Self-Love Reflection: Eating Naturally

Posted: May 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I strive to make a concentrated effort to eat as healthfully as possible. That decision has little to do with weight or how others perceive my eating habits. I simply know that eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, lean proteins, etc helps me feel better and live a higher quality life.

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In the past, I certainly found myself caring less about where my food came from just as long as it helped me reach my daily caloric intake goals. Even when I focused on eating enough calories to fuel my body, the calorie count still reigned supreme. I didn’t consider reading the ingredients of nutrition labels over the other statistics. I didn’t think about where my food came from. I didn’t determine a food’s worth based on its wholesomeness – an apple or a 100 calorie pack at lunch were interchangeable.

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I had already given up those food rules of things being “good” or “bad” but the calories still defined how they fit into my eating habits. After my fitness competition, when I could freely give up calorie counting (and coincidentally a bit later picked up reading blogs), I began to change how I viewed food. Not only did I want to fuel my body with enough food, but also with valuable energy.

I knew my body deserved respect. I wanted to care for the body God had given me. It could do so much for me by surviving years of binging, enduring months of brutal competition prep workouts, carrying a child, and beyond. Why should I not give it my best? And wouldn’t it make sense that the best I could give my body came in the form of the foods God gave us?

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That was how I personally become to understand the importance of giving my body the best quality and choosing the apple over the 100 calorie pack every time. Only I have the choice on what my body receives nutritionally. I still don’t view things as “good” or “bad”. I still will have processed items without any guilt. Now, however, I desire the wholesome foods because of how they support my body, instead of how they support my personal goals or body image. I am still a work in progress and have a lot to learn. Nevertheless, I also know that I will make that progress and continue to honor my body with natural, wholesome foods. Because it deserves it.

  • Have you experienced any shifts in how you view food?
  • What are the biggest influences in your food choices? Without getting preachy, my personal reason lies in trusting God. He gives me so much…including my body’s wellness. To keep that wellness it only makes sense to me to trust God’s food to feed it as well. Just as His word feeds my spirit and joy in life.

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31 Comments to “Self-Love Reflection: Eating Naturally”
  1. I love this post. I use to rely on my calorie count alone. I tried to eat “healthy” but who was I kidding cereal isn’t healthy. Luckily my bf steered me toward eating whole grains and nutrient dense foods. My body responds better and I feel better. 2000 calories of fast food is way different than 2000 calories of lean meat, fruit, and veggies. I eat healthy not to keep fit but bc it’s what my body needs and craves :D

  2. Kara says:

    To be 100% honest, the price determines my food choices. Maybe once my baby goes off her 450 dollar a month formula I can go back to eating what I want versus what is cheaper. Most times I can still eat healthy foods (although the rising cost of produce almost makes 100 calorie packs the same price). The alternative is for me to go back to work so we wouldn’t care about the grocery bill so much, but I like staying at home with my baby too much for that to be a good idea :)

    • Tina says:

      That is hard. Formula (especially specialty ones) are so insanely expensive. Luckily it will only be for a temporary time. You’re doing what is best for you and your family…and still make great choices a lot from what I can tell. :)

  3. Great post- very timely for me! I do sometimes forget to listen for god’s guidance in helping to fuel the body He created. I’ve been having some tough times with eating lately- and using it as comfort instead of fuel. Thanks for writing this! I needed it!

  4. The way I view food had changed so much over the last few years I wouldnt even know where to start. I think I’ve developed a far more balanced, and healthy outlook. I eat more fruits and vegetables because I like them. I eat whole grains because I like them. But I also like processed cheese dip, so I eat that too on occasion. The reason its on occasion is because it makes me feel like crap. I prefer to feel good. Thats why I make the food choices I make.

    • Tina says:

      I still eat things that are far from natural too because I enjoy them. But, you’re right. They don’t make me feel my best so I try to keep it only on occasion. Natural as much as possible is what to shoot for. :)

  5. Allie says:

    Great post! As I have grown up, the way I eat has changed because I just feel better when I don’t eat junk!

  6. Over the past year and a half I lost about 20lbs and it was due to how I was viewing food. I try to “eat clean” as much as possible but don’t deprive my body either if I want an ice cream or processed foods once in awhile.

