How to fashion an eating style that works for YOU
- Mel’s weekly food pick:
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Earthy Turkey Chia Chili (crockpot)
In the last post, I offered my brutal thoughts on weight loss and the sheer impossibility of your body to physically release weight when your mind is tangled in a dysfunctional relationship with food.
Today’s post is meant for those of you who are doing “the work” and getting better each day at listening to and trusting your body. You are now in a place to learn how to go about fashioning an eating style that is as unique as you.
If you’re not quite there yet, I strongly suggest you go back to the beginning of this series (start HERE…then go HERE) and learn what it really takes to set your mind free. Otherwise you’ll just keep on chasing your tail like a silly puppy.
Now let’s talk about food.
It matters what you eat. Of course it does! I went to college for seven years (yes, I took the scenic route) and studied the art of eating because I knew how much it mattered.
Eating is an art, isn’t it? It’s a different experience for everyone. What turns me on may not excite you (i.e. roasted Brussels sprouts with sea salt and pepper) and furthermore, may not agree with your particular body.
For example: I could eat raw leafy greens till the cows come home and my digestive system will get to work breaking down and absorbing all of the vitamins and minerals with ease. On the other hand, I know of one individual in particular, whose fanny would be glued to the toilet all evening if they consumed even the smallest salad at dinner.
Yes, we are all unique and there is no universal meal plan in the sky that is right for everyone.
Of course there are a few obvious rules that apply to almost everyone classifying with the human race:
- Eat more Earthfoods (i.e. veggies, fruits, herbs, spices, etc.)
- Eat less processed food and sugar
- Drink plenty of water
I find when most people at least start here and improve upon these three staples, their energy level, health, mood, and digestive system all improve exponentially.
But what if you follow these rules and your health and weight still aren’t where you want them to be? In this case, you need to practice a little refinement. And here’s where it gets fun!
I can hear you now: Fun?! Are you crazy Melanie? Imposing a bunch of rules about what I can and can’t eat isn’t my idea of fun.
Stay with me here for a minute my little chickadee.
You’ve got the basics down and are following them like a good student: more veggies; less sugar/processed food; plenty of H2O. Check, check, and check. As you move towards tweaking your food choices and ingredients within this basic framework (we’ll get to this in a minute), you must remember one critical rule:
No food is forbidden.
Yes, you heard me talk about this before and that’s because I am so adamant about it. I even dedicated an entire Missing Peace to it in my new book.
Listen, the number one reason food has so much control over so many people is that we as a society enter into our eating experience with a subconscious radio station playing quietly in the background of our mind. And it goes a little something like this:
- You really shouldn’t be eating this!
- Do you know how many calories are in that slice of pizza? Not to mention how many miles you’re going to have to walk to burn it off?
- What are you doing? Are you crazy? Your doctor told you to stay away from that food.
- Oh screw it! You’re worth it. Go ahead and be bad for once.
Buried in each and every one of these messages is the inherent belief that food is powerful. And with that power comes the ability to hijack your mind.
But here’s the thing…food didn’t start out as powerful. YOU are the one who gave it power…all of your power!
Take a journey back to the earliest birthday you can remember. For me, that would be my fifth birthday. Now I don’t know about you, but I can tell you this with absolute certainty: I didn’t give a rat’s fat patootie how many calories or sugar grams were in that cake! I didn’t even know what a calorie was. All I knew was that chocolate cake was delicious and I wanted a piece. And after eating most of the frosting and leaving 75% of the cake, I moved on to opening presents. Cake? What cake?
My point is, we ALL controlled the cake when we were young. We had the power, evidenced by most of the cake sitting leftover on the plate. Food only crept into authority as we got older. And we are 100% responsible for this transfer of power.
So let’s take back our power right here and now by adopting a no-food-is-forbidden mindset. But in order for this to work—and not backfire—you must really believe it deep in your soul.
Now that all foods are allowed, you can get to work on fashioning an eating style that works for you with total freedom. Because now that you can have anything you want, you hold all of the power and can choose freely.
And that my lovely, is what I call fun!
Mel’s personal eating style guide:
Over the years I’ve adopted an eating style that works very well for me. When I’m wearing this particular style I feel good: lots of energy, not deprived, great mood (most of the time), impeccable digestion, clear brain, and oh yeah…as a side effect, my clothes just happened to fit nicely too. Not too tight or loose.
