If you’re anything like me, you think a lot about food and eating. About nutrition, health, and making good food choices. But, do you ever bring the ideas of nourishment and pleasure into this conversation? Today I’m going to show you how and why this could be a key in your journey towards healing unwanted eating behaviors (like binge eating and emotional eating), weight loss, and health.
What is nourishment?
It’s more than being full of food. It’s more than calories. It’s even more than nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
It’s a sense of feeding your inner selves. Of nurturing your mind, body, and spirit in a pleasurable and meaningful way. You could be eating the healthiest diet on the planet, but if it’s not nourishing you on a deeper level, your health and happiness will suffer.
Nourishment is different from nutrition. Imagine a baby (or a puppy, if you prefer) – you can feed them all the perfect nutrition the world has to offer, but if they are not getting play, pleasure, love, and connection, they won’t thrive.
And neither will you, if you don’t give these to yourself.
In terms of nourishment with food, food shouldn’t be a chore. Eating doesn’t have to be an interruption to your day – it can be a celebration. By celebrating the ordinary, the every day things we do, our lives become full of meanings, connections, and the ordinary is elevated to something wonderful. Which is filling on every level.
Why choose nourishment and pleasure?
Nourishment heals stress
I’ve written about this many times, but stress is a huge cause of
- emotional eating
- binge eating
- weight gain
- inability to lose weight
Basically, if you are stressed, you are in a state of sympathetic nervous system dominance. This means your resources are mobilized to fight, think fast, and run even faster. This means your bodily processes are not geared towards digestion, relaxation, or feeling good. Your body and brain, sensibly, has decided that these processes can wait until whatever is threatening you is gone.
But for so many of us, it doesn’t get ‘gone’.
The interesting (and good news for us!) thing is that we can reverse this process in a very cool way. Research suggests that if we simply focus on pleasure and nourishment, it cancels out the stress response and we can get on with our resting and digesting.
So, by purposefully nourishing ourselves and choosing to feel pleasure, we can cut down on stress. which means we can cut down on unwanted eating behavior, help our metabolism function better, and release weight.
Have you ever had the experience of being on vacation where you eat more, but are relaxed and nourished, so often maintain or even lose weight, even with more calories?
The point isn’t to quit life, go on vacation, and eat everything in sight, but that relaxing daily with our food is awesome. Taking the joy and pleasure we do while on vacation, leads to nourishment and a better relationship with food – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
If you’ve been trying to think of ways to care for yourself – this is an excellent one! Give yourself the gift of focus, time, and pleasure while eating. This is will lead to greater nourishment and the knowledge that you love yourself enough to take care of yourself on this higher level. This can be a really powerful shift, not only in your relationship with your self and body, but can result in physiological changes too.
How to nourish yourself with food
Make it fun – experiment with food. There’s no need to have diet that bores you or makes you unhappy. New foods, new places, treats, and celebrations are all wonderful ways to nourish with food.
Make a plan – A meal plan, that is. This helps take the stress out of meal time and shopping. You can plan your main meals, your snacks, and your treats – make it all something to look forward to. Here are some awesome lunch options. When you don’t have the stress of choosing (or the guilt of choosing ‘wrong’), you can enjoy your food.
Make it tasty – Do not sacrifice pleasure in the name of health or weight loss. This is a recipe for disaster. Meal times are an opportunity to show love to yourself and others. Don’t waste that by choosing flavorless options, no matter how healthy they’re supposed to be. Oh, and consider pimping your lunch 😀
Take time – Rushed or hurried eating isn’t nourishing. It’s stressful. Take as much time as you can to enjoy your food, connect with yourself, and with those around you. Turn off that screen, sit down, and just enjoy eating.
Seriously, finding and creating nourishment is such a gift to yourself. And, when you give to yourself you are also giving to those around you.
The more you fill your own cup, the more you have available to share with others.
So, how are you going to nourish yourself today?