FORGET DIETING, Learn the art of Intuitive Eating and the benefits of loving your body.
How many of you are trying to rely on your willpower to diet? Successful? Yoyo dieting is part of your life? Fed up with all the conflicting ideas out there? Want to eat better for your health in this busy modern world, try Intuitive eating.
We are living in an age of fast, convenient and instant gratification. Gone are the days where women would spend the day prepping and cooking the family meal. As we all know most families require two parents to work, to provide the income needed to sustain a modern lifestyle. Yet with this speed and convenience we seem to have less time, wouldn’t you agree?? Less time to love and nourish ourselves. Life has become about convenience and speed. With an overload of choices and information out there it is easy to get confused and overwhelmed with it all. For some of us this has created all manner of eating disorders, diseases and other health conditions.
It is a conundrum I often ponder….. I guess I am blessed in some ways to have lived in both Nepal and Australia, I have seen both sides of the coin and often contemplate the lifestyle we’d be living if somehow we could integrate the ancient knowledge and connectedness of Nepali life with the modern conveniences and abundance of Australian life……
I won’t lie, my journey with food has been a tumultuous one. I have dieted on and off my whole life, and to be honest never really committed to a diet as it often felt so unnatural to me, and of course I always fell off the wagon, giving into the sugar cravings and social pressures. I felt I was denying myself pleasures of some kind. Through intuitive eating I had been a vegetarian for the past 2 years, recently finding myself gravitating back to free range chicken and fish, although I feel that this is a temporary state of being, I have learnt to trust my intuition about food and feel that there is a reason my body is asking for this at this time. Through a period of 10 years, I feel I am slowly getting closer to being in tune with what is best for my constitution. I have definitely improved my state of mind, and inflammatory issues that were rife in my late 20’s and early 30’s through eating intuitively, I’ve stabilised my body in many ways, neither gaining nor losing weight.
Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s I don’t think we realised at the time, how we were being influenced so much by the mainstream media when it came to food. At this time, the Food Pyramid was a big advocate for Carbs and grains, and proteins and fats were considered least important, not to mention the rise of the Super model, TV, Hollywood and fashion magazines. At the same time pre–packaged, fast food, mass agriculture and mass farming of all kinds was filling huge “super”markets with so much choice, that we all became very unconscious about food, the processes of how it got to our mouths slowly disappeared, kids forgot that milk came from cows. Gone were the days, that we needed to prepare our food. Now we could buy a packet of cereal, trust the label, pour it out of a box, add some milk from a carton and voila, breakfast served. We thought we were being healthy. Nutri-Grain was used by the Surf Life Savers right? And look at how hot they were…. Haha. Fast forward to the current era, and we have learnt so much more, one of the perks of having access to the World Wide Web and more information. However this has come at a cost too, with the knowledge we’ve gained, so has the equal amount of crap available online too, alongside social media and the immense pressure on the average citizen to be perfect, we’ve become information junkies, always searching for the quick fix, the pill to fix all ills, the ultimate diet.
This has led me to experience many different schools of thought on the subject of food and health. Combine that with a background in Fitness, Natural Health and Mindfulness I feel I have developed my own views about food and eating. Currently studying Ayurvedic Medicine (and ancient Vedic health system, dating back 6000 years, incorporating Yoga and meditation) I feel a responsibility to share my insights and what I have learned.
After reading from multiple sources about the rise in so many health issues such as obesity epidemic, type 2 diabetes and other diseases associated with food including the rise in Mental health issues, I can only conclude as the old saying goes “we are what we eat”, “food is medicine”.
If you spend time in cultures where they still grow their own food, they are aware of every purpose, food combination and its benefits to the health and wellbeing of the individual. They understand when to grow which items, because they understand the seasons. They naturally eat seasonally, they are conscious and appreciative of every morsel of food that graces their lips, because their own love, sweat and tears have gone into growing the food. They have been in communion with nature and working with Mother Earth to achieve this, so there is a natural respect, nothing is wasted and there is a feeling of satisfaction that accompanies every meal.
I had a personal experience of this in Nepal when I helped my Nepalese family plant a rice field, and later was involved in harvesting this rice field and then eating the rice we’d grown…it sounds so strange I know, but it was quite surreal considering, before this I had only eaten rice from a packet.
We have lost connection with our food, and therefore we have lost connection with what is good for us, and I would go so far as saying in some cases we have lost connection with ourselves. I do not believe we are all the same and I think you would agree, if we were, we would all be the same. We all know that annoying friend who can eat anything and not put on weight, right? And equally that friend is trying his or her heart out to put on weight and can not, understand how that is not happening, when they are eating more than you. We are not the same. I believe that this is because our genetics and DNA plays a significant role, alongside our environments. I believe our diet is connected to our evolutionary path and dependent on our ancestry. For example; My daughter was adopted from Africa, Ethiopia, she has been with us since being a baby and has grown up on the typical aussie diet and despite my constant nagging and education she, like most teens has a sugar addiction, she predominantly eats Carbs. Unfortunately for her, it means she is very well developed for her age. Maybe this was going to be her regardless, however a part of me can’t help but think, that, had she grown up in Ethiopia on a diet of predominantly fats, slow stewed meats, pulses, legumes and root vegetables that perhaps she would not be quite as big as she is. Her body would have been running on Ketosis ( fats as fuel) fuel instead.
