The saying “you are what you eat” is true, and it is about more than just food. Yes, if you feed your body rubbish, you will feel like rubbish. But, did you ever stop to think about how much deeper your food choices go? What about the words that you feed yourself? What about the impact that has on your health? What seems like an insignificant choice in the day, can actually be pretty life changing.
Feeding yourself junk food constantly is going to make you feel crappy, but so is beating yourself up every time your diet slips or feeding yourself horrible words. “I am so ugly”, “I am so fat”, “I am not good enough” needs to stop. When you start your day with bad food and bad thoughts, it radiates through you affecting how you feel physically and mentally. Even if you are eating beautiful food and it physically makes you feel good, if you tell yourself nasty things, your mental health will suffer. This post is not just about eating well. It is about feeding the mind, the body and the soul and making a conscious effort to nourish yourself physically and mentally. I hope you enjoy reading!
Feeding The Body
It is no secret that a balanced diet is key to health. It sounds so simple- eat your fruit and veg, drink water and limit the crap, so why do so many of us struggle to eat healthily and stay a healthy weight and ultimately love ourselves for who we are?
We do not live in a world that promotes self-love.
Think about it. If we all loved ourselves, what can they sell us? The beauty and diet industry is worth billions and billions. We are constantly being shown all the ways we are not good enough, how we are not slim enough, rich enough, pretty enough, smart enough. We are then shown all the things we can buy that can help us to reach said aesthetic. Also, junk food and processed food is so readily available that it can be hard to always make a conscious food choice. Sugar is known to be as addictive as cocaine so what do the food industry do? They shove it in all of their products. Many diet products are full of sugar, being disguised as “fat free”- even some of the healthy food being sold to us is actually full of crap. Food is addictive and you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you are struggling. So how on earth do we make conscious food choices when we are surrounded by rubbish? I have four key tips.
Think before each meal-
At breakfast time, you have an amazing opportunity to fuel yourself for the day. Think about how this food is going to benefit you. Yes, a cereal bar is quick, but you’ll be hungry again in about 45 minutes and lunch isn’t til 12. Porridge takes a few extra minutes to make, but it will fuel you right up until lunch and give your body the boost it needs to get you through the morning. A sprinkle of fruit and honey on top and you’ve got yourself something rather delicious and satisfying.
Understand your hunger-
Are you bored or are you hungry, that is the question. If you have recently eaten then you probably are not hungry but if you are lost for something to do and find yourself raiding the fridge, you may be eating out of boredom. When you are eating a diet largely based on wholefoods, grains, fruit, veg and natural products, you will never feel deprived. Restrictive diets and diets that require counting calories or points constantly have you focused on food and when your next meal is going to be. Scrap the calories and eat intuitively. I find it best to eat little and often so instead of three large meals a day, I graze constantly eating my largest meal in the first half of the day. Another way if this seems to much for you is to have your breakfast, lunch and dinner and one snack in between each, making sure that each meal is nutritionally balanced. Junk food is quick to go in to the body and quick to come out with very little benefit, leaving you feeling hungry shortly after. Eat fibrous, whole foods and drink up to prevent blind eating.
Have plenty of healthy food at hand-
Healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetable, pita, houmous, nuts and seeds are great to have around when you are feeling peckish. Make sure the freezer has plenty of fruit and veg in it that will not go off as well as a fresh supply in the fridge. Stock the cupboards up with plenty of whole grains and legumes such as quinoa, lentils, rice and spelt and wholemeal pasta in a pinch. Have 80% dark chocolate to nip cravings in the bud and do not be afraid to have a treat once in a while. Learn moderation this brings me on to my fourth tip.
Follow the 80/20 rule-
This is how I try to live my life in all aspects 80% health, 20% indulgence. A healthy lifestyle is all about moderation. In this picture you can see I am enjoying a red velvet cupcake in Covent Garden. Even writing this post I have nibbled on some chocolate. The key is that I do not do this everyday and I do not tell myself “I can’t have that” because I know I will feel deprived. If I am eating well and looking after myself 80% of the time, the other 20% I can afford to have some cake, a takeaway or a cheeky glass of wine… or three. I try to put my diet at the core of my responsibilities. I know that food is my fuel and if I do not nourish my body, I will feel sick, tired, run down and sluggish. How do I know this? Because I never used to eat properly.
Not only did I restrict my calories excessively, but when I did eat, I ate crap. Pizza, fizzy drinks, quick processed food. I was slim, but I was sick. I felt miserable and hopeless. Now I understand my worth and love my body, I never feel deprived and would never do anything that would make me feel so low again. Looking after your physical health is just one step in self-love and making conscious choices.
