Hey everyone. Welcome back to the Balanced Dietitian podcast. I hope that you are doing so wonderful today!
We are already at the end of May! Can you believe it? It was my birthday last week and I actually ended up taking the week off because that’s the person that I am. I like to celebrate myself for the whole week. I grew up with seven siblings, so our household was always so busy. My birthday is special to me because it’s a day that I get all to myself. I love to spend the day doing things that I like, things that nurture my soul, and things that are fun and joyful, so it was really nice to be able to disconnect last week and just take a step back for a moment.
I feel like I get all of my best inspiration when I’m out in nature and just connecting with myself. This week I just feel so inspired and excited to talk about something we discuss in the Balanced Program when we talk about the food freedom pyramid. One of the things that we’ve talked about is the idea of having a nutrition foundation. I think it’s such an important topic and I think it’s something that is kind of misunderstood when it comes to being anti-diet, so we’re diving into it on the podcast this week.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE DISCUSS:
[02:48] Myths surrounding the anti-diet
There are quite a few myths surrounding the idea of being anti-diet. When certain people hear those words they jump to the conclusion that you no longer care for your health, food is no longer important to you, or you’re anti-science and you don’t realize that food has an impact. That is just not true! Being anti-diet does not mean anti-science or anti health.
In fact, we have bodies of evidence that show us that diets do not work. Restriction does not work. Using shame as a motivator also does not work long term. Actually, the anti-diet is very pro-science.
[04:15] The importance of nutrition in the anti-diet
As a dietitian by trade, I do realize that nutrition plays a part in your overall health. We are humans living on planet earth and your human body needs quite a lot of food, every day, multiple times a day for the rest of your life. Because of this, food matters and we’re approaching it very differently!
We want to approach food not from a place of restriction and control, but from a place of trust, which is something we may need to work on and an important part of why nutrition foundation is such an important piece of rebuilding our relationship to food. Permission to eat is amazing but it’s not enough to have a good relationship with food, especially if you have had a tricky relationship with food for many years. Giving yourself permission may not actually change the beliefs, the thoughts, the emotions, or the behaviour that we have behind food.
[06:23] The step by step approach to building nutrition foundation
In my practice and with the folks that I support through the Balanced Program, we really wanna take a step by step approach to building nutrition foundation first and then adding permission to eat and knowing that all food fits after that.
So, what do we think about when we think about nutrition foundation?
The first thing is that we need to make sure that our body is getting enough energy to sustain its needs. As long as you’re not meeting your needs on a consistent basis, everything else doesn’t truly matter because, if you don’t eat enough and you feel restricted and your body feels restricted, it’s traumatic on the body!
Our physical body needs food. When we don’t have enough food and we’re not meeting our needs, our body doesn’t know what’s happening. Our body can start feeling very unsafe, and that can lead to more food cravings, food obsession, and very low energy and metabolism.
So, the first thing we need to understand is our own body.
What does your body need?
What does that need look like?
How much is enough for you?
[09:16] What is on our plate
I do believe that part of our nutrition foundation is really making sure that we are eating frequently enough and that we’re having like a variety of different nutrients on our plates, because if I’m eating things that doesn’t really satisfy me or if I’m not giving my body the different nutrients that it needs, it’s going to be a little bit harder for me to find that balance.
So now that we have looked at how much we need, the next step is learning what types of foods we need. Is there a way for me to combine foods to make it more pleasurable for me, for my digestion, or for my system?
It’s also important in this step to combine all foods. We don’t want to be restrictive or put a limit on any food. We want to include all the fun foods too! If, in our nutrition foundation, we don’t include those fun foods, chances are that we’re going to crave them and actually keep them on a pedestal in our brain.
I personally eat dessert almost every day (sometimes twice depending on how I’m feeling)! All food is fun, but I’ll have those foods that I tend to crave and there’s no condition. They are just a part of what I eat because I truly enjoy it, and then I move on with my day and nothing bad happens. That is the goal when we think of nutrition foundation and being able to mix the foods that we love, the foods that nourish our body, thinking about how we want to feel and the relationship we have with the food, and the emotion that it can bring.
[11:06] Intuitive Eating
In intuitive eating, Elyse Resch, wrote about Intuitive Eating being the perfect combination between thought, intuition and emotion. Our nutrition foundation will mix our brain hunger, our mouth hunger, our emotional hunger, and our physical hunger. We are allowing all of these pieces to fit and we are doing it in a way that’s personalized for us. I want to understand what my body needs so that I can take care of my body.
If we can mix this foundation eating enough, eating frequently enough, having a different variety, and having balance, then the rest of the work to heal your relationship with food becomes a little bit easier.
I really believe that if we can get to this piece first, or in combination with the rest of the work, it is really supportive for us.
Your nutrition foundation matters.
This is not a new set of rules for you to follow. It’s not rigid. It’s learning and adapting, and it’s very flexible. Even outside of diet culture, we still need to think about food a little bit, but it’s flexible, it’s fun, it’s light, and another big part of it is allowing emotional eating to fit in as well. A lot of us have been taught that eating for nourishment or fuel is okay, but eating for other reasons isn’t. Emotional eating is actually very normal. All humans do it, and it can be part of our nutrition foundation in a way that feels really good.
If you have any questions about Nutrition Foundation, I would love to talk about it with you. This is part of what I really love about my work; mixing nutrition science with knowing how to take care of our bodies. Oftentimes that’s a lot more food than what we think and I’m here to support you through that.
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