But it’s not all broccoli and Brussels sprouts! Fun and imperfections are deliberately built into this style too. Take a look at the accessories of my personal eating style guide:
- Lots of veggies every day: at least a serving or two of greens; a plethora of non-starchy vegetables; starchy veggies a couple times a week (mostly sweet potatoes and squash).
- A serving or two of fruit every day: mostly berries and apples, because I love them.
- Peace of Health shake almost every day.
- Minimal grains: If I eat them I stick to gluten-free grains like quinoa and gluten-free oats.
- Sea salt, pepper, herbs and spices to season my food.
- A glass of wine or vodka martini (with fresh lime juice) once or twice a week.
- Moderate in seafood and animal protein: an egg almost every day; fish about three to four times a week; hormone/antibiotic-free meats a few times each week.
- Rich in healthy fat like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
- A handful or two (and sometimes three or four) of corn tortilla chips, coconut oil potato chips, or my new favorite coconut flour tortilla chips every day.
- Light in full-fat dairy: a little full-fat cheese most days of the week; an ounce or so of full-fat kefir added to my shake; very occasional full-fat yogurt. If I use butter, I use REAL butter…not that fake chemical-laden crap. Did I mention I choose FULL-FAT dairy? 🙂
- About 70-80 ounces of water each day: includes 24 ounces of lemon water when I first wake up, about 20 ounces of black coffee (I would marry it if I could!); 24 ounces of plain hot green tea; around 12 ounces of plain water. And yes…I pee like a racehorse about 17-dozen times in a 24-hour period 🙂 !
- An ounce or so of 70% or higher dark chocolate every day.
- An occasional hot-fudge sundae or Jack Frost donut (I’m very picky about my donuts!), or REAL dessert (i.e. not fruit!) when dining out.
Notice, none of the above mentioned anything about not eating a particular food or class of foods. And that is for the obvious reasons outlined earlier in the post. Even if you’re making the best food choices, you still won’t be in control of food if you’re thinking about all of the things you can’t have. That’s food prison.
Permission-based eating is all about choice.
I stay away from gluten for the most part. But it’s not because I can’t have it…I just choose not to. Do you see the difference?
How to fashion your own eating style guide:
To fashion your own eating style guide, start with five accessories. Here are some guidelines to help you:
- Don’t list foods or classes of foods that you will NOT eat, rather only include those foods you will.
- Be sure to mix in a little fun (see #6, #9, and #13 above).
- Challenge yourself to up your game. For example, if you don’t eat veggies because you “hate” them, it’s because you aren’t eating them on a daily basis. Roast up some Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes or eat a leafy green salad every day and make it fun by adding fresh fruit, toasted nuts, and a sprinkle of cheese. The only way you will grow is by stretching yourself!
- Commit to drinking a certain amount of water (and make one serving lemon water!).
Once you’ve got your five, write them down and commit to practicing them for one full week. Then add a couple more “accessories” to the list and practice for another week. Keep doing this as long as you are inspired and having fun! If it feels like a diet…STOP!
If you need help, send me an email and I would be happy to guide you along in setting up the first five accessories of your personal eating style guide!
I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for you my friend. Thank you for inviting me into your life and letting me share my passion. All of this is for YOU!
Thank you for being YOU… xoxo
Mel’s weekly food pick:
Do you remember those silly commercials years ago featuring the chia pet? You know, those terracotta figurines shaped like animals that grew sprouts similar to alfalfa? Fast forward to today and it turns out those seeds—called none other than chia seeds—are actually little nutrition powerhouses!
They are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids (an even better source than flaxseeds). They have a mild, nutty flavor and can be added to cranberry sauce, smoothies, hot cereal, yogurt, nut butter, and even incorporated into cookies, energy bars, muffins, soups, chili, and vegetable, rice, or quinoa-based dishes.
How will eating chia seeds benefit you? Omega-3 fatty acids are important for a healthy brain and heart, and fiber is essential for a healthy digestive track and blood sugar control. Add to that the high antioxidant level of chia seeds, which can help protect you from certain cancers!
Oh…one more thing– when added to liquid, chia seeds form a fibrous gel that can help you feel full longer.
Chia seeds are the secret ingredient in this week’s recipe: Earthy Turkey Chia Chili!