It’s not that hard to be healthy, to find balance in the way we eat, move, and care for ourselves that best serves body and mind.
This is one of the most healing, reassuring lessons I learned from a nutritionist back in college. And since then I’ve studied, researched and read about the how and why, embodied it in my own life, and have taught it to and seen it take shape in that of my clients’!
But we’re a society of “doers”. We’re not comfortable with ambiguity, and we like to solve problems. As Pauline Boss said when interviewed in the podcast On Being, “we come from a culture of Mastery orientation.”
When we gain weight, are struggling with disordered eating and body dissatisfaction, or we’re blindly navigating the hormonal and emotional shifts of menopause, we tend to lose our shit. Only natural, we’re human. But we freak because the mystery and ambiguity of what went wrong and HOW exactly we’ll heal makes us feel helpless and uncomfortable.
So, we try lots of different things in hopes that something sticks. We cut out gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, drink celery juice (or whatever the latest juice craze is), and hit the gym every.single.day. Actions that make us feel like we’re doing something about our problem but aren’t necessarily tailored to fit our own needs. We make it more complicated than it needs to be by working from the top down rather than the inside-out.
How, then, do we simplify this act of achieving health and balance?
We get back to the basics of how to construct a nourishing and satisfying plate, without the noise of wellness/diet culture telling us what we should and should not eat.
We learn essentials of HOW to eat (e.g. learning about our eating personality, discovering how to create a calm eating environment, the importance of chewing, power of the PAUSE, etc).
We acquire a few straightforward strategies for mindfulness and body awareness so that our choices are aligned with the current state of our own physical and emotional body.
We apply emotional intelligence to our food life. Dr. Susan Albers calls it Eating Intelligence.
Complicated? No, because this inside-out approach brings clarity, not confusion. Does it take some focus and attention? Sure, like anything valuable in life. But this way is less about pushing, willing, forcing -- ultimately an unhappy and unsustainable way to live! And more about attuning, tweaking, baby stepping, and allowing; gentle shifts in daily life that actually move the needle when it comes to how we feel in and about our body.