Saturday, August 13, 2011

Creating a Balance that Includes Food

Food is fuel. There’s no denying that. We have to eat so that our bodies have energy to help us perform daily functions. It is important that we eat foods that are healthful and contain all of the nutrients that our bodies need to function well and so that we stay healthy. We have to fuel our bodies with quality fuel in order to function well physically and even for our mental health. If we are eating deep fried foods, sugary drinks, and filling up on empty calories—we aren’t going to feel well physically which can in turn make us feel poorly mentally and emotionally.

But food isn’t just fuel. We do eat for pleasure. We all enjoy a flavorful and satisfying meal. There’s more to it than just eating to fuel our bodies, we have to enjoy what we’re eating too. As we begin to eat healthfully, our tastes change and we begin to crave those foods that are healthy and satisfying. But I think we all want a slice of cheesecake (whatever your “cheesecake” would be) once in a while.

Do we NEED the cheesecake? No. Our bodies do not need cheesecake to function. But mentally, it can be satisfying and indulging in our cravings in moderation can help us to feel satisfied and avoid a binge later so that we never feel deprived.

It’s easy to forget that our mental health is just as much an important part of our health as even heart health. There has to be a balance in body, mind, and spirit in order to feel our best.

There is a difference between eating a piece of cheesecake and hardly even realizing that we’ve eaten it and eating a piece of cheesecake and being truly present and savoring each bite.

Food is a part of every culture. We cannot think about foods as being good or bad, it’s just food. Learning to eat everything in moderation is always the key. But I also don’t feel that there is anything wrong with enjoying a good slice of cheesecake, as long as we are present when we are doing so, which means knowing when we are satisfied and not feeling guilty when we are finished. No, our bodies don’t physically NEED it, but we can enjoy it and still remain balanced. Food is meant to be enjoyed. Part of forming a healthy relationship with food is acknowledging that it’s ok to enjoy food. It’s ok to savor the flavors. We can get pleasure from eating and that’s ok.

But, for me, it’s about balance. I know when I feel my best overall. It is when I am fueling my body with healthful foods and exercising regularly, when I am faithful in my spiritual life, when I am treasuring my relationships with others, and when I am enjoying life—whether it be experiencing new activities, eating delicious foods (in moderation), reading a good book, or pampering myself. Ultimately, there is a mind, body and spiritual connection and it’s ok for food to be a part of that.

And this is something that I want to work on. I don’t want to feel guilty every time I eat something that isn’t considered a “diet food.” I want to have a healthy relationship with food. I want to work on creating that balance when I know that I feel my best.

So what do you think? When do you feel balanced? Do you have a healthy relationship with food or do you struggle with guilty feelings when you indulge mindfully?

This post is purely my own opinion based on my own personal experience.


  1. I tend to be an all or nothing girl. I either have to be doing really good eating right. Because if I eat one thing that is not healthy I feel I have blown it for that day and eat anything I want. When I lose the weight I always think I have it figured out. HECK know I'm back where I started. I just keep take one step at a time sometimes my steps go backwards.

  2. Unfortunately, I have to agree with Penny right now! It's not healthy, and I'm working on it (not just with dieting, but everything) but I'm definitely an all-or-nothing type, too. I'll get there sooner or later, but right now it would just be too easy to slip!

  3. I don't feel extremely guilty as long as I stay within my points, but when I don't then I experience a lot of guilt.

  4. I have a much, much better relationship with food now than I used to have, and it makes life so much easier. When you lose the guilt for having something like a cupcake or bacon - it loses its power and just becomes food.

  5. This week, I feel balanced and happy! Last week, ugh - awful. But last week I was making bad food choices each day for several days. I know better, so I do carry a lot of guilt and condemnation when I do that. I know I'm defeating my purpose! Today was GREAT. My hubby and I celebrated our 12th anniversary today while his mom watched our 4 kids. We had Mexican, and then we went to Maggie Moo's (an ice cream shop). I felt so in control. I immediately asked for the kid's size scoop. When I got home, I looked up what I had and it was 10 points. I loved every bite of it, and it was very much worth it! :) No guilt involved. I have had a great food week, and this was a treat. Tonight at the store I bought the 90 calorie Fiber One brownies. I really wanted to try one tonight, but I was able to convince myself that I didn't NEED that... I had already had that ice cream today as my treat. Instead, I sauteed up some zucchini with sea salt and it was wonderful. And I felt extra happy for making that smart choice. I believe *mindful* indulgence is imperitive to staying on track longterm. That's why I love WW. :)

  6. Haha. I probably bought those Fiber One brownies because the pic was on your site. I just relooked and saw it. I had a coupon... suckers me in every time! ;)

  7. This is such a great post. I really believe in enjoying, really savoring, delicious food. It's such an important part of what makes us human, and what brings us joy. But I can completely relate to having inhaled a slice of cheesecake without even tasting's all about slowing down and not letting our bodies or emotions go onto autopilot.

  8. Love this post Alissa. MOST days I feel balanced. Moderation not deprivation has helped me lose over 30 lbs. However, lately I've been pretty lax in discipline, so time to slow down, smell the roses and savour the cheesecake! :) Have a great Monday.



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