Regardless of what your fitness goal is, I believe that everyone benefits from having a healthy relationship with food.
These days with all of the gimmicky weight loss trends, fad diets, fat loss supplements, and societal pressure to look a certain way, it’s not surprising to see more people engaging in disordered eating behaviours and struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with food.
I created my signature Macro-to-Mindful Method to help women better understand how to fuel their bodies to support their goals without restrictive dieting or having to give up the foods they love. This method prioritizes the importance of implementing a sustainable approach that leads to long-term results, which is is part of the reason why it’s been so successful both for myself and my clients.
In this post, I’m going to share with you five simple steps to building a healthy relationship with food using the framework of my Macro-to-Mindful Method.
All foods have one job and that is to provide your body with energy in the form of calories. Since all foods meet this requirement, they are technically all “good”. However, there are certain foods that provide our bodies with more nutritional value than others and typically these are the foods that are labelled as being “good for you”. This leaves the foods that aren’t as valuable from a nutrient-density perspective, to be classified as “bad”.
Though some foods are indeed more useful for our bodies than others (strictly looking at the number of beneficial nutrients contained within that particular food item), associating them with the terms “good” and “bad” can be extremely detrimental.
What often ends up happening is that we use “bad” foods as a reward or source of comfort. In doing this, we are subconsciously telling ourselves that these are the only circumstances in which consuming these foods is acceptable. Then, when we eat “bad” foods under other instances, like when you have a craving, you feel guilty and try to make up for it by consuming a certain amount of “good” foods to balance it out.
This way of thinking about food can lead to the development of a guilt/shame cycle when you eat certain things and if left unresolved can even turn into disordered eating behaviours.
If you currently experiencing disordered eating, I strongly recommend that you seek support. I help women recover from stress eating and emotional eating behaviours through my 1:1 coaching program, Align & Accelerate. I DO NOT work with women who have eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. If this is something that you are dealing with I would encourage you to reach out to a medical professional for help.
Restrictive diets set you up for failure!
Excluding entire macronutrient groups (carbs, fats, and proteins), limiting the types of foods that you’re able to eat (ex. gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, fat-free etc.), and leaving no flexibility for spontaneity throughout your day are all a recipe for disaster.
This is why I am a HUGE fan of using macro tracking to build a solid foundation when it comes to understanding how to give yourself permission to eat without restriction while implementing flexible guidelines that allow you to still support your fitness goals.
Now, there are instances where restriction is necessary however, they are typically linked to having certain medical conditions and if this is the case, you should be monitored by a physician and/or registered dietitian.
By implementing macro tracking, you’re able to gain a better understanding of your body and the foods that it requires to function optimally. Using FLEXIBLE GUIDELINES is great because it gives you an idea of how best to fuel your body without anything needing to be set in stone.
Macros are great but they’re not everything. I strongly believe that making memories with your loved ones should ALWAYS take precedent over being consistent with macros!
If you find that you feel anxious tracking macros at social events or when out to dinner with a friend…don’t. It’s not worth it. As I mentioned previously, my philosophy is that macros should be used as a tool to help you learn how to nourish your body while supporting your goals, and I believe the best way to do that is by implementing flexible guidelines. Macro tracking shouldn’t be your end goal and it definitely shouldn’t take priority over making priceless memories with your friends and family.
Earlier in this post, I mentioned my Macro-to-Mindful Method and though we’ve discussed macros a fair bit, now it’s time to touch on the mindful aspect.
I don’t believe that anyone should track macros for the rest of their life.
When it comes to health and wellness, I’m all about sustainability and tracking macros forever is definitely not sustainable. I recommend that as you become more comfortable with macros, you begin to decrease the frequency at which you track your meals.
For example, you may go from tracking every day to 3 times a week and then to once a week. Eventually, the goal is to be solely using mindful (or intuitive) eating practices. This means relying on your body for hunger cues and to let you know when you’re full. It also means using your understanding of nutrition and macros to ensure that you’re providing your body with the various types of foods that it requires to function optimally and to continue to support your fitness goals, whatever they may be.
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