I used to think that I had to punish myself. I would restrict calories and eat dry, bland food. I would punish myself by workout out incessantly to burn any calories I let myself have. I would set unrealistic goals that I couldn't meet... then criticize myself for not achieving them. It was a vicious circle.
It wasn't until I shifted my perspective about what the role of food, eating, and nourishment all play in my life that I was able to "exit" the vicious cycle.
There is so much "conventional knowledge" that is not only circulated throughout the media and health industry (yes, the health industry is just as monopolizing and misleading as any other industry) that it can blind us to one simple truth: deprivation and restriction are not healthy.
I had to free myself from the "numbers game" of counting calories, meals, ounces, macros, what have you... to really appreciate that food is NOT inherently out to get me. When the power of food is harnessed as nourishment, as fuel, as energy-giving, then it became a positive rather than a negative.
And that's when I was finally able to achieve - and KEEP - my goals.
One very specific thing that I love to do is cook. It's therapeutic, creative, and sometimes even a source of income for me. I love to make fancy food, easy casual food, and everything in between. I love to figure out what flavors go best together, which holiday foods are most elegant, and which are better to consume before a run vs. after. In other words, viewing food positively lets me thrive in my kitchen. It's my safe space.
Yes, there are a million diet trends, fads, magic pills, miracle drinks... and every other product under the sun developed to supposedly make a healthier you instantaneously available. The problem with that is, of course, that diets don't work. And drinking a miracle shake three times a day is only sustainable for so long before your natural hunger cues and body signals need something else.
Embracing your own kitchen means you embrace the concept that health is yours to make for you. You're in charge of your choices, your habits, your snacking, your ingredients, everything.
Time spent in the kitchen is NEVER WASTED. Making and sharing and enjoying nurturing meals is a genuine investment in our overall wellness. These moments feed not only the body, but the spirit. Sadly, modern emphasis on "busyness" disconnects us from these moments. We rush preparation, we rush cooking, we rush eating. Convenience has become more valuable than nourishment.
Respecting what we eat, how we eat, and what the foods we eat do for us is respecting ourselves.
Your journey with food and eating habits and self-love most likely differs from mine. However, the loving point here is that by taking food preparation into your own hands, we take the power back. One meal, one day at a time.
So, reintroduce yourself to your kitchen. That's where your health flourishes. Own your habits.
Be intentionally well!