If you open up any magazine or newspaper, watch any news or television programs, or scroll through any social media sites, you may have noticed that you're being constantly bombarded with advertisements and information about the latest health trends, new diets, and scientific breakthroughs. And all of these have one major focus- weight loss.
These clever marketing messages being portrayed through the media generally all use the same approach; they’re fear-based messages, aimed to make you feel like you aren’t good enough just as you are, so you convince yourself that buying their products will make you happier and turn you into the person you're longing to be.
This, of course, isn’t true! Everyone is enough, just as they are right now, and although some of us may want or need to change some habits to improve our health and wellbeing, it’s so important to be happy with who you are right now, instead of waiting for the ‘future version of you’ or future events to bring you happiness!
Self-Doubt and Confusion
There is an overabundance of information available out there, a lot of which is really conflicting, so it can be confusing to know who to trust or believe. While some of the current health food trends do have a lot of merit and benefits to them, from my point of view, being too strict about what foods you can and can’t eat, or eliminating whole food groups just makes life a whole lot harder and more miserable!
I’ve personally been through this struggle, and know how it feels to have your whole life be consumed by stressing over what I “should” or “shouldn’t” be eating, and hating myself after eating something “bad”. We get so caught up in worrying about what the “right” thing to do is, or about what others will think of us and how we appear to them, so we are constantly on high alert. Our poor bodies and minds become overwhelmed and exhausted, and the guilt and stress we subject ourselves to is actually more damaging than eating the “bad” food in the first place!
Being obsessed about food and your body, and trying to be “healthy" to the point that it takes over your life and makes you feel terrible is not healthy at all and robs you of reaching happiness and contentment in your life. Putting labels on yourself or the type of diet you follow just makes it so much harder to stick to, as you’re depriving yourself- not only of food, but of self-acceptance and self-love as well. Deep down you’re sending a message to yourself, saying you’re not good enough and not worthy of having what you really want, which leads to self-sabotage, just when you think you’re doing well, and you end up bingeing once your “diet” is over.
Are you choosing the foods you're eating because they make you feel good and improve the quality of your life, or are you choosing them because that’s what society tells you to do, and you think they’ll help make you look better or be skinnier? Think about it this way: are you relaxed and going with the flow, or are you fighting against something?
Forcing and pressuring yourself to eat certain things or cut out particular foods is really hard, and it will only take you longer to achieve your goals in the long run. For example, counting calories or meticulously weighing and measuring everything you eat is ridiculous when you really think about it, and is a form of forceful nutrition- there is no ease or flow to this way of eating- it’s definitely not fun, it’s exhausting, time-consuming and drains so much of your valuable energy.
If you approach eating with a relaxed attitude of ease and flow, enjoying the process of preparing your food and being in a positive frame of mind while you’re eating, the way your body utilises the food will completely change as a whole different range of hormones and chemicals will be released within your body instead.
Guess What, We’re all Different!
There's so many generalised statements out there, telling us we must eat specific amounts of nutrients each day, we must limit ourselves to a certain amount of calories, or we must avoid particular foods because they are linked to causing diseases. While some of this information may be helpful and true for some, the reality is that there is no 'one-size-fits-all’ diet.
Each and every one of us are unique individuals; different foods affect different people in different ways, so what works for one person may not work for another. No one else has the exact same lifestyle as you do, and various dynamics, such as our age, gender, ethnic background, where we live, how active we are, our levels of stress, and our mental health, all come into play and affect how we metabolise and utilise foods in our bodies.
Follow on here for Part 2, where I share tips and ideas on how to approach a new way of thinking about food...
This post was researched and written with love by our Marketing Communications Hero, Heidi Brockmann.
Heidi is a Sydney babe who's recently moved to Melbs, to join the KOJA team! She is very passionate about holistic health and inspiring others to live natural lifestyles. Her interest in the connection between our physical body and our emotional health lead her to study BodyMind Nutrition. She is currently training to become a Life Coach, Holistic Counsellor and Complementary Therapist.
Note: Images sourced from 'Two Red Bowls' and 'Free People'