Feeding The Mind
Keeping your mind healthy is going to be the hardest part of your health journey. It is much easier to hate ourselves than love ourselves. Self-Love requires hard work and normally this takes a while to build, especially if you come from a particularly low place. However, there are so many things you can do to build the blocks to a beautiful mind.
Be Kind To Yourself
How can you feel good about yourself if you do not act as your own best friend. I know that sounds cheesy but I am 110% serious. Know that you are valuable, smart, beautiful and important. Tell yourself that every day until you believe it. Never be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling.
Mental Illness is really common and there are so many people who want to help you. Family, friends, doctors- you do not have to be alone. It is okay to admit you are struggling. We are not perfect beings and sometimes we need a bit more help in order to get on the right track. I had depression and anxiety most of my teenage life right up until I was 19 years old and I didn’t start to cope until I got help and put myself first. Do not be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. You do not have to settle for second best and finally, do not expect to see real positive change if you only surround yourself with negative influences. Toxic people and environments have to go. Change is scary, but it is worth it.
Right now, I want you to make a list of 5 things that you love about yourself. Yes, it is so cringe, but you need to do this even if it is just one thing. Let me start:
- I am kind.
- I am passionate.
- I am smart.
- I am grateful.
- I am unique.
Now, write 5 things you do not like. What are they? Can you change them? Are they superficial? If you asked me to write 5 things I didn’t like about myself 3 years ago I would have said-
- I hate how I look
- I am lonely
- I am a failure and can’t do anything right
- I am worthless
- I am scared of the future.
I didn’t have the answers on how to solve these things, but I do now and I hope they can make you think a bit harder and be more forgiving to yourself. I wish I could have told myself this…
- You hate how you look because you always compare yourself to others and strive for perfection. You are never satisfied because you always think you need to be better and please others. Dita Von Teese said, “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will still be someone who hates peaches.”- she was right. You are never going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but you might be someones shot of whisky. Stop searching for perfection because it does not exist. There is not one person on the planet who is you and that makes you special and unique. Embrace it, embrace the imperfections and love yourself for more than whats on the surface.
- You are lonely because you seclude yourself and surround yourself by the wrong people. You are in a relationship that serves you no good and your friends are kind of shitty, actually. One day, you come out of your shell, talk to new people and only surround yourself with beautiful, positive souls. It changes your life…if only you could see that all you have to do is believe you deserve better and are worthy of companionship.
- You are not a failure; you are simply striving for the wrong things, obsessed with perfection and setting your goals unrealistically high. Only do the things that you love and what interest you, no matter what others think. What you want in life should be your first priority, not what someone else wants. Your success is not measured by someone else’s standards.
- Worthless? Are you joking? We all have a purpose on this planet for one thing or another. You feel worthless because you let other people measure your worth and they are people you should not surround yourself with. Those who love you already know your worth. You are so blessed to be alive, so blessed to breathing and you have a wonderful little life to lead.
- It is okay to be scared, you are human and life is scary and uncertain. You can choose to let your fear paralyze you and freeze you in your steps, or you can carry on, hold your head high and push through it. You have got this.
Feeding The Soul
At my lowest points, I started looking outwardly and from there I managed to hoist myself up. I am the happiest I have been in my life and I feel so content and blessed. What do I mean by looking outwardly and what does it mean to feed our soul?
Reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking- building the soul.
All of these things are parts I believe make up our soul. I am not religious, I do not believe in one god or any gods actually, but I believe in spirituality and by that I mean all of the things above and that we all have a meaning and purpose on this planet. I believe to have a happy soul we have not only look after our own self, but look after those around us, living a grateful and giving life and taking pleasure in the little things and thinking of what matters. For me this is:
- Reading and learning always
- Animal Welfare
- Environmental Conservation
I do things that make me feel good such as walking reading, painting my nails, meditating (a new thing ive just started) and focusing my attention outwardly on matters such as animal rights and activism and other ways I can contribute to making this world a better place, even by simply recycling and lowering my carbon footprint. It feels good to try to be a good person.
I also count my blessings every day and try to live a life of gratitude. I am lucky to have food, water and a roof over my head and I remind myself of that every single day without fail. I know others are not so lucky and I am fully aware of how blessed I am.
I know this post is long-winded, but it really matters to me. Every single word in this post has come from my heart and I truly just want to help others to feeling happy and good in not only themselves but in the world around them. Society isn’t always kind, but by changing ourselves I really believe we can change the world. Sending best wishes to you all and I hope you liked this post.
Love Elizabeth xox