I have officially declared 2018 as the year of self-love! Are you in??? There are so many ways how you can practise more love towards your gorgeous self. Unfortunately, accepting ourselves and truly embracing the way we are is something that comes so hard to us women. Even more important to turn this unhappy relationship around. How would it be if you decided to stop beating yourself up for what you are eating or what you are not eating, for your body shape or for not being able to quickly turn around any less healthful dietary habits? How would things change for you if you felt true compassion for your eating self by nurturing yourself with wholesome foods? What would your life look like if you focused on looking and feeling the most vibrant version of yourself instead of the never-ending-and-so-frustrating-weight-loss battle?
Here are my 5 top tips on how to up your insane glow with more nutritional self-love
- Don’t restrict yourself – instead fill up on health-promoting, beautifying wholefoods
Restricting yourself will always backlash and eventually go against all your best efforts. No matter how much willpower you bring into this dieting game, it can never be enough because being super determined and strong minded cannot last a life-time. Following a restrictive diet is not maintainable on the long run. At some point you will experience such strong cravings, your body will feel so deprived that it will reclaim its birth right to eat proper foods and enough of them. Foods that taste good, that contain satisfying fat and soothe our natural sweet tooth. When this happens, though, your body will really struggle and not know what to do with all the excess calories you have so strictly avoided for such a long time. To be on the safe side, and just in case the poor you comes across another life-threatening famine, your body is already and prepared to fight back for you: it will now hold onto as much fat as possible and put those extra calories in the form of fat onto your stomach, thighs or butt. If this was not already bad enough, any form of restriction or dieting also comes with very bad self-esteem and is usually the start of a life-long abusive relationship with yourself. Yuk. So, instead of choosing restricting allow yourself to eat as much as you want and need to feel satisfied and energised but do so with wholefoods. That is foods that do not come out of a package, that are not pre-cooked and pre-prepared but foods that look like real foods. Foods your grandparents would have recognised as such. We are talking about wholegrains, healthy fats and protein – plant and animal based – fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables in all the colours of the rainbow.
- Don’t think in terms of calories but focus on which foods can best nurture and beautify you
Our bodies are much too complex as to be fooled by the simple equation of the fewer calories in, the leaner and hotter the body on the out… If you are still counting calories and are trying to get on top of your unwanted weight in this old-fashioned way, let me break it to you in my very straightforward German way: girl, this ain’t gonna work. Your body will only slow down its metabolic rate and adjust to the fewer calories with the result of you burning less fat and putting on more fatty tissue much easier. Needless to say this is exactly the opposite of what you were trying to achieve. So, here is what works instead: whenever you are choosing to eat something, ask yourself is this food on my plate brimful of any beautifying, energising, rejuvenating super-powers? That is does this food that I am about to swallow and nurture my body with contain any vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and / or any other phytochemicals which will change how you look and feel both on the in and on the outside? Or am I just about to consume something that has been deprived of any wholesome goodness and is void of any energising, beautifying and rejuvenating qualities but instead will very quickly go straight onto my waist?
- Never go without water but stay hydrated at all times
Water is one of the most overlooked nutrient when it comes to weight loss, but in my opinion one of the most essential ones! Water is one of the most important constituents of your body. In fact, you are about 65% water. Water is needed for your body cells to grow and survive, for your joints to be lubricated, to flush out waste material and toxins. It is water that metabolises all the carbohydrates and proteins you are consuming. Water dissolves all those minerals, soluble vitamins and other nutrients, so your body can use all these goodies. The list of what water does for us in our bodies is by far not complete here, but I think you have got the picture. I guess it won’t come as a surprise now that when you fail to drink enough to keep your body well hydrated, this has far reaching consequences on your overall well-being and weight-loss journey. You will start to feel more tired and exhausted, your capacity to think clearly and effectively will diminish, your physical performance of your muscles will decrease, you might feel light-headed and experience constipation. In addition to this, we adults are unfortunately very likely to confuse the sensation of thirst with feelings of hunger resulting in food cravings and eating more than you should. When all your body is after is some beautiful rejuvenating, cleansing, energising and skin-plumping water.
- Say no to foods that oppress you and yes to those that bring the best out in you
Foods that are oppressive are any foods that keep you in an unhealthy relationship with your gorgeous self, your way of eating or the way you are feeling after you have eaten those foods. Great examples are all foods that contain refined, simple white or brown sugar, alcohol, trans fats, food colouring and preservatives. I am not saying you cannot have these foods at all…I am just hinting at the fact that these foods, especially if consumed in larger amounts and / or regularly, will put you in a state of dependency, or can have a harsh and very ugly impact on how you are feeling physically and mentally. It is our refined sugar truth that you will find the white poison unfortunately in every packaged food in too great amounts. This white powder we are talking about, however, is highly addictive – eight times more so than cocaine to be precise. It also stimulates inflammatory processes in your body, stimulates over-eating, makes you fat, reduces your productivity, creativity and libido. Trans fats are your worst nightmares come true in terms of clogging your arteries and bringing you one step closer to your dreaded heart disease. Preservative and colourings cause irritability, skin irritations, itchiness, hyperactivity… So, here is the plan: if cravings for your donuts with pink icing strike next time, how about re-creating the sweet temptation with less oppressive chemistry and more delicious true, farm-grown, unprocessed, natural wholefoods? No one has ever not enjoyed my crumbly and so much healthier donut imitation with almond flour, dark chocolate and raspberry crème filling.
- Instead of trying to portion control, learn to listen to your body again with mindful eating
I am not saying that portion control in itself is something bad but unfortunately all too often it again implies restriction or dieting, which as we know both won’t work on the long run. So, instead of being overly fixated on a certain amount of food you are permitting yourself to ingest, how would it be if you put all your efforts into how to tune into your own body again applying some mindfulness. In our crazily busy and fast paced lives it is neither very feasible nor very hip to listen to what our bodies are communicating to us. Instead we over-or under-eat, over-or under-move and are champions in ignoring those all too subtle signs and signals our so very wise bodies are giving us all the time. It is really crazy when you think about it. Our physical selves know exactly when to eat, how much to eat, what to eat, how to energise ourselves and bring the best out in you. But we have chosen to ignore all this body talk with the consequence of being more and more detached from our physical selves and risking to drown in all the increased mind chatter. How about asking yourself whether you are truly hungry before you choose to eat? On a scale from very little hungry to I am starving, how hungry are you? How about turning off any electronics and putting away all the distractions before you truly enjoy your first spoonful? What does the food taste like? How is the texture? Can you chew your food until it is liquid? Can you place your cutlery next to your plate in between bites? Are you asking yourself again and again how full you are now? Are you starting to feel satisfied yet in a physical sense? Are you eating more than you should for comfort reasons, boredom or because you are actually subconsciously trying to fill another hole in your life? What is food doing for you? Is it there to refuel, enjoy and socialise or has it become your most loyal worry-quencher? It is time to break this unhealthy connection and go back to hearing, listening and then doing what your gorgeous body is telling you to.
Feeling great within your gorgeous, insanely radiant self, does not have to come with a restrictive-calorie-counting food struggle. Eating vibrant, super delicious wholefoods is a conscious act of self-love. I admit it might take some time to fully master your newly game of nutritious self-love but it is freely available to all of us and so much easier to apply and learn than you think. It is about time you reclaimed your birthright of feeling and looking the best, healthiest, most fulfilled version of yourself, and doing so in a self-nurturing way by cooking with and enjoying wholefoods in all the colours of the rainbows is so much fun on top of it!!! I promise!!!
2018 your year of self-love? I think you have truly made a fantastic, beautifully nutritious start!