Achieving emotional wellbeing involves understanding how our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are all connected. If we deal with them in unhealthy ways, it will affect our overall wellbeing. Learning to accept them with compassion, and without judgement and putting the right steps in place means we can flourish in our emotional wellbeing.
I spent a long time over exercising and pushing my body through pain. I would force myself to exercise so I could “earn” food to eat that day. I only viewed exercise as a way to control my weight. It was only during my recovery that I learnt that exercise didn’t have to be crazy workout regimes, just moving our body daily in a way that we enjoy is just as beneficial.
What is the first thing you think of when it comes to exercise? Push ups? Burpees? Hard work? Boring? Pain? Weight? Calorie burning? I hear you . Exercise can get a bad rap but it doesn’t have to be that way.. I don’t even like to call it exercise anymore, just because of the negative connotations, so I renamed it fun with movement. There are so many ways to move your body. Do you remember when you were a kid and you could run around for hours and would never get bored or tired? What if I could tell you that you can unleash your inner child again and have fun with movement. Here are 5 tips to get you started.
Self-care is the first step to wellbeing. Adequate self-care is critical as we are unable to connect to our body and listen to what it needs when it is lacking. Self-care is about listening to our gut, respecting and caring for ourselves, being true to who we are, developing wisdom and trust, and doing what is right for us and us only. Recognising how important we are, and learning to accept every single about us is also key.
Binge eating is different from overeating. Binge eating is feeling out of control with food, and eating large amounts of food in a very short time period. Overeating is eating past fullness and feeling uncomfortable. We all overeat sometimes, this is a normal part of life. When I experienced my fist binge eating episode, it was like I was possessed. All I could think about was getting food in and fast. I was swallowing foods nearly whole, desperately trying to get them in. I felt completely out of control of my body. I’ll never forget the experience and I’ll never forget how much shame and guilt I felt.
Following on from my 5 easy nutritious breakfast ideas, here are my 5 easy and nutritious lunch ideas. Most of these are very simple and flexible, and they just use a combination of the main food groups. I have provided a big list of ideas that you can choose from. If you don’t like any of the ingredients, you can chop and change with things that you do like. Remember eating for pleasure is key!
We all use food emotionally in some way, if its celebrating with cake on a birthday, going out for dinner to celebrate, holidays or rewarding ourselves with a yummy dessert. And that is ok and is a normal part of life, but when we use food as a coping mechanism, or to numb certain feelings, it can be tricky if that is our only way of dealing with emotions.
When we eat quickly, watch TV, read, or work during mealtimes it is hard for us to hear when we are full. In order to experience fullness and contentment after our meals and snacks, we need to eat when we aren't too hungry and what we truly want and need without distraction. Feeling fullness can be challenging. We are conditioned from a young age to finish everything on our plate! It takes time and practice.
I used to categorize foods as “good” or “bad” and I had a long list of foods that I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to eat. Food is just food; no moral judgements should be placed on food. Of course, some foods are more nutrient dense than others but labelling foods “good” or “bad” and depriving ourselves of certain foods only leads us to obsessive food thoughts, cravings, overeating and binging.
It’s been a while since I got creative with one of my food as medicine recipes, and as I was craving cookies, I decided it was time to get baking again! As with my other recipes, I have included lots of functional foods- namely chia seeds, maca powder, peanut butter, cacao, ginger and rolled oats. If you would like to read the history of these therapeutic foods, as well as their healing benefits, then check out my food as medicine blog here. These cookies turned out really well and were delicious. If you would like them crunchier, I would recommend adding some chopped nuts. This recipe made 16 small cookies.
One of the things that played a significant role in my recovery from my ED was being out in nature. It is hard to explain how it made me feel, but it was almost that my problems didn’t feel as extensive when I was enclosed in such vast and beautiful surroundings. Even though there were days that I didn’t want to leave the house, I would force myself to get out and take a walk on the beach or head down to a national park on the weekend. Afterwards, I always felt like I was making a small step closer towards recovery.
One of the principles of intuitive eating is letting go of dieting. I know what you are thinking, it is a bit of a scary concept. I know. I was really scared too. How do we let go of the thing we have been doing most of our lives? We know this deep down, but diets don’t work. If they worked then we would all have found a solution by now.
When you hear the term body love, how does it make you feel?
For me, body love is something that I have tried. No matter how hard I looked in the mirror and told myself that I “loved” what I saw, I didn't wholeheartedly believe it. In the last 8 years, I have been in a smaller body, a medium body and a larger body and I have not once have I loved my body.