If “motivation” can actually sabotage your health goals, then what propels them? Inspiration.
What’s the difference? Body related “motivation” too often involves fighting against something: your weight, your body, food. Fear and insecurity are constant companions in this approach—companions that send many women directly to boxes or bags of processed “comfort” food.
Inspiration is riding a wave. Uplifting, empowering, even thrilling ... It’s Lithing in a crisp, beautiful, light-filled studio versus slogging through miserable exercise at a crusty, moldy gym. It’s eating food that makes you feel clean and energized instead of being tortured by exceeding “points” and calorie limits. It’s reveling in a relaxing snow day instead of being angry at the winter.
With food, women often think if they take pleasure in eating, they’ll subsist on excessive amounts of chocolate and ice cream. However, if you start to focus on how food makes you feel, versus the stories you are told, or tell yourself, “irresistible” and “taboo” foods become increasingly less binge-worthy, until they no longer call to you.
To start this transition do an experiment. Stop counting calories and eat ice cream* when you feel like it. You heard me correctly.
Let me explain. A diet soda and many diet foods, have no or few calories. But these artificial sweeteners are guaranteed to cause bloating and aggravate the millions of nerve endings in your stomach. This causes a trip to the candy jar, not only to soothe an unhappy stomach but because artificial sweeteners actually stimulate your appetite, you’re cravings become even more intense and unmanageable. Not inspiring.
*When you feel like ice cream or desserts, why not get creative and make sweets that encourage serotonin production and provide the nutritional value that your body is craving. Try this simple dairy-free ice cream for a power punch of fiber, potassium and other nutrients: The Kitchn One Ingredient Ice Cream. My sister taught me to add one Tablespoon of Sunflower seed butter for an extra iron packed punch and voila, it tastes like peanut butter ice-cream.
The food and diet industry is always trying to invalidate and even mock the secret nutritional weapon of women: our connection to our own intuition and feelings. There is little profit in women listening to themselves and shunning packaged, processed food which is cheap to manufacture and distribute. So, with this in mind, start focusing on how you feel versus what is marketed to you. Listening to yourself is when the magic happens. Is there anything more inspiring?
Ali Shapiro is an author and regular NBC 10! Show contributor and works with individuals and groups to show them how to design their food and life to experience waitless living™. To sign-up for her newsletter, click here.
Images via Ali Shapiro, The Kitchn and Lauren Boggi via Dominic Episcopo for Everlast.