Secret to Eating Guilt Free

  • Secret to Eating Guilt Free

    BY Catherine Sissons | ON Thursday, 19 October 2017
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    Where does guilt come from?

    The busier life gets, the more we try and fit in. We create greater expectation on ourselves to get more done every day. Technology has enabled us to do more so we try to fit even more into our day and this can directly impact our stress.  There is a perception in the health and wellness industry that we need to make perfect food choices to get the body we want, however, we only end up failing every time. It is not sustainable in the modern era. The simple answer is lifestyle change but for many this is not feasible so instead the only solution is to focus on what you can do and nourish around your lifestyle. The diet industry is to blame for making it impossible to obtain and sustain a realistic healthy body. It has become a multibillion dollar industry that has been grown by reinforcing your lack of self-esteem by setting you up for failure with your healthy eating every time.

    Are you a good or bad eater?

    People believe they should always choose the healthy option but this is not always what we would like to do.  I call myself the real life nutritionist because I am human and like to eat all food and don't govern my day by eating 'clean' or 'well'.  Of course there are limitations to everything but it is getting to know what your limitations are that is the key to long term wellness.  In my consulting experience over the past 10 or so years, I have seen every scenario you can imagine and helped that person find a way to get around it. People believe that they are bad if they eat the cake they didn't want or gave in to the sweets in the afternoon. Food choice does not define a person's personality but the diet industry and comparisons that people make to others dents their self-esteem and it then causes the person to feel like they are not doing enough, losing enough weight or that they don't have enough will power. 

    Generally speaking everyone eats well when they are conscious of what they are eating. "Cheat days" are a term set up by some diets that allow people to eat unconsciously for a day with no awareness but free range grazing throughout the day. In my opinion, this is more damaging long term and creates the ON/OFF approach we see with diets today. Women already feel they are not enough before they look at what they eat. The expectation of being perfect with your eating needs to stop - RIGHT NOW. Food is fuel and it is more important to know what you like, why you like it and how to include it without the unhealthy consequences.

    The great news is you can have your cake (or wine/chocolate or other guilty food pleasure) without it taking its toll on your health and wellness when you know how.  Some people, of course, will need to be more disciplined with their eating than others if the damage is already done. People that fall into this category include anyone with an inflammatory digestive complication such as a REAL food intolerance or diagnosed gut issue.

    Others that need to be more mindful about their eating are people with a clinical case such as diabetes, elevated cholesterol or REAL body weight issue.  I hear so often that a client wants to lose weight. Eating well and personalising your eating to your lifestyle is different than doing a weight loss programme. The benefits of learning how to eat, why you like what you eat and how to include all the food you love if your digestive system will allow it will consequently lead to the results you want in the beginning.  

    Why is 'clean eating' unrealistic long term?

    Lifestyle almost always gets in the way of eating clean. Firstly, to explain clean eating is to 'stick' to certain food groups and eat in a structured way so that you only eat whole foods all of the time. It often means your food or meals have no flavour added to them. Eating is subjective so everyone has their different beliefs when it comes to the 'right' way of eating. It is important to find a way that works for you and that you can sustain for life. It needs to satisfy the senses as well as satisfy you physically (for your height, weight, gender, age and lifestyle) as well as satisfy your blood sugars so that they stay stable. There is no right or wrong way of eating.  It needs to be personalised and balanced for what you need and to work around your lifestyle.

    What is the Number One key to eating guilt free?

    In a word - satisfaction. Taste is the key to satisfying your sensory section of your brain. The relationship you have with your food is programmed in the same part of your brain that controls your food and water intake. When you feel hungry, you could actually just be thirsty or dehydrated.  Getting your water through your food is a more efficient way of hydrating you before you need it rather than playing catch up when you are thirsty. You have a feedback loop that controls how your water is absorbed so if you feel thirsty and drink lots of water then your body will regulate this by causing you to visit the bathroom more often. Drinking water needs to compliment a balanced way of eating the foods that will hydrate you.

    If you have a negative relationship with food then your subconscious will keep these beliefs on repeat.  Until you are ready to become conscious about your eating and are okay with looking into your behaviour associated with food your pattern will keep repeating. Your subconscious is like a thermostat and this is why diets will never work for you long term even if you work hard to reprogramme your lifestyle.  The only way of changing your patterns is becoming aware of them and understanding where they come from.  This is not an easy path to choose however it is the only way to find a way of nourishing your lifestyle permanently and eating guilt free.

    Where is the best place to start to stabilise your blood sugars?

    The rate at which your food is digested and absorbed will determine how stable your blood sugars are throughout the day.  The rate at which your food is digested and absorbed will depend on the glycemic impact of the meal you are eating. You may have heard of glycemic index however it is the glycemic impact that will determine how satisfied your body will be. Glycemic impact is the time it takes for yoru blood sugars to return to normal. The longer it takes the more satisfied you will be.  When you combine carbohydrates with a quality source of protein, mixture of produce (fruit or vegetables) and flavour for your senses you create satisfaction mentally, physically and biochemically.

    The only way this will not work long term if there are residual beliefs around your eating that you need to get conscious about or if you are stressed. When you are stressed your body fuels itself on a different operating system and this can result in looking for instant energy food for satisfaction.

    In my book "Wet Your Appetite" - The Secret to Eating Guilt Free Permanently -- I have outlined the food groups and how to bring them together for ultimate satisfaction at your meal times. These will differentiate depending on what type of day you are having and if you are including dining out, buying your lunch, eating at your friend's place, weekend eating, buying takeaways, eating morning or afternoon and pre dinner drinks or nibbles as well as other scenarios.

    Other lifestyle factors that will also require balancing on top of these include any food intolerances, stress, digestive issues and preexisting health history.  One size does not fit all and it is important to get your own personalised approach to eating that will work for nourishing your lifestyle permanently. 

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