Eating to Feel Good
February 16, 2017
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” –Buddha
How many times have you opened the Facebook or Instagram app on your phone only to see someone’s latest #transformationtuesday post or one of your favorite celebrities latest posts about waist training as a way to get curves? It happens to me daily. I recently found myself wondering, “when did it become about how we look and not about how we feel?” And why are we all trying to achieve the same look? Our bodies are our personal and unique vehicles and just one of the many things that helps to make us individuals. Food is the fuel that allows us to use our bodies and minds in this life. And like a motorized vehicle, our bodies respond better to certain types of fuel than others.
I will be the first to admit that I LOVE junk food. Salty and savory snacks are definitely a bit more of a weakness to me than sweets. But nonetheless, I have my weaknesses. I have tried to eat strictly healthy and failed, putting me right back to eating mindlessly. What I have found works best for me is to eat healthy, minimally processed foods during the week by meal prepping for work and weeknight dinners. My weekends are for eating more indulgent snacks and meals out or at home. This seems to be the most effective form of moderation that I have found for myself. I encourage you to find the perfect balance that works best for you! The changes that follow deciding to eat more mindfully are incredible.
Some of the first changes that I noticed were physical. Within the first workweek of eating better, I noticed that a lot of my water weight fell to the wayside. Processed foods are known for being excessively packed with sodium and other preservatives. Sodium is essential for our bodies to work properly and is responsible for regulation of blood volume and blood pressure. The human body is an incredible machine and strives to keep the water stored in the body at salt water levels similar to that of the sea. When we consume extra sodium, our bodies hold on to more water to keep the water to salt ratio as close to the constant as possible (Great Youtube video here on sodium and our bodies). It’s crazy what losing a couple pounds of water weight in the tummy area will do for your self-confidence!
Feeling slightly leaner and slightly more confident were the first social changes I noticed within myself. But the changes just continued to present themselves. I noticed that my energy levels were higher than ever; I wasn’t exhausted when getting home from work anymore. I actually had the energy to do things for myself. Whether it was read a book, go for a walk, or paint, I was finally feeling enough energy to do the things that made me happy. Another major social change that I almost immediately noticed was the amount of “extra” money I all of the sudden had. Eating out at lunch adds up fast financially and with all the money I saved by prepping fresh, packed at home meals I was able to afford to plan a fun trip with friends. What would you do with an extra $200-400 a month??
A great side effect of all of the changes that I have discussed thus far was that those things also helped to improve my mood. Today a lot of eastern medicine actually prescribes food and dietary alterations as opposed to medicine to help common mood disorders, such as, anxiety and depression. As quoted in an article in the Yoga Journal, Felice Jacka, PhD, an associate professor at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Melbourne, Australia states that, “physical and mental health are part of the whole and can’t be separated.” Basically meaning that if your physical health isn’t great, then chances are; your mental health is also suffering.
Showing your body love through making mindful choices when it comes to food is a simple way to feel good in your own skin. I challenge you to try and find the balance between clean, healthy foods and not-so-good foods, that works best for you. Remember to take into account how you feel each day and try to make that the most important piece. Appearance changes should be an added bonus to feeling exuberant.