Episode 18: Since the kids are back to school and Fall just feels like a season to let go of stuff that isn't serving you, I want to continue helping you with Getting Started healing your relationship with food and your body.
The 6 Strategies to Living your Healthiest Life are terrific places to start, (you've already downloaded them, right?) but you'll need these additional tips and resources to make those steps become solid practices.
Believe me, I get how challenging it is to go from following diet-wellness and lifestyle plans with tons of food rules to all of a sudden trying to ditch the diet mentality. I've been in your shoes trying to figure out what the heck to feed myself after years of following diet rules and prescriptions.
I remember thinking, "I wish someone would just tell me what to eat!" Trying to keep up with all my food rules was literally sucking the joy out of my life (and driving my family bat shit crazy).
If you're at this point of frustration, I want to help you get past those
feelings of "what now" and "what happens if I gain weight?"
On this week's Savor Food and Body Podcast, I'm walking you through one of the very first techniques I use with my one on one clients when we start working together. I call it how Trinity Eating can build a Cast around your relationship with food.
As I was working through this practice with one of my clients, she started calling it the
holy trinity of eating because she grew up Catholic, and since that time the name has stuck. If the religious connotation doesn't sit right with you, feel free to rename it.
The reference to building a cast around your relationship with food is from my mentors
Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, the original authors and creators of Intuitive Eating. I love the visual it creates when it comes to explaining and validating healing your relationship with food.
Here's how it works. If you've ever broken your arm or any limb, you know what it feels
like to have a cast put on. The cast is rigid, can feel awkward to get through your daily routines, but it's there to support healing. After your limb has healed enough to where it's stable without the cast, you get the cast off and start working with physical therapy. Eventually, you're good to go without needing additional intensive care, but maybe still
needing some check-in and continuing with your PT exercises (especially if the injury
happens later in life, we don't tend to bounce back like we did when we were kids -
Let's apply that same scenario to your relationship with food. After years of dieting,
being on and off food lifestyle wellness plans, and eating based on external rules around
food and exercise, your internal relationship with food and your body is broken. It needs
a cast to help it start healing and grow strong again.
Our bodies need consistent nourishment - both in timing and in amount. They also need
variety for satisfaction and balanced nutrients. When you're trying to figure out how to
feed yourself without diet food rules, we need to create a cast that helps you eat
consistently and get balanced nourishment at least in the form of your macro-nutrients.
No, and I repeat NO, you are NOT going to be counting macros or measuring your food.
This is not a "how much do I eat practice." We'll talk about that in a couple of weeks. For now, Cast eating looks like this.
Eating roughly every 2-4 hours and eating a protein, carb, and fat source of food at each meal and snack. That's the short definition.
Here's what an eating timeline (aka meal plan) might look like (don't get hung up on these exact times! It's more important to fit eating into your own daily routine. These times are just an example).
Breakfast 7 am
Snack 10 am
Lunch 1 pm
Snack 4 pm
Dinner 6-7 pm
Dessert or TV snack 8-9 pm (this is important to name this eating time because if you
don't at least allow yourself permission to eat after dinner, you're more likely to eat or
binge eat and then beat yourself up about it - not helpful. So let yourself know that it's
ok to eat during this time if you feel like it).
Now, what to eat. This is where Trinity Eating comes in. Macronutrients are called macro- because we need them in the greatest quantities every day (as opposed to micro-nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), regardless of what diet culture BS is floating around the internet.
Let's break down what foods fit into each category - you can think of it as making a
grocery list for pantry stocking.
Carbs - bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit (fresh or dried), sweeteners like honey, maple
syrup, sugar/candy, tortillas, quinoa, oatmeal, granola, other whole grains, hiking bars,
dairy foods, etc
Protein - meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and lentils, tofu and tempeh, nuts
Fat - oils, butter, lard or shortening, nuts and nut butter, seeds, full-fat dairy, cheese,
When you're trying to decide what to eat during those meal/snack times, choose a
food from each category. There are a couple of caveats...
You'll notice that nuts and dairy can fit into 2 categories. Here's how I make the distinction when I'm deciding what to count them as. If you or someone you know struggles with blood sugar issues, you know that it's important to balance carbs and be aware of how your body handles them (aka needing insulin or medication if you're diabetic or pre-diabetic).
In that case, it's important to recognize most dairy as a carb because there are more grams of carbs compared to grams of fat. The exception here is full-fat dairy and most cheeses. These do have more fat than carbs and can still hang out in the Fats category.
Nuts, seeds, and nut butter are similar. They have protein in them, but they have a high
concentration of fat compared to protein. So they're considered a source of fat.
There's a bit of nuance with this category double-dipping. If you're snack hungry versus meal hungry and you're eating mid-morning or afternoon or after dinner, nuts can serve as BOTH protein and fat. And dairy can serve as BOTH carb and fat (also a protein).
But nuts don't have enough protein for a meal serving of protein and neither does dairy.
It's important to keep in mind that trinity eating isn't meant to be an exact science. Using it to create a cast around your relationship with food is a foundational step toward re-learning how to eat as an Intuitive Eater - a skill we were all born with.
If you've spent years or even decades eating based on external rules created by diet-wellness plans, it's going to feel awkward to have autonomy when it comes to making food choices. But remember, you're learning how to build a life-long practice of nourishing your body. That's going to take some time and with more time to practice, you'll hone your skills so that you can take off the cast and move forward by finding even more freedom around food and compassion for your body.
If you haven't downloaded the 6 Strategies to Live Your Healthiest Life, what are you waiting for?!? Download them, print them off, and listen to episode 17 of the Savor Food and Body Podcast to Get Started healing your relationship with food and your body today!