labels… NADA!
Making Peace with Food
Intuitive eating is the idea that your body will let you know when it’s hungry and when to stop eating. I will be the first to admit that intuitive eating is not for everyone. If you’ve suffered from any kind of disordered eating, it’s tricky to determine what your body needs. This happens because you’ve spent so long controlling your hunger that your body no longer knows how to instinctively decide when it’s hungry.
Intuitive eating take practice and most important, the right frame of mind. If you had asked me to practice intuitive eating a month ago, I would have laughed in your face. In fact, when I read Kelsey Miller’s Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life (one of my favourite books and one I swear could have been written about me), I definitely rolled my eyes at the very thought of intuitive eating. I couldn’t fathom that someone with food issues could manage to kick disordered eating by listening to their hunger signals. However, after trying to count calories, macros, and sticking to one way of eating, I’d had enough. It may not have been the most positive way to enter intuitive eating but it worked. Exhaustion is a great motivator, ask any mom! I just don’t have time to cook separate meals for me and everyone in my house on top of everything else on my to-do list.
Another reason I’ve stopped tracking calories, macros and containers is because I felt like I was over feeding myself. I was eating around the clock or eating giant meals at night because I hadn’t hit my calories for the day. I was eating when I wasn’t hungry just to meet my goals.
Labels are for Soup Cans
Another thing I stopped doing was labelling my food habits. I don’t practice one way of eating all the time. There are a lot of factors that determine what type of food I’m eating. In Canada, we have 4 very distinct seasons so the weather definitely plays a role in my food choices. One thing I make a staple no matter what way I’m eating, is to consume lots of fresh vegetables. I also try to limit packaged foods as much as possible as they’re just not nutritionally beneficial for me… but sometimes a girl needs a cookie or some chips! Other than that, everything else is fair game. I take note of what makes my body feel good and what makes it feel like garbage and adjust accordingly.
The Big Picture
Ultimately, I won’t ever be one of those people who can eat just for nourishment. I like to enjoy my food. Culturally, it’s a staple in the way we share love and celebrate occasions. I think being able to go to dinner with my husband or my girlfriends and not worry about every morsel on my plate.
So, what does a typical day look like for me? There isn’t one but here’s what my meals have looked like this week just based on the groceries in the house. There are no snacks pictured because I just wasn’t hungry for them. On days that I’m ravenous, I may add some popcorn, an apple, or yogurt between meals. I try to eat enough at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to keep me satiated.
Breakfast: Smoothie Bowl
I’ve been turned off eggs for a couple of months now. I’m not sure what did it but it changed the way I eat breakfast. I was an omelet and toast kind of girl and now I can’t stomach them at all. I’ve been having a Rocket Fuel Latte for breakfast or a smoothie bowl. Something about a liquid breakfast just works for me right now. With that said, it could change at some point but right now it’s working for me.
Lunch: Salad and Potstickers (with a side of gochujang sauce) + Kombucha
I genuinely love salad. I don’t eat them to lose weight or because of any other gimmick. I make them with all kinds of crazy toppings and they’re super delicious. Instead of counting calories, I try to count colours. If my food looks good enough to eat, it probably is! I eat a salad at least once a day for lunch or dinner and I’m a fruit on the salad kind of girl. Sometimes I’ll have some soup or a sandwich with my salad but you can pretty much bet that a salad will be part of my lunch.
Dinner: Chili and Potatoes
My husband the carnivorous creature that he is makes an amazing vegan chili. I’m not sure how it came about but one day he was messing around in the kitchen and out came my favourite chili. Whenever we need something for the week that’s quick and easy he whips up a batch of this we go to town all week. I added potatoes because I have a sick obsession with fries and in order to stop myself from getting fast food ones every 10 seconds, I make my own wedges at home.
Now before you go all crazy with the “you’re eating too little of x or you don’t have enough macronutrient y,” understand that this is a snapshot of 1 day. Cumulatively my meals are pretty balanced. My goal is to take the thinking out of food.
With all of that said, I am a huge proponent of doing what works best for YOUR body. If counting calories is your jam, go for it! If a vegan diet makes you feel vibrant, rock it out! If you can make your chocolate powder taste like a salted caramel mocha, drink on my friend! Find the system that works best for you and go for it!
Making peace with food has everything to do with your relationship to it and I plan to make sure mine is healthy and fulfilling.