  7. The way I look at food has changed so much. When I first started Weight Watchers years back, I just looked at the points. I now know that 2 points of something with whole grains is entirely different from a 2 point sugary bar. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you eat whole foods!!

  8. Kristi says:

    I have seen how my tastes have changed… for the better :) I would love to see them change even more throughout the rest of the year. I’m trying to look at it for my health moer then weight loss, but both are a big issue for me right now.

  9. Great post! I have experienced a huge shift over the past 18 months. That’s when I became a vegetarian. Originally it was for moral reasons relating to my love and concern for the welfare of animals but it has so much more meaning now. I had no idea how much better I would feel once I gave up certain things in my diet. I feel better, I sleep better, I have more energy and I just feel lighter. I didn’t know that I didn’t feel good until I really, truly felt GOOD. I try to whole, clean foods as much as I can now. I, like you, still have a processed food or sugar laden treat, but I try to be conscious eater and consumer as much as I can.

  10. lisa says:

    28 years later I have finally found the will power and motivation to actually wanting to eat healthy. I don’t want to eat healthy just to lose weight but so I can look young forever. I want to have a rocking body when I get in my 40s,50′s and 60′s LOL…I’ve been reading tons of books about nutrition and fitness. I’m learning new exercises everyday and most importantly….I am having fun with it! It’s crazy cause for years I have always tried to eat healthy but I feel off the band wagon. But now…I actually WANT to eat healthy and I am…If you eat like crap, you will look like crap. (Sad, but true.) BONUS TIP: The more vegetables you eat, the more weight you will lose. SECRET-LEVEL BONUS TIP: Make your lunch and dinner 50% veggies. No matter how much you eat, strip away everything else to make sure half your meal is veggies. SUPER-SECRET-LEVEL BONUS TIP: It is NEVER too late to start living healthy! Treat food with a sense of balance between “fuel” and “pleasure” it’s all about the food zen.

    Food as Fuel: “What will make my body function at peak performance?”

    Food as pleasure: “ooh, that tastes good”

    Food Zen: Finding *your* balance.

    • Tina says:

      I love the distinction you listed on food as fuel, food as pleasure, and finding the zen balance between the two. Great way of putting it.

  11. Kristen says:

    Love this post! Although I still count calories, I no longer look at the calorie content of a food item when I am planning to buy it – I am looking at the ingredient list to make sure it contains (mostly) REAL, wholesome foods, and no HFCS or trans fat. What I put into my body is more important than how much I put into my body. My view really started shifting once I started reading food blogs. Real food is the way to go (thanks, Kath)!

  12. Lee says:

    I’m not quite where I want to be regarding eating all natural foods but I’m light years away from where I was like 5 years ago. At that time, I ate a ton of fake sweetener, especially Splenda. Now I don’t touch the stuff.

    • Tina says:

      Same here. I still have a lot I know I can improve (IE – I love love love things like candy and DQ), but still believe what matters is learning and growing and making wholesome choices the majority of the time. I have no doubt you do that too! :)

  13. Great post!
    When I started Weight Watchers 5 years ago, it overhauled everything I was eating. It really helped me see what I was eating that was bad and really helped with recognizing portion control.
    Now, I think my biggest influences with food choice is 1) something that I know will help me maintain my weight (terrible, but it will always be true. I’m always in a fight to maintain my weight) and 2) how it will make me feel afterwards. For instance, if it’s too greasy I feel a little sick afterwards because my stomach doesn’t react well. So, I try to pick foods based on that as well. That’s not to say I don’t eat greasy food, but I try to do it sparingly.
    Wow, I just wrote a lot. :-)

  14. You read my mind completely. I used to think that calories were equal – they are.. kind of, but not really. Does that make sense? My body feels its best when the calories I put into it are whole foods!

  15. Hi Tina! I’m a relatively new reader, and must admit, I have been reading a bunch of your older posts. I love your perspective and the sound advice you give!

    I have changed my view of food several times in the past. At one point, I would only eat low calorie “diet” foods when I was super hungry and have a diet pepsi between meals to suppress my appetite. That was when I was solely focused on losing weight. Regardless of whether I was doing it the healthy way or not. Then, a few years later, my view morphed into the idea that “I should only eat organic because it’s healthier”. But, as a recent college grad, that idea doesn’t sit well financially. Recently, I’ve been learning to eat more whole foods instead of “diet” food and frozen meals. It’s still a struggle for me to make the right choice. Even though I know what I should be eating, I often times crave the worst foods. I guess it just comes down to making that choice.

