I’m going on a diet. The Wellness Wonderland Diet. Want to join?
This diet is radical; I can eat absolutely anything, nothing is “cut-out”, nothing is off limits, but rather any food I want in any quantity can be eaten at any hour of the day.
The only stipulation is that there’s absolutely no eating unless I’m in a calm, relaxed state. That seems simple enough, but to be honest 95 percent of my “meals” (if you can call them that) are eaten in quite the opposite way, shoving an apple in my mouth as I sprint out the door, frantically downing a smoothie simultaneously cleaning the vitamix, or furiously eating salad from the bag as I chop up my veggies for my salad then not being hungry by the time I sit down to eat.
The list goes on, almost every time I ate felt rushed and frantic, like ‘now or never.’ While every time I had great intentions for health (for gosh sakes 95 percent of the stuff I was eating was highly green and likely had kale involved) but something was off…I was eating great stuff and doing everything “right” but there was something my body wasn’t loving.
And that’s when I decided I needed a diet/plan. Even though I was trying to be less strict and eat intuitively, I work well with goals and plans so I might as well use that to my advantage. I have the personality type (typical Vata) that loves routine and I really take advice and stick to it 100 percent.
Since I’m so passionate about wellness, read a ton, and constantly get advice, I have a tendency to get really structured and dogmatic. Sometimes good and I realize now sometimes not so good.
I was grasping onto some health advice for dear life even though it wasn’t serving me.
For example, ‘give your body breaks… eat only every 3-4 hours’. Yes, great advice, however I took this to an extreme, literally setting timers of when I “could” eat again.
When I finally chilled out, thinking about how it will look in food journal after my last meal, and just listened to my body and ate whenever I wanted to, I could finally feel satisfied. Usually it did take a few hours to get hungry again depending on the size of my meal, but sometimes it was sooner and that was okay.
Here’s the thing: anything that stresses you out is bad for you period. End of story, no matter who says it’s healthy.
So clearly through this example you can see how determined I can get when I latch onto a concept. In many ways it can be helpful, but at the same time it’s a double-edged sword really keeping me stuck. But with this new “diet” I’ve decided to take that same determination and perseverance and translate it to this new goal.
The goal: only eating when I’m fully calm, present, and aware. In our busy lives full blown mindful eating may not be feasible 100% of the time with travel, work, etc. But just infusing each meal with a touch of awareness and making a conscious effort to not eat when you’re stressed is life-changing.
Not eating when I’m stressed is something I’m working hard on everyday. Here’s the thing, sometimes when I’m stressed I’m truly hungry too, not with emotional hunger, but legit physical growling hunger.
When that happens there are two things my body’s asking for at once: one is food nourishment and the other is emotional nourishment. While both are equally important to overall health in that moment, the emotional hunger usually goes out the window and we often turn to the physical food to fill up both needs. That’s a surefire way to never ever feel full. Because the physical food will never fill that emotional need.
That’s why eating when you’re stressed is torture. It’s like you’re filling a car that runs on premium gas, unleaded gas…it will never work properly no matter how much you keep overfilling it because you’re not giving it what it needs.
This situation of simultaneous hunger and stress happens to most of us daily, whether we realize it or not, but let’s call a spade a spade coming home for dinner after a long day of work….yes you’re probably hungry but emotionally you’re drained as well and the food won’t address both needs.
So here’s the plan (oh how I love plans) if physical hunger comes up while you’re in a stressful state, address the stress first. ie. call a friend, go on a walk, read, watch a quick video, do something, ANYTHING, that can quickly get you out of that stressful state. Then, and only then can you eat. It’s not restrictive, it’s loving. When you eat while you’re stressed you’re swallowing all that negative emotion and it’s staying stuck deep inside your body. Wait…heal the emotional sensation first and then the physical.
I used to think “no i need to eat immediately, even though I’m stressed because then it will be too late and it will throw off my day blah blah blah”… Listen, it’s better to put off a meal a bit, throw off the “all holy” meal times and wait until you are calm than to rush eat when you’re stressed just to stick to a rigid meal schedule.
So with this new diet I’m using what I’ve got, by taking my rigid nature and applying it to something more fluid.
Let’s see how it goes together.
This was a guest post I did for my best friend Culinary Karma.
Will you join the both of us with this diet?
Let us know in the comments below!