Feeding vs. Fueling

A saying I recently picked up from the book Eat what you Love, Love what you Eat (highly recommend it) has become my motto: Fuel your body 99% of the time, so you can feed your cravings 1% of the time. Both require mindful eating, portion control, and balance- the difference is in the choice. When working on weight loss, making the right choice is an hourly task.

Fueling your body: We are designed to eat to provide essential nutrients to our body: protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, water etc. Feeding a craving: We are also designed as creatures of pleasure. We enjoy food. We enjoy building a community and emotional situations around food. We celebrate with food; we mourn with food. We comfort with food. We are designed with the base of community and acceptance around food.

So why when we try to live a healthy lifestyle, do we feel we have to avoid foods or even cut out completely certain food groups? I think of a time I was a child. My mother decided we were going to be a sugar-free family. For 2 years we followed a “sugar” free life at home, unless it was a birthday, celebration, or holiday. In those 2 years, I devoured sugar at each opportunity I had. I knew I would not be getting it at home so instead of the normal one, maybe two cookies at Christmas- I ate the WHOLE tray. Instead of the serving of ice cream and cake at a birthday, I went back for seconds. I would sneak chocolate chips into my toy purse and hide away in my room eating them. What was driving this uncontrollable force? I felt Deprived. When we feel deprived, we tend to do the opposite of what we have been working on: we overindulge.

I love the guidelines Hap (hap.org) presents for eating to fuel your body and curb cravings. Practicing the basics of healthy habits: mindful eating, portion control, balanced meals, they add on with three simple tips:

  1. Fiber: Fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains keeps us feeling full. We tend to eat less than the recommended amount of 25-38 grams of fiber per day, we are closer to 13 grams/day. Adding fiber rich foods to your meal can help us feel full faster, compared to having simple starches that are low in fiber and other nutrients.
  2. Fuel vs. Feeding: Know your intentions. If you are focusing on providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function, what I call Fueling, you will practice having balanced meals of macronutrients. In the times when we mindfully decide to enjoy a celebration, what I call Feeding a Craving, we know we are not eating to fuel, we are eating to enjoy. Simple, small portions.
  3. Balance: Review your plate and portion sizes. Looking at our plates, the main question we should be asking ourselves is Do I have a balanced plate? Meaning, do you have vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein, and fats in the right portions? Our eyes can be very helpful in recognizing color and variety, but when it comes to portion control that can be very misleading. Portion control begins with an accurate understanding of the recommended and or appropriate serving size of your foods. The best way to practice portion control is with a food scale

Cheers to Health & Happiness,

Becca, NDTR

#Perseverance #HLPC