By Dr. Shawna Darou
Women tend to be very hard on themselves with diet and nutrition, and this leads to lots of all-or-nothing diets and yo-yo weight swings. So much of this stems from the need for perfection and making a change as a form of self-punishment instead of self-care.
In my practice, I am very regularly making nutritional recommendations (i.e. giving up sugar, starting a yeast cleanse, stopping gluten or dairy), and what I find is that unless we can have a conversation about how this can be a change to nourish your life, it is not likely to stick.
Tips for making gentle nutritional changes:
1. Make it a food adventure.
Focus on nourishing yourself well, finding new recipes and thinking ahead with meal planning. When you are excited to try new things, the foods you are giving up will become much smaller in comparison, and you will end up finding new favourites.
2. Allow yourself healthy treats.
Some examples include fruit salad with cashews and walnuts, pomegranates, nuts and a little dried fruit, guacamole, toasted coconut, baked apples with cinnamon, avocado with seaweed, home-made energy balls, and cashew milk, to name a few. It’s important to maintain enjoyment with eating.
3. Make sure you’re clear about your intention for making a diet change:
For better health, energy, wellness, mental focus, clarity, mood… If your intention is in alignment, the diet changes will actually be quite easy.
4. Consider giving up trigger foods or addictive foods for the mental clarity it provides.
This can be sugar, wheat, dairy, coffee, alcohol – it’s different for all of us. For women especially, when we start eating certain foods it is very hard to stop, and finding moderation with them is difficult. Unless it is a food that you actually need, consider taking a break and seeing how it feels.
5. Remember to nourish yourself.
Pay attention to the quality of the foods you are choosing and how they feel in your body. Make sure you are eating enough good food – a healthy diet is not about restriction, but rather making good choices.
6. If you have strong cravings, pay attention to what your body is really needing.
Are you hungry? Are you bored? Do you need some form of comfort? Try to fill the actual need.
I challenge you to make a nutritional change, give up sugar, go gluten-free or whatever else that would be ultimately nourishing for your body with an attitude of gentleness. It is possible!