As we settle into this strange time of social distancing, many of us are finding our relationship with food challenged on so many levels. You may be struggling with how to truly nourish your body – what to eat, how much, and how to get creative with what is available and affordable. We need good nourishment more than ever, but why is it so important?
- Gentleness on ourselves and our bodies helps us weather the stresses of our current situation
- Eating regular meals helps us avoid getting too hungry and overeating.
- Regular meals also help our body trust that it will be nourished so that it can use calories instead of storing them.
- Feeling satisfied with meals avoids eating when bored or stressed.
- Keeping it simple (and affordable) means meals are supportive
- Regular walks, especially after meals, charge our metabolism, aid digestion, increase motivation and so much more.
This is the time for nourishment not punishment.
So, what does Nourish Your Body really mean?
When you look at the relationship you’ve had with your body throughout your life, how has it been?
How have your beliefs about diet and exercise influenced your actions? Have you loved and nourished your body?
Has it been a contentious relationship that looks more like depriving and punishing yourself to lose weight or “get in shape”?
Do guilt, shame, and blame lead the way?
Have you been caught in the trap of a single approach to health with an “if only” stance. If only I get my “food” or “exercise” or “meditation” right then I’ll finally be successful?
Unfortunately, punishing your body generally leads to shame and self-doubt. It also leads your body to fight you every step of the way. Your body needs to be able to trust that you will provide consistent, nourishing food, rest, and gentleness in big enough quantities to meet your energy needs.
If calorie restriction and overexercise have been your only attempt at a healthy lifestyle, then your body will not be able to function at its highest level. This kind of lifestyle leads to burnout, weight fluctuations, fatigue, and an overall lower sense of well-being.
Ways You’ve Been Punishing Your Body:
- Leading a high stress life without practicing mindful stress reduction
- Overexercising as a way to force your body to burn calories
- Restrictive dieting that denies your body necessary nutrients and leaves you unsatisfied
- Not maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, or consistently getting too little sleep
- Eating foods that elevate your body’s insulin response and lead to blood sugar spikes
These are all common habits and they’re difficult to break once you’ve been practicing them for many years. But they’re also detrimental to your overall health. After a lifetime of living this way, our bodies go into survival mode. It may seem like no matter how much we exercise or how restrictive we are with our calorie intake, we just can’t seem to lose weight (we might even be gaining weight). So what’s really going on?
Your Body Needs To Trust You
After years of abusing and neglecting your body, it loses the ability to trust you to nourish it. Your body holds on to every bit of energy (fat, calories) that it can in order to be sure that it will have enough energy to keep you alive and active. It isn’t nourished, so you lack energy. It doesn’t know when you will provide it with adequate fuel, so it hoards whatever you eat.
This may sound silly, like your body has a mind of its own. But the truth is, your body’s only goal is to keep you alive. It doesn’t care about beauty standards or modern trends. Your body doesn’t even know that most of us live just a short distance from a produce section. It does what it needs to in order to stay upright and functioning, even if it’s functioning far below optimum levels.
How To Stop The Cycle
The first step is to acknowledge that you’ve been depriving your body. Over the last four decades, “common knowledge” tells people that restrictive diets are the only way to maintain healthy weight loss, despite all evidence to the contrary. Our goal at AH is to help people retrain their fat cells to relax instead of holding on to every spare bit of energy. This takes time. It means letting go of “eat less, move more” and embracing the concept we call “eat enough, move enough”.
Phase 1 of the Always Hungry Solution is specifically designed to get your body out starvation mode. That’s why we encourage our readers to take these two weeks seriously. Fully let go of all processed grains, alcohol, sweeteners (even artificial sweeteners or stevia), potatoes, and refined carbohydrates. At the same time, welcome in slow carbs like whole, non-tropical fruit, beans, and plenty of non-starchy veggies.
At the start of Phase 1, your body has not developed trust in you yet and may still be holding on to all of the calories you consume. You may also feel a little sluggish as your body adjusts from running on sugar and refined starches to running on the more efficient fuel from fats and proper nutrition. You might even need to let vigorous activity take a backseat while your body adjusts. Give yourself time. Your body is healing. It will start to settle down once you provide consistent nourishment by consuming a diet rich in foods your body needs. (Mainly fat, with about 4 to 6 ounces of protein per meal and slow carbohydrate).
If you feel you didn’t take full advantage of Phase 1, you might consider a Phase 1 Reboot.
A Healthy Outlook
The Always Hungry Solution isn’t a fad diet or a quick fix. It’s a lifestyle that requires you to develop a whole new relationship with food and with yourself. We want you to move from punishing your body to treating it with gentleness in order to create a trusting relationship with your whole being. When faced with choices, we like to ask ourselves: Is this nourishing me? It’s a simple way to check in with your body and be sure you’re making the most health supportive decisions.
We often tell people that weight loss is a healthy side effect of following our program. That tends to be something people have to experience for themselves before they fully understand it, but you’ll get there. The benefits of AH are far greater than the numbers on the scale. By reframing the way you think of food and exercise, you begin seeing positive changes in many areas of your life. Most people experience a large increase in their daily energy levels, easier and better sleep, decreased insulin resistance, decreased sugar cravings, more stable mood, and many other non-scale victories.
– Dawn Ludwig
What nourishing choices have you made today? Let us know in the comments!