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing it! :)

  16. Raina says:

    Hi, I’m a new reader. My desire to eat healthy has greatly expanded over the years. Before my ed I ate anything i wanted and didn’t even care about how healthy it was. During my ed I cared about what I ate but I ate an extremely low calorie diet. After treatment, I switched to eating all-natural foods and learned how to eat full, good meals that have protein, fats, carbs, and fruits and veggie. I know that it is important to fuel my body the right way and to give it what it needs in order to keep it healthy. By learning to actually EAT and better still eat healthy, it has opened up a whole other world for me. I love the way I feel when I know I am treating my body well with what I eat and have no desire to ever deprive it or feed it unhealthy foods.
    Love your blog!
    I don’t think your preachy at all. God is the reason for my recovery!

  17. i work hard every day to remind myself that i can not judge foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. the less judgment I have around food, the more I go true wants and needs and less ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’.. ya know?

  18. [...] Check out this awesome post by Tina! [...]

  19. ILOVE this post! I used to rely on packaged processed foods just so I knew the calorie count or that it was low fat. I’ve realized just how disgusting the ingredients were in those things and I’m SO glad I’ve switched to whole foods- I feel SO much happier and healthier!

  20. My hubs should read your post! I use him as a barometer of my evolution in terms of food diversity and self image. Yesterday he give me a green light by telling me his most objective opinion: I’m 90% cured of any type of body and eating disorder.

    On the other hand, I know I have my ups and dows, but just like you, I don’t beat myself if I eat pre packed veggies burgers once in a while or if I have a pice of cake. On the rest of the time, my family who recently got sick turned to me as a food guide and changed their diet.

    And yes, food is about God too. You can’t eat crap waiting to feel His blessing cause you will loose Him out of sight because your state of mind is affected by all those processed stuff you just ate !

    Thank you.

  21. Awesome post! I have been focusing more on eating single-ingredient foods and my body feels so much better. It’s surprising how much MORE I can eat and still maintain a healthy weight when eating whole foods. Love this post, so much!!!

  22. rofomom says:

    This was SO well put!!! I am the same way… I have realized that there is no way to be “perfect” all the time. Processed and other kinds of foods find their way into my diet from time to time too and that’s ok… I also.aim to consume foods with a high nutrient value…something that will fuel my body to do the things it was meant to do and to stay healthy for my family. if I notice that early in the day my diet has been low in protein I will aim to consume high quality protein sources to balance it.out I do the same with other nutrients too. I have really loved reading your blog!!! Keep up the good work :)

  23. I had a sort of food revelation earlier this year when I realized that I had actually lost weight since I had abandoned this “must eat salads” mentality. I mean, I was still eating healthy, good for me foods, but I was actually satisfying my cravings for a sandwich on whole wheat bread with some cheese and veggies or some soup from the local bakery. I didn’t always have to have the “best for me” lunch. I could have something I truly craved and still be healthy. Shocker, I know. But it’s amazing how it’s not until you actually see something happen to you do you actually realize it. Anywho… I digress. I don’t have to eat salads all the time to be the best, healthiest me.

    • Tina says:

      Agreed. I eat salads maybe once a week, because while I do enjoy them – they don’t satisfy me as much as a sandwich on wheat bread or raw veggies dipped in hummus or a bowl of whole wheat pasta with fresh veggies.

  24. Karolina says:

    I don’t like how people label foods as “good” and “bad”- although I catch myself doing that sometimes though. I eat junk food without feeling guilty, knowing that I eat healthy foods as well and I get the nutrients that I need.

    • Tina says:

      I try really hard not to label foods as good or bad. I eat whatever I want…but always try to be mindful of what leaves me feeling best. I know I still get sucked into the “good” or “bad” idea though at times!

  25. Sarah says:

    I love this. I think God has made a full and satisfying life available to us- and we are better able to live that life when we full and otherwise take care of our bodies properly. I think we are on the same page, Tina!

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