Food and nutrition have become a complex science. Over my years of reading and research, I have come across a multitude of studies, each generating their own theory and their own more or less scientific approach. From Atkins to the Zone Diet, we now have access to a staggering amount of nutrition information, sometimes conflicting. This information overload generates one major question: which approach is right for me?
We are all different: each and one of us are unique, as are our bodies. We all have different ancestry, different body types, different metabolisms. Our energetic needs are unique to each one of us. Therefore the way we eat needs to be unique. And the only person that can tell you if you are eating right is yourself. How? The key is to connect to your inner feelings, both emotionally and physically.
The first step is to recognise the way you feel after certain foods. A number of fitness experts and nutritionists have written about this subject, sometimes called Metabolic Typing. In short, some people will respond better to high-protein, low-carb meals, while others will respond better to high-carb, low-protein meals. Your body will immediately give you feedback on your meals. When you have eaten correctly, you should feel satisfied, full of energy, happy. If you have eaten an incorrect combination of nutrients, you might feel drowsy, lethargic, angry, or unsatisfied. Try different combinations of foods, and notice how you feel straight after a meal, and then again a few hours later.
The second step to better eating habits is learning to connect to your inner feelings. Indeed, we all have an inner voice, a subconscious mind, an inner guidance system called intuition. Before you even pick up a food, this inner voice will tell you if it is right for you or not. Ever had that nagging feeling just as you are about to have that second serving of potatoes? That’s what I’m talking about: that inner feeling that something is wrong. Over your years of eating, you have developed a subconscious knowledge of your body’s needs. Learn to connect to that knowledge.
The third step to eating right is to understand your own personal relationship with food. Indeed, for all of us, eating is closely linked to our psychological state, our feelings. On an extreme level, this can be seen in cases of bulimia or anorexia. On a lesser level, this is when we crave a certain food because it will help us feel better (coffee in my case!). Next time you crave a certain food, ask yourself if it is because you are hungry, or if there is any other intention behind it. Were you hungry before you saw that specific food, or did you create the craving when you saw or smelt it? Notice which types of foods you want: a hunger for sweet foods generally mean you are tired, whereas a need for savoury indicates you are thirsty and/or hungry.
Over time, eating right for your body will help you feel more positive. Indeed, if you know you are making the right food choices, you will feel great immediately after your meal, but also throughout the day. And that will have a knock on effect on other areas of your life. Negative thoughts attract negative thoughts. In the same way, positive actions and positive behaviours attract positive thoughts. Learn to “ride the wave” of positive emotions you get from eating right, and stay clear from foods that bring you down. A positive mind-set will affect your entire body, and you will feel healthier, stronger, with more energy. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, drink lots of water, don’t overeat, and aim to eat right 80% of the time. Enjoy your foods, the textures, the smells, the tastes, and appreciate the fact that you have access to such an amazing variety.
Move, Feel, Live