Some of us may believe that we have tactfully mastered the art of eating well over the holidays. Others of us struggle a little bit more with achieving this balance. And then there are some of us that undoubtedly end up in a food-coma shame-spiral that starts in November and possibly continues until our self-proclaimed new-year-new-me campaign. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t matter where you fall on the spectrum of mindful eating; everyone (myself included) can benefit from a re-evaluation of their dietary behaviors. Similar to the liberating feeling of a Spring cleaning, opening up to the vulnerability of personal reflection can be both spiritually uplifting and mentally and physically healing. With the risk of sounding like I’ve jumped on the zen guru bandwagon, I really believe in the power of individual introspection, especially as it relates to our health and wellbeing.
Take a moment for yourself before the holiday season is in full swing to think about how you have been feeling physiologically. It may seem easier to ignore signs of exhaustion, dehydration and new food cravings (amongst many others) that should alert you that your health needs to be put back on track. In reality, dismissing these signals and allowing yourself to live sub-optimally is more detrimental in the immediate and long term future.
Let me be completely transparent – becoming ‘in tune’ (as they say…) with your body, will require some humility and open mindedness. What makes this practice so great is that it is extremely personal and can be applied in any way that suits your style of connecting. On that note, I have some areas related to your nutritional wellbeing that you may want to consider as you get started.
Stage 1 Commitment: This is the most crucial step in the process – the decision to check in with yourself.
Stage 2 Monitoring: The simplest way to become more self-aware of your own nutrition habits and how they relate to your wellbeing is by keeping a detailed food and beverage journal for a few days. Don’t just track your food, also observe and write down sleep patterns, exercise, energy level, gastrointestinal symptoms and any other potential nutritionally related problem areas. This seems like a tiring challenge, but I feel compelled to tell you that almost all of my clients learn so much from this experience and report how much they love keeping a diary. Some clients will continue to do so as a way to stay honest about their nutrition. The more days the merrier!
Stage 3 Analysis: Are there any associations between physiological symptoms and your diet? Can you make improvements? What is making you feel off-balance?
Step 4 Planning: Set goals based on your own self-analysis.
Step 5 Achievement: Successfully check off your goals one-by-one.
You’re probably thinking, “Get real Alix. Changing my diet and reaching my health goals is much more difficult than that”. You are 100% right. The stages I have outlined above are just the skeleton of what a full nutrition revamping might look like. I understand that going through these stages is just like any other new undertaking. It requires focus, determination, hope and support. Sometimes you may need outside help (you know where to find me!). However, I always ask YOU about your own thoughts and conclusions because you will always know yourself best. Fact, end of story. With the proper skillset and tools to make certain changes that YOU desire in your life, you will no longer need to make outwardly empty self-help statements about becoming a better version of yourself, you will be that person in mind, strength, and spirt. Sounds pretty great to me!
If you’re thinking about committing or are having hesitations about the process, take a baby step and connect with me. I will gladly support you on an individualized health journey and give you that boost of courage to get real with yourself. Forget about the self-help book section, we got this 🙂
-Alix Kantowitz, Director of Nutrition and Wellness