I believe in personal responsibility for food choices. I also believe it is extremely difficult to make nourishing food choices in the culture we live in. From being “too busy” and snacks EVERYWHERE; to laziness (a manifestation of mild depression) and misplaced priorities; to all kinds of restaurants and tempting food porn on the internet; to sugar in foods that don’t need sugar (bread, marinara, and soup, for example) and not realizing our health is precious, our easily addicted brains think it is just too much effort and time to make nourishing meals at home on a consistent basis.
Enter VALUES and SELF-LOVE.
VALUES play a deep, integral role in our daily choices. Our values dictate how we spend our time, who we spend our time with, how we treat others, and how we take care of ourself. There are aspirational values and practiced values. Aspirational values are what we desire to say, think, act and feel. It’s not necessarily what we do. Practiced values are what we actually say, think, act and feel.
Think about what your values are. Is health a practiced value? Or is it only aspirational? Do you aspire to value nourishment? Or do you actively practice nourishment? How do you value physical, mental and spiritual energy?
SELF-LOVE. It is not a woo-woo concept. It is a courageous concept. It is of the highest importance if you desire inner peace and integrity. Self-love is integral to treating yourself kindly, and making the right decisions even when they’re hard. Self-love is at the core of nourishment.
Practicing self-love is prioritizing time each day to prepare nourishing meals. Prioritizing means it is a priority. Setting aside time for healthy meal-making is more important than checking e-mail, plucking your eyebrows, meeting a friend for coffee, or organizing the hall closet. It’s certainly more important than watching television. Some days you may have time for all of it. If my day is so legitimately busy that I might compromise meal-making time for exercise (which is rarely the case), I choose a nourishing meal over working out. It is so important to fuel ourselves with the good stuff. When you’re nourished, you can actually do even more of the important stuff. Set your priorities in motion.
Practicing self-love is stopping yourself during a moment of gluttony. Gluttony is not nourishment. This is hard for me, but practicing self-love has helped me to stop overeating. I am hard-wired to be all or nothing. I’m a little bit intense. Is that an oxymoron? I love something, or I don’t give a hoot. I want premium ice cream, not frozen yogurt. I want an 85% grass-fed patty, not 99% fat-free turkey. And in most cases, maple leaf creme cookies get my heart pumping much faster than sauteed zucchini (although I love me some of that).
Self-discipline only gets you so far. When I am mid-way through a bag of blue corn tortilla chips and salsa, feeling unstoppable, the concept of “nourishment is self-love” will pop into my mind. It is the only sure-fire thing that gets me to put down a chip while it’s IN my hand. Eating three or more servings of tortilla chips is not self-love. It is not nourishing. And I’ll tell you what. I do love myself. I am honest with myself. These are some of my practiced values. It’s important to me that they’re practiced values and not just aspirational values. I won’t tell lies to myself if this concept is present in my mind. The more I practice this concept, the more it presents itself when I need help. If I find myself in a moment of stress eating, emotional eating or overeating, and the self-love concept pops into my mind, I don’t pretend to ignore it. I’d only be deceiving myself, and that’s the worst kind of deception.
You can implement it, too. Start your morning by doing something that nourishes you, and it should catch on throughout the rest of the day. Keep it in mind the next day. Write yourself a post-it note. Write it on your hand. And remember this…