How’s your diet?
Is this another blog about clean food? Calories? Paleo? Green days, red days?
I’m in no way qualified to comment and find all the different types of diet way too time consuming to even understand, let alone undertake. I just do not have the energy for it and was also lucky to be born to a grandmother whose motto was ‘A little bit of what you fancy does you good’ (NB ‘Little bit’), and a mother brought us up on home cooked food and refused eat margarine because it had been, as she put it, ‘messed with’.
Mum avoided all food which had been ‘messed with’ by which she meant anything with chemicals or ingredients which she couldn’t immediately see had come directly from an animal or a plant she was familiar with. So, cheese was OK as it came from milk and therefore cows. Fizzy drinks were not allowed, nor ready meals (even if we could have afforded them), and even though I was of the generation that had spam fitters for school dinners, spam was not allowed at home as it had definitely been ‘messed with’.
So my relationship with food has largely been smooth (apart from a bulimic 6 months in my 20s, but that’s maybe for another blog). I eat simple food, on the whole not messed with and then have a little bit of what I fancy.
Also, the older I have got, and the more yoga I do, the more I am able to be aware of what my body is telling me. I can listen to what my body wants to eat rather than what my head is telling me to eat much more (I write about body-led eating in my book below). I tend to eat what I know will be good for me not just in the eating, but longer term and avoid things which are doing short term or longer term harm like lots of saturated fat or salt.
Also, the older I get, the more I expand my idea of what ‘diet’ is. I’ve just published my book 6 steps to Relationship Recovery and in there I offer people theory and lots of coaching tools to support people through all the different aspects of life that change when a relationships comes to an end. A lot of what I talk about in the book is focusing on what nurtures and feeds us and doing more of it whilst doing less, seeing less, having less of anything or anyone who makes us feel tired and drained.
Diet is not just what we eat, it is about what we consume in all ways. How do we consume our time? On things and people that delight and charm us or on drudgery and moaning? How do we consume our money? On things which bring us long term contentment and memories or things that end of in landfill within months?
What do you consume?
We are used to considering what we put into our body; but now let’s widen that out. We consume drugs, from alcohol, caffeine, sugar, to pain killers and then onto illegal drugs. Do they help you or harm you? We consume sex, some of us more, some of us less. Is the sex you are consuming pleasurable, connecting, fun, loving, tender, sensual, exciting or is it abusive, coercive, boring, painful, demeaning, compromised, lonely or sad?
What about what you put into your mind? Do you watch the news and then lie awake all night worrying or do you censor your inputs so that you focus on what you can have an impact on, what heals you and inspires you? Do you consume doom, trash, spam or inspiration.
How nurturing is your social and relationships life? Do you spend time with people who totally get you, love you just the way that you are and want to see you fly and thrive, who make you laugh, have your back and will do whatever they can for you? Or do you hang around with people who drain you, take more than they give, resent, blame, shame you? Leave you out, let you down, put you down?
Can you see what I mean?
Well-being and flourishing is not just about what we eat, is about what we feed our self in all aspects of our life. How we nurture our self, what we allow to come into our body, our space, out time. You might like to have a go at the coaching tool below. Make your own copy of this table with all the things you ‘consume’ in the widest possible sense and then start to pay attention to how they make you feel. You might want to break some of the categories down further in a table of their own. For example, you might want to create a ‘food’ table and then list all that you eat over a period of days, noticing, each time, how it makes you feel.
The trick is, to increase what makes you feel good not just in the moment, but longer term, and then decrease what makes you feel bad. The more your notice how you feel, the easier it is to use your emotions to create your best life.
For our time is finite, our health is precious, our body is our own. We are the guardians of our own galaxy and we need to protect ourselves from all toxins and poisons not matter how sweet and tempting they look in the short term.
A real diet is holistic and affects all aspects of our life. It needs awareness of how our needs change over time, for what suited us then, may not now.
Nurturing our selves isn’t selfish, it is necessary, for when we thrive, we have more to give to others and the world to make the changes this world so desperately needs.
There are loads more of these kinds of coaching tools in the book; on emotions, stress, your social life and although it is aimed at people coming out of a relationship, the information, stories and tools will make sense to everyone. Until the end of July it’s only £0.99 on Kindle or £5.50 in paperback and I’d love it if you could leave a review so that other people can find it.