From the hospital to the gym and my private practice, I’ve worked with a LOT of clients and something that often comes up is the loss of focus on long term goals when highly palatable, high calorie, low nutrient food is placed in front of them. Whether it’s alcohol, a giant burger & fries, pizza, etc. they seem to forget the reason why they started to focus more energy on eating healthier. Instead of feeling empowered to choose healthier food, they feel powerless.
While I am all for choosing what you want to eat by means of mindful and intuitive eating, one principle of intuitive eating is to choose healthy foods to honor your body. Sometimes intuitive eating is misunderstood to mean, “Eat whatever you want, whenever you want’, but that’s only part of the story.
It may be beneficial to shift focus on how your next meal will fuel your body immediately. While that double cheeseburger and fries might sound good, it might be helpful to ask yourself, “How will I feel after eating this?” What are the immediate benefits you will receive? Instead of feeling sluggish, groggy, bloated, and possibly uncomfortable from being overly stuffed, you may feel more energized and alert if something healthier was chosen. Choosing healthier foods in healthy portions can give you some pretty cool immediate benefits like:
- Consistent energy throughout the day (i.e. no sugar crashes)
- Increased focus
- Better mood
- Increased performance (at work and in the gym)
- Increased self-love
- Better sleep
- Increased confidence
With all these possible immediate benefits, it makes it a little bit easier to choose foods to fuel you and promote self-love.
Shifting your thinking into immediate benefits versus long-term is just part of the puzzle to having a body and life you love. While it's not always beneficial to seek immediate benefits in other areas of our life, we may find some benefit in healthy eating. It's great to have long-term healthy goals, but why not shift at least some of the focus to short-term benefits of healthy eating too if it helps?