I have been doing a little experiment with FOOD the last month.
I started my training to become certified as a HEALTH and WELLNESS/LIFE COACH and decided I needed to join in on the cleanse they were doing.
Y ‘all I am so not into FOOD FADS. I am too frugal to shop in the organic section of the grocery store, and I despise quinoa!
I decided to try this Cleanse/Healthy eating thing NOT because I am passionate about nutrition or getting some kind of result, but more out of curiosity…
Ok, maybe SOME results would be nice..
I would love to have more energy.
It would be great to have healthier ‘cells’ , especially in my tendons and ligaments which I would prefer don’t break down anymore if at all possible.
I would love to say good riddance to my muffin top and the excess fluid on my ankles.
But none of those are very good motivators for me to change the way I do FOOD.
I love my morning coffee too much. I love my weekend popcorn with m&m’s sprinkled through it. I love all things comfort ,so FOOD comfort , especially southern style, is an EXPERIENCE that I look forward to.
I believe in EXPERIENCE. I think that’s part of what makes life grand.
But I’m wondering if FOOD has become too much of our experience.
Here is a question for you..
If the thing you are using to bring comfort turns to discomfort in the night, is it really giving you the results you were after?
I remember when I first started thinking about this, I saw a commercial from the Pioneer Women standing in the kitchen saying there is nothing she likes better than to serve her family some comfort food. That is what I have always tried to do.
It is the way of the south.
Food is part of our heritage.
( wait a minute… crap, I am losing my identity. I was born in the Midwest. Looks like my > 25 years here has tipped the scales..)
I love creating warm baked goodies that send an aroma under the cracks in their bedroom doors beckoning them to wake up. There is nothing like a warm piece of chocolate chip pumpkin bread washed down by a cup of Guatemalan coffee.
But what if my desires to please my family , bring them comfort and serve them are not really serving them? What if the things we like to indulge in move from once and awhile pleasures to daily practices …HABITS.
My first eye opener was when my third born was holding on to a little excess around her middle. Now, don’t get me wrong-it is very normal for 10 yr olds to go through this phase. They thicken just a little until their bodies start growing in height. But it was a little more than my previous two children had experienced. I never pointed it out and if she said anything I reassured her she was beautiful in every way. But I began noticing something… because she was now being raised as an only child ( her older siblings grown and out of the house) , we would often indulge in stopping to get her treats on the way home from school.
Her daddy would stop at Mapco and let her get a 32 oz. Dr Pepper when he picked her up. I would take her to Barnes and Noble to look at books and grab a bakery treat. We did these little mother daughter and father daughter dates that quickly turned into , not once in awhile outings, but weekly habits.
We also had a habit of having dessert every night. It was a thing. it was expected.
But when you add frozen yogurt in on Tuesday afternoon, sugar cookies from Starbucks on Thursdays, Dr pepper every Friday… Do you see the problem here?
It was time to take a closer look at our habits.
Were they health promoting ? or health destroying?
I may not be passionate about nutrition, but I am PASSIONATE about people thriving and people can not thrive if they are not healthy.
So it was time to take a closer look at the type of culture I was creating around food in my home.
I began educating my daughter on her body and it’s design in fourth grade, as it was time for that. One of the chapters in the book we were reading together was on taking care of your body so this led nicely into the conservation. I begin teaching her about what her body needs, looking at food as an energy source, the importance of giving our body what it needs for growth and development, and what happens when we consume more fuel than we are using. I talked about how I needed less than her, because I was no longer growing and was not moving as much as her. I shared how if I consumed more than I used my body would store the excess. Just basic science stuff.
I stopped bringing home pop and limited sweet tea purchases to once/week. When it was gone, it was gone. I talked to my husband about how we could limit the FOOD experiences to sporadic vs weekly habits and try creating different kinds of experiences with her. We were in an apartment at the time so we started taking morning walks with the dog encouraging her to dribble her basketball or allowing her to come to the fitness center with me and walk next to me while she watched a show on the overhead tv. I realized much of the over snacking was happening when we went about our business and let her stay home and watch tv… Snacking always accompanies TV. They are best friends.
My husband started inviting her to the school playground while he threw bumpers for the dog to retrieve.
Little easy things.
