Food

Eating Healthy: Where To Start When You Feel Like You’re Starting from Zero

October 25, 2017

Hi there. First things first, I believe some thank you’s are in order. I’ve gotten some super encouraging feedback from so many people with the launch of this blog. I can’t believe it!! I thought my mom was going to be my only reader!! hahaha It’s so uplifting for me to know that we can use our pains and struggles as points of connection with each other. Thank you for embracing my vulnerability and sharing yours with me in return. I am forever grateful to journey with you through this blog.

Today’s thoughts! I wanted to talk about a few first steps you can make in eating healthy when you feel so far off track, confused and ashamed, and/or unknowing of how to begin. I’m here for you. I understand the struggle. It’s not so easy to eat “healthy.” Holy cow what does healthy in this context even mean!???

Let’s break it down. Food has an interesting way of pulling on our heart strings. We all have social and emotional connections to food and I could just tell you to drink more water or eat more veggies but the truth is that it’s not always that simple. Eating healthy has a lot to do with how you feel and how you think. Here are five things you can do when you feel like you’re starting from zero:

Take a Step Back

Wait say whhhhhat! I thought this was all about moving forward!? haha it is it is I promise! But before any of us head towards making changes we first have to work through past emotions and ways of thinking, learning how to let go of the patterns and habits that no longer serve us. Easier said than done, but it’s super crucial! Here’s a little bit of my own experience with this:

When I found out about my food allergies (gluten, dairy, and eggs) ten months ago, my whole world shook. I had to completely change the relationship I had with my food. I always used food as a way to connect with people, to celebrate moments and milestones, and to even comfort myself when something was hard or tough or disappointing (or when I felt like I was that thing that was disappointing). I felt like I always needed something sugary or decadent to make me feel full — literally,  but emotionally too. Insecure? Eat. Hopeful? Eat. Discouraged? Eat. Burned out? Eat!

With my skin getting worse and worse, I had tried so many elimination diets but they never stuck. Like I could go two point five days without eating dairy and then cheat with a milkshake cause YOLO and then I would feel terrible and would break out worse and be so hurt by myself…

But would you believe that I have not had a single *intentional* cheat this whole time since I found out about my food allergies!!! In ten freaking months! I feel so proud oh my goodness!! It kinda clicked for me. I could have kept eating pizza and pancakes and brownies but the truth is I was so sick and my skin was so bad and I felt so guilty and I couldn’t stand myself. I thought food was making me feel better — and it did in the present moment — but it was really just sending me into a painful whirlwind cycle of uppers and downers as soon as I finished the last bite. And now I feel so strong knowing I have the power to say yes to foods that are good and healing for my body and no to all the toxic foods that keep me from feeling real good.

Here’s a mindset tweak that really helped me in cutting foods out of my diet: Instead of thinking about all the foods I had to say no to, I let myself be in awe of all the foods I could say yes to. And it’s funny cause I can actually eat a whole lot more types and varieties of foods than I had ever thought I could! Once I shifted my mindset to focusing on what I could eat, I was so inspired by the plethora of yummy veggies and plant based entrees that were out there. Suddenly there were so many foods and meals and recipes that I wanted to try!! Check out this Pinterest board if you need a little food inspo.

Don’t Give Up

Remember there will be good days and bad days. Some days you’ll feel proud, other days you may feel ashamed or embarrassed at how hard you seem to be struggling. The biggest and best thing you can do for yourself is to keep going. Consistency is the key in this battle! Every day is a new day. And even more so, every hour is a new hour to try again. It’s way way better to do a little something every day — and celebrate that victory! — than to have one big thing you do all week. It’s like taking a dollar to the bank every day. And you know banks do interest haha! And that interest adds up to being the greatest investment you could ever make in your life!! Cheesy, but true.

Focus on the Behavior, Not The Outcome

You want to run a marathon? Lose 35 pounds? Have a 6-pack? Be active with your kids? Live a long life? Look like you know what you’re doing when you go to the gym? Great! Those are awesome goals.

Sometimes though, we can focus on the outcome so much that we forget to be present with each step towards that goal. I like to tell my clients, I’ll focus on the results; you focus on the behavior change. Cause the truth is, if you’re prioritizing sleep, drinking more water, choosing healthier food options, and doing your best every day YOU WILL SEE RESULTS! And the goal is to keep moving and grooving long after you reach all your goals. Ya feel me!! Honor the small behavior changes — like, cutting down your coffee consumption from two cups to one in the morning. Or shopping for a healthier snack option during the day. Or taking the stairs at the office. There are so many little ways you can make big changes. Hang in there and start small!

Know that YOU have all the power!

You choose what goes into your body!! You choose how much or how little you move! Now there are real things that do effect this — things like finances, time, stress — but at the end of the day, you have to be the biggest advocate for your health. No one can make those choices for you but you. Not your doctor. Not a trainer. Not a blogger or health guru. Only you! And I hope that doesn’t intimate or overwhelm you. Because YOU are powerful and strong and capable of far far more than you let yourself believe. You are already beautiful enough, smart enough, kind enough, determined enough. Really! You are.

Be Intentional

Make time. Schedule time to food prep, grocery shop, or cook dinner. And keep to that scheduled time like you would any other important meeting or meet up! Eating healthier doesn’t just happen. It takes a little thought, a little preparation, and a little knowledge. That can be a bummer or it can be a cool opportunity to connect with yourself and with your goals.

Maybe you hate that I didn’t just give you a 10 step guide to getting healthy. Dang I wish it was that easy. Sadly it’s not and I will never sell you a short cut. But here’s the deal y’all! You don’t need a short cut. You just need you.

Email/message me if you have any specific thoughts or concerns or barriers that you can’t break through! I’m here for you always + always.

Flock on!

Madison

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