Nourish Your Mind
So I’ve opened this discussion by talking in the other blog post about strengthening your body… Now it’s time to tackle the other component of wellness… Nourishing your mind. Frequently when talking with clients and others about making a change in their eating habits, we discuss how going to the gym, doing 30 minutes of outdoor cardio, or having a personal training session is really the easy part. It is what one does the other 23 or so hours within a day in relation to what they eat, that is typically the hardest part in achieving complete wellness.
For some, the number of changes that need to be made in their eating can be overwhelming and also confusing simply in terms of where to even start. But coming up with a program and a plan to make those changes in appropriate, progressive steps can garner greater success. It isn’t a one size fits all program. What is successful for one many not be as successful for another- Just as it is with programming strength and cardio training as discussed in Strengthen Your Body.
For some, they may eat pretty healthy for the most part, but still need to make a few tweaks to help them achieve the goals they have set and been unable to achieve. It may be just having someone with a nutrition certification or a dietitian look at an overview of their current eating regimen to suggest a few points for improvement. For example, for someone who wants to gain mass, they need to make sure there is sufficient intake of protein and carbs based on their body weight.
As much as actual eating is nourishing the body, a lot of the permanent changes in one’s diet has to do more with training the brain. Therefore, Nourish Your Mind is coaching the brain on how to rethink its past eating patterns and understand what is best for it to perform at its optimum in order to be the healthiest.
Whether we realize it or not, we train our body to desire and not desire certain foods. Unfortunately it is rather easy for the body to crave the more unhealthy stuff, versus the healthy. Rest assured- those habits can be changed!
I have had so many clients tell me, “I just don’t think I could live without X!” I was one of those. I thought there was no way I could live without peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with cheese puffs and milk. I KNOW… Talk about one of the worst meals one could have. I loved it. I craved it. I couldn’t wait until I got home after the gym and play date session with my daughter to have it. But as I began to understand how nutritionally poor that meal was and how it worked against me with my goals of weight loss, I made the commitment to have something different instead, and over time, I no longer had a desire to have it. It was a struggle at first. I had to train my brain not to want it but now, I can’t even conceive of putting it in my body. The thoughts of having it is distasteful, and as kids and some of us would say, “Yuck!”
The process of training the mind to look at food differently is not simply referring to seeing food as fuel or eat to live versus live to eat. It is about:
1. Knowing how to portion your food for each meal. Is this a complete meal? Do I have the best portion of protein, carbs, and fats in this meal for my goals? For example, men should have at least about two fist size of vegetables each meal and women should have at least about one fist size of vegetable each meal.
2. Looking at food as, what value does this food have for me and my overall health. The desire for unhealthy things can decrease as: 1) We see that food as being not of any VALUE for us and 2) The more we stay away from it, the better our bodies feel. For example, french fries taste great, but really offer no nutritional benefit, high in calories due to the fat they are fried in, and leave a person feeling bloated, and regretful.
3. Picking the better option over a desired but less ideal option. There is a lot of confusion in this. What are good carbs, good protein, and good fat? Education is key to working toward constant progress, not perfection. For example, when craving a sweet treat like a candy bar, pick a Kind bar instead. Kind bars have basic ingredients, contain good protein and good fat from the nuts, and you still get a sweet fix from its low sugar content.
So overall even though your body is physically needing the nutrients food provides, it is your mind that needs to be nourished and trained on how to view and understand food. Of course, it takes a bit for the body to accept the new foods you are giving as good. The more you eat healthier, the more you will want to eat healthier. You will also then crave the good stuff and desire the unhealthy ones less. It isn’t easy, and yes, it is a struggle, which is why a plan is so important to help keep you on track.
My goal as a nutritional coach is to help people learn how to make better choices so that their change towards better eating habits isn’t just a temporary phase, but a permanent, sustainable one for a healthy, whole life. Ultimately, we should feel good about the food we eat, understand the effects it has on our bodies, and be a living example for others.
Overcoming food battles can Empower the Soul. Please let me know if I can assist you in Nourishing Your Mind so you can be as strong as you can be for yourself and others.
To your good health,