Practicing Gratitude and Self-Compassion: Nurturing a Balanced Relationship with Food
For a lot of people, if we're able to prioritize a nourishing diet and daily movement, we're doing it to check a box, because it's the thing we know we *should* do, or it's a means to an end. How do we radically shift our feelings toward what we put in our bodies and how we move them?
Gratitude & Self-compassion
The Power of Gratitude: Recognizing the Goodness of Food
Research shows practicing gratitude has a profound effect on your health including:
Reduced depression and anxiety
Improved heart health
Lower blood pressure
Fewer aches and pains
Reduced stress levels
Increased positivity and happiness
Food nourishes us in a lot of ways and provides the necessary nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants our bodies need to function. Thinking about the food you eat and practicing gratitude for all the ways it supports your body is a great place to start.
How does food make you feel? There's a reason many people turn to food for comfort, it's not just vitamins on a checklist but it can also feed your soul. Popcorn during a movie with a friend, a refreshing popsicle or cold watermelon on a hot day, or a warm bowl of soup when you're feeling sick. There are so many ways food shows up for us, practicing gratitude for these things also increases our enjoyment.
What if we took it one step further and spent a moment feeling grateful for the journey your food took to get to you? How about all the hands that grew your food with love, the person that picked your food from the earth, the person who drove it to the store, and then the individual who put it out in the store? As a society, we live in a time with unprecedented access to a diverse range of food options to nourish our bodies with ease, take a minute to appreciate that on your next trip to the grocery store.
Cultivating Self-Compassion: Developing a Positive Relationship with Food
Breaking the pattern of diet culture is a transformative act of reclaiming autonomy over our bodies. Society has promoted unrealistic beauty standards for way too long and in turn, caused a lot of people, women especially to foster an unhealthy relationship with food.
Are you over it? I am.
Making the choice to actively reject diet culture means we can put that energy into prioritizing self-acceptance and compassion towards our food choices. Fostering a non-judgemental mindset that values the worth of your body and lets go of self-criticism and guilt around food choices means you can approach eating with kindness, forgiveness, and focus on nourishment.
Practicing self-compassion around food choices also allows you to listen to your body's needs and honor your hunger and fullness cues which means you're more likely to make choices that support your overall well-being. A healthier relationship with food means you experience greater balance and joy, not only in the kitchen and at your dining room table but in all areas of your life.
What does this look like for you? Here are some practical tips to incorporate more gratitude and self-compassion into your life each day.
Gratitude Journal: Keep a dedicated journal to jot down three things you are grateful for related to your eating habits each day. It could be a nourishing breakfast, a homemade meal, or a pleasant dining experience.
Letting Go of Guilt: JUST STOP. Release feelings of guilt or shame around food choices. Instead, focus on self-compassion and forgiveness. Understand that everyone has indulgences, and it's part of a balanced approach to eating.
Celebrate Food Choices: Instead of fixating on what you can't eat, celebrate the nutritious foods you choose to nourish your body. Try using language like "I get to eat... I can eat..." instead of "I can't have that".
Practice Intuitive Eating: Listen to your body's cues and eat mindfully. Check out my blog about that here.
Positive Self-Talk: Replace negative self-talk with kind and encouraging words when it comes to your eating habits. Offer yourself affirmations like, "I am making choices that support my well-being" or "I am grateful for my body's ability to enjoy nourishing food."
Cultivate a Gratitude Ritual: Create a ritual before or after each meal to express gratitude. It could be a moment of silence or simply taking a few deep breaths to acknowledge the nourishment you are about to receive.
Reflect on the Positive: At the end of the day, reflect on the positive aspects of your eating experiences. Recall moments of satisfaction, joy, and nourishment. Shift your focus from any perceived "mistakes" to the overall positive choices you made.
If you're struggling with your relationship with food, intuitive eating or choosing nourishing food and looking for no BS, supportive coaching, schedule a free consultation, I'd love to work with you.