Do you ever look at those fit women and think, ‘How do they do it?’
After having my second child nearly 5 weeks early in 2015, I really struggled to bounce back. All of my old anxieties came back and I knew something needed to change. I was 3 stone overweight and I would look at all of these awesome, fit women and think ‘why can’t I be like that?’ So I started researching nutrition and I got a little obsessed!
Ever feel overwhelmed by information?
I know I did! There are so many people out there telling you what to eat and what not to eat. There are some absolutely awesome role models out there who have a huge amount of expertise but there are also a lot out there who just want to offer you a quick fix. After buckets of research and completing my own diploma in nutrition, I have learnt to appreciate that nutrition is too important to be just used as a tool to lose weight. It shouldn’t be about restriction but fueling. Fueling your body with rich, highly nutritious food which sustains not just your body on a physical level but an emotional and mental one too.
Well what should I eat?
There is no right answer to this as wait for it, we are all different. Yes I know it might feel like a cop out but it really is true. We know the basics. We should eat a balanced diet of protein, fats and carbohydrates and while this still stands true, there is so much more to it. I urge you, however, from the bottom of my heart, to be aware of fads. By this I mean, any diet which restricts certain food groups or encourages us to look at food as ‘bad’ and ‘good’. Our body doesn’t look at a cheese burger and think ‘oh! bad food incoming’, it just takes whatever nutrients it can from it. We attach the emotion to the food and boy can it be powerful! If we think we are eating ‘good’ foods, we can feel on top of the world. If we think we are eating ‘bad’ foods, we can end up carrying around a sense of guilt and failure.
Get in touch with your body
So back to my original question, do you know what the healthiest and fittest people have in common? Here it is…they have learnt to listen to their body! How simple is that?! You are the only person on this planet who knows your body the best so get back in touch with her. This is simple but not easy as so many of us have given our power to other people. TAKE IT BACK! I found the easiest way to do this is in the form of a food journal. First of all, keep eating the foods you normally do and write down how you feel after each meal and then at the end of the day. Then start to introduce different, more nutritious foods in to your diet and note down how you feel after each meal. Find a copy of my journal here for you to use. If you are still confused on which foods to try and introduce, I have listed some of the websites and people who have really helped guide me to a better relationship with food at the end of this post.
Why is a food journal an important place to start?
There is no one diet for everyone. What works for one person may not work for you. Personally, for example, I get ‘shaky’ (for those who are not sure what I mean, I will explain it as feeling anxious, like my whole body has had a caffeine boost but I haven’t had any) when I haven’t had any complex carbohydrates. These are not the sugary treats like biscuits but foods such as:
There is a scientific reason behind this. Carbohydrates, like I have listed above, can increase the amount of serotonin in your brain which in turn can help you to feel calmer. I make sure I have them at the start of the day and around any workouts I may do.
As I said this is for me personally and you may find it helps you in some way, especially if you are an anxious person or you may discover something completely different.
‘Good’ vs ‘Bad’
We used a similar technique for my son as he kept getting sick at night. We finally discovered it was due to him eating apples in the afternoon or evenings. He is fine if he eats them in the morning but if eaten later in the day, he has terrible stomach ache. Apples are a great way of getting more fibre and vitamins into your diet but for some people, they have adverse effects. Apples are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they are fuel and like anything, they get used better by some bodies than others.
What about chocolate?
Well I couldn’t miss an opportunity to talk about chocolate?! Again, how much emotion do we attach to chocolate? I personally love the stuff and the darker the better. The health benefits are awesome. It provides minerals including iron and contains antioxidants as well as helping you to feel relaxed and its delicious! Enough said on the benefits! For some people, however, it can cause headaches and other negative side effects and is better avoided. Again not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, simply fuel. This doesn’t mean, however, that it cannot be enjoyed!
Variety is the spice of life!
Now that you have a better idea of the effects of the food you are eating, it is time to start loving your food! Experiment with colour and different types of food. Never cooked celeriac before? Have a go and see what you think. If you know that you feel fuller after eating fat then research recipes which use healthy fats! Just remember to vary it so you are not eating it for every meal. Moderation is key here. You may still feel a little bit lost in terms of eating a variety of different foods so I have included this short list of websites which have awesome balanced recipes. BUT remember, these are just ideas so check in with your body after eating them to see how you are feeling.
This lady is awesome in her holistic approach to both nutrition and exercise. I first discovered her in 2015 with her 30 day challenge. If you scroll down, you will see a tab entitled ‘nutrition’. Search through this for recipes!
An amazing duo who have shared their recipes and brought you The Spiralizer!
I have my whole family addicted to some of his recipes. I love his books too!
I love the variety of the food and the pictures are amazing!
I love her attitude towards cooking and the her trial and error approach
This woman is just awesome and has so many nutritious recipes which are good for you.
Find the joy of food and enjoy how it can change your body and your life experiences for the better
Have any recipes to share? comment below and let me know why you love them