We are constantly bombarded with messages that make it seem like it is necessary to eat specific amounts of calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrate, fiber, vitamins, servings etc.

Remember: these guidelines are tools, not weapons!!

The truth is: you cannot eat perfectly and your body does not expect you to! Healthy eating is not perfect eating, and perfect eating is not healthy eating. Expecting perfection with eating only leads to chaos and dysfunction with food. Here are some simple thoughts to help you get back to basics:

1. Eat regular balanced meals. By allowing yourself the time to engage in regular self-care through thoughtful nourishment, you will foster a sustainable, flexible approach that will help you trust your body again and have confidence that it will remain in balance.
2. If your eating patterns have been all over the place and haphazard, you most likely aren’t feeling regular hunger and fullness levels. If you ignore your body’s signals, it may take some time to begin to listen to its wisdom. By feeding yourself regularly, hunger and fullness levels will reappear by fostering self-trust.
3. Create balance in body and mind by eating regularly. This will stabilize blood sugar levels, which helps to reduce cravings. Regular eating helps regulate mood and hormonal balance. If you feel well fed and satisfied you will prevent feelings of deprivation which can lead to overeating and bingeing. You will also begin to notice what portion sizes are adequate to fuel you without leaving you uncomfortably full, or still hungry and preoccupied with food.
4. Learn to love food again. Tune out weight loss fads and social media fixes. Just remember a balanced meal concludes some starchy carbohydrate, some protein, some fat and a fruit and/or veggie. Notice what tastes good and what feels good and what promotes you feeling taken care of.
5. Find peace in flexibility. You decide what you want to eat. As you work to normalize your eating behaviors, meal timing and structure may not be negotiable but what you eat certainly is.
6. Find freedom from rules and guidelines. Our needs may change from day to day and from season to season. Our bodies are set up for these changing needs. Blood sugar can be stored for future use, some vitamins and minerals can be stored and used over time. Our bodies have brilliant mechanisms set up naturally to keep us in balance without us having to measure and count every gram or milligram. We can average out our eating and consumption of nutrients over a few days or a week or so. This is such a relief!
7. Do the best you can on most days, and the rest will take care of itself. Consistency over TIME is what is important, not micromanaging our bodies on a daily basis.

Just like everything else in life, you can really only try your best. Get a good balance of ALL foods, get adequate sleep, manage your stress, and stay connected to your spirit and values. Reach out for professional help if needed. Working on establishing a healthy relationship to food is an important and worthwhile goal.

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