Do we still do Starbucks dates and bake together. You bet.
But we are trying to move away from those little indulgences mastering us through habit and learning to be masters of them.
So what was my motivator for trying to shift my habits?
What has given me the willpower to make the changes?
I think it is a couple things: my desire to FEEL better, be stronger , and not allow my physical health to get in the way of my goals and life experiences.
I want more than FOOD experiences.
I want LIFE experiences.
Connection with people.
Food is the way we have always done connection in my house. At the dinner table, going out to eat, baking together. Don’t get me wrong, all the things are HEALTHY. But maybe it was time to add a little variety.
And find a way for FOOD to not be the honored guest , but instead to start honoring the people.
I will still strive to create delicious meals for my family , but I am hoping to redefine the word delicious.
Here are a few of the things I learned during my 21 day experiment.
- I don’t need as much as I was consuming. I get full much faster now.
- I learned to listen to my body and be more in tune with what it is actually needing and craving. I was able to detect when I had too much sugar in my system from having too much fruit in the morning and not enough carbs or protein to balance it. I recognized when my body started craving something, it was asking for carbs not necessarily ice cream.
- Food started tasting better. I didn’t need as much salt anymore, and I actually enjoyed my first sweet potato with NO brown sugar or butter on it! ( This is huge! I used to be unable to take a bite without a generous dousing of sugar..)
- I learned I can function without caffeine! Who knew? I didn’t really need IT for my daily energy. What I needed was more nutrients.
- I’m still not sure about giving up my morning coffee, and there is a definite difference in flavor in decaf vs caffeinated but here is the one thing I plan to try since I’ve already done the hard work to remove the habit; I’m going to mix it up. I’m going to be the master of when I choose to have it and when I don’t. If I am out shopping and I want a Starbucks I might just get one. Some morning I may start with hot tea, some decaf , and maybe on Sundays I will have the rich stuff. At least that’s the plan… Someone hold me accountable please..
Here is your Take Away and Therapeutic Activity for the week:
FOOD is any nutritious substance that we eat or drink in order to maintain life and growth. It is our nourishment, sustenance, daily bread; provision.
Try re framing food in this way: It is not your enemy. It is a gift and needed for life and growth. Start seeing it as NOT as something you need to deprive yourself of, but something to GIVE yourself.
What do you want to give yourself?
What is the result you want from it?
And then try one small habit change. Something you know you can do. Don’t do it from a mindset,” I can’t have this.” Instead, try, “ I am choosing to GIVE myself this instead.”
..like recognizing that good ole southern SWEET TEA has a lot of sugar.
When I first stopped drinking sweet tea it was when I was thinking about the calories I was consuming as I was going into menopause and was less active. I decided I’d rather have more calories from food than use them all up in a glass of tea.. I wasn’t depriving myself of the tea, I was choosing to give myself more food.
That is the mind set we need to make these small habit shifts. We have to find our underlying motivators.
What result do I want?
I’m learning there is a lot more too it under the surface that needs to be explored.
That FOOD habits are often anchored to something much deeper.
I am soooo excited about being trained as a HEALTH and WELLNESS /LIFE COACH!
I can’t wait to keep growing in understanding of how to help not only myself but YOU learn to become aware of what is anchoring our habits.
- Did you know that 95% of our behaviors occur out of HABIT?
- Did you know that most people stay STUCK because they don’t realize that there are 3 BASIC NEEDS driving their habits?
- Did you know the BEST MEDICINE and MOST IMPORTANT INTERVENTION for your health and wellness is LIFESTYLE CHANGE?
Warning: We must be sure when talking to our children about healthy living that is less about words and more about what we are modeling. Obsession with “dieting” can be just as unhealthy as our obsession with food cravings. We also want to make sure they know they are uniquely designed and God created each of us to display His splendor. This is more about our hearts than what is around our middle. We will all walk through seasons were our bodies shift their shape. That is NORMAL. But let’s also be careful to not normalize habits that are not health promoting and mask it as “embracing who we are.”
God created us to thrive. We have an obligation as parents to provide a nurturing environment for our children. It is our responsibility to be aware of any shifts we need to make in all areas of our health: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
I invite you to join me here and let’s keep learning to WALK in WELLNESS TOGETHER!