On the flip side when my husband first tasted western foods, he thought they tasted boring and strange. He could not taste the subtle flavours, as he had been brought up eating spicy foods in Nepal, He also felt empty and unsatisfied, if he did not have rice to eat. My husband has been eating rice his whole life twice a day, including his family, and until the recent introduction of packaged foods and sugar laden products to Nepal, these people did not have weight problems. Interestingly we are all told not to eat too much rice now as it is a carbohydrate, yet 2/3rds of the world eat rice as part of their staple diet and these parts of the world do not have the obesity problem we have here. My husband was lucky enough to grow up in the scenario I outlined earlier, growing and tending to his own nutrition. So his ability to feel into his body and know what he needs and when he is actually hungry is very well developed, unlike many of us.
Most of us are so constrained by the scheduled days we lead, that we eat when its “time” not when we are necessarily hungry and on top of that, we are so spoilt for choice now that we are potentially eating foods that do not support or complement our constitution, and lets be honest it is not hard work to eat anymore, it is easy and we often eat too much. If any of you have ever battled your bodies as I have, you may understand what I am referring too, if you have had food allergies or intolerances then you would also understand. If you have had inflammatory diseases, mental health issues or other health conditions affecting your organs that seem random or hereditary, then you may need to consider what I am saying….
INTRODUCTION to INTUITIVE EATING:
First you will need to let go of the scales for a bit and focus on the bigger picture of BEING HEALTHY and in tune with your body. Focus on FEELING.
To start intuitive eating, you will need to spend some time asking your body some questions after you eat a meal.
To do this I advise, sitting in 5 minute meditation first and just focusing on each part of your body noticing how it feels, acknowledging if there feels any pain, blockages, fatigue etc. For some of you, you can simply ask the body how it feels and it will respond instantly, you will just know the answer. After this write down the responses.
Then you need to get more specific.
Start by jotting down some questions and situations where you have been upset by food. Try to think of times where you have maybe eaten something and then experienced either a health issue, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, flatulence, indigestion, rashes, dry skin or negative thoughts or felt sleepy etc. Jot this information down.
Start to notice if there is a pattern.
Next you will need to have a think about your ancestry.
Where were your parents from?
Did they grow up here in Australia? In what era?
If not where did they grow up? What about your grandparents?
Next spend time looking into the local foods for these regions. What did they grow up eating? What was available to them? And how often did they eat?
Do you eat these items? Maybe they are not available here?
If you do eat them, how do you feel afterwards?
Be mindful though that cows milk straight from a cow is very different than cows milk from the carton. Also home made butter is very different to Devondale Dairy smooth butter etc..
Once you have compiled this list, start to think about the life you lead at the moment.
Do you connect to what you are eating? Are you able to spend some time doing food Prep? Or do you buy everything packaged and ready to go? Basically is there love in the food your eating or not? Or is about convenience and speed?
Where do you buy your food from?
Do you buy it consciously selecting carefully the brands and items that match your values, or Do you buy conveniently and quickly without thinking about it?
By becoming more conscious about where your food is coming from and the processes in which it arrives at your plate, you become more connected with it naturally. You will find that you get more conscious about your eating habits and start to intuitively tune in to the food and how it feels in your body. You no longer will need to fight your WILL POWER… It will become simply a matter of is this food going to nourish me? With love and compliment my constitution?
For example, when I make myself a fresh veg juice of Beetroot, lemon, ginger, celery and carrot, it literally feels so energising as it goes down… It is like my body is singing with joy and having all those funky enzymes swimming around and knowing that beetroot, is blood cleanser makes it all the more exciting. In the same way if I eat a piece of over processed food such as a donut or fried chicken (which come to think of it I can not do anymore) my body will immediately feel stodgy, sickly and if I start to think about the process of it being created, it can make me quite depressed. So whether you are conscious of this or not, potentially what you’re eating is affecting your state of mind as well as your physical body.
Slowly over time you will find that you become more attuned to what you are eating and if you find yourself eating something that is not aligned with your vibration you will notice, that your old health issues start to play up or that your mental state is off. You will feel off path, as in your not being accountable or responsible for your health. Your body is truly the barometer of your heart and soul, it will always tell you what you need. There is a natural intelligence that exist within all of us, just like in Nature, it is guiding us, but we have to listen and learn it’s language again, as we have forgotten.
I promise that if you embrace this way of being with food, you will fall in love with your body again, it is a process, I'll be honest it is a work in progress and a decision to live more authentically with yourself and the environment around you. The benefits of living this way will undoubtedly effect you in a positive way and your family too. :) From my heart to yours.
To learn more about this topic or if you are interested in connecting with me to discuss your current journey with food, contact Kate Hanssen Bohara on 0433 376 298 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT Kate Hanssen Bohara;
Kate has been working and studying in the fields of Health, Fitness and Education for over 15 years. Starting out in the Fitness Industry and crossing over into Counselling, and Mentoring. Kate has a Diploma in Counselling, Cert III Fitness Instruction, Cert IV Training and Assessment, Adv Dip in Pranic Healing, is a Reiki Master and has taught Meditation groups and Workshops on health and wellbeing. Once or twice a year Kate and her Husband Govin run a Pilgrims Trek In Nepal, designed to reset people and bring them closer to their heart. Kate is a big believer of the 4 C's Connected, Conscious, Creative Contribution as the Key to good health and wellbeing. Kate is now the Owner of Tessas Harvest Box and hopes to bring more health and wellbeing to her customers through the sharing of knowledge and she is currently studying a Diploma in Ayurvedic Medicine.