Do you eat to be skinny or do you eat to be healthy?
Do you eat to make sure you are thin or to make sure that your body has all of the great nutrition that it needs? Do you count calories rather than looking at what great vitamins, minerals and nutrients you are getting from your food? Are you a slave to the number on the scales or do you make food choices based on whether they make you feel good on a daily basis? Do you choose the fat-free dessert over the avocado just because it contains less calories? Do you choose to exercise because you know it will burn off some of the food you have eaten or because it makes you feel great and happy?
Is your relationship with food and your body about making sure you stay thin or about making sure you stay healthy and happy?
So many of the people that I work with confess to me that they have spent many years counting calories or points - just to make sure that they stay in shape. They worry about how much they are eating because they want to be thin - and not because they want to be HEALTHY.
It is great to want to take care of yourself and your appearance - however by focusing just on being “thin” you may miss a great opportunity to look your best. For example, refined sugar is a huge contributor to skin ageing and can play a significant role in the formation of wrinkles. Equally healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil are essential for the health of your skin (even though they are high in calories). So if you want to age well and take care of your skin, you are much better off choosing the 350-calorie avocado than the 150-calorie fat-free dessert.
Of course, beyond our appearance, eating well is essential for the health of our bodies. By eating nutritious food we can make sure that we avoid chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Many scientists and nutritionists now talk of a concept called “TOFI” which talks about someone that is thin on the outside but fat on the inside - or in other words, they may look thin and have a healthy body weight, but due to the nutritionally-poor food they are choosing, they are still at high risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is yet another reason to choose the 200-calorie olive-oil rather than the 50-calorie fat-free dressing.
A really important part of making food choices because you want to be healthy rather than because you want to be skinny is that it completely changes your relationship with food. Eating to be healthy actually encourages you to EAT LOTS of the foods that are good for you e.g. vegetables. Whereas eating to be skinny encourages you TO AVOID “naughty”, “bad” or “high calorie” foods, which leaves you feeling deprived. As humans we always want what we can’t have - so those people telling themselves that they can’t have lots of things will just want all of those “naughty” treats much more. Whereas those people eating foods that they know are good for their bodies will just naturally crowd out all of the unhealthy foods with great, nutritious food.
So go on - try it - for just one week. Make choices that you know will leave your body healthier rather than focusing on how much you are eating or depriving yourself - eat plenty of vegetables, some berries, healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, avocado), protein (e.g. oily fish), all of those things that you know instinctively are good for your body - and you will probably find that naturally any excess weight that you were carrying will just drop off without you even trying!
Choose self-love rather than self-hate - choose to eat because you want to nurture your body not because you want to punish it for not being thin enough. Choose compassion rather than torture - take care of your body, celebrate it, love it and treat it with the respect that it deserves! HEALTHY IS THE NEW SKINNY.