You can probably tell from this photo of me an amazing plate of French toast…
I really love food.
A lot of the clients I work with love food too.
Yet many of them have been pulled into diet culture over the years, and been left with a poor relationship with it as a result.
Diets lead us to believe that certain foods are good, and others are bad.
If we eat the ‘bad’ ones, we feel naughty, or bad or guilty.
We think we’ve ruined it, so we might as well carry on… Start again tomorrow…. or next week.
But there is a MUCH better way.
You can still enjoy your favourite foods while reaching and maintaining a weight where you feel at your best.
Without following a restrictive diet plan.
It’s called balanced eating, and it’s a very enjoyable way to live.
It sounds a bit vague just said like that, so let me explain how it works.
What is balanced eating?
Balanced eating means freedom around food. Nothing off limits.
But then I’ll just eat everything… I’ll never lose weight!
This is often what people think. But it’s not how it works.
First, because we still approach it with a plan and a few key principles to follow, of which I’ll explain more below.
And second, because when you remove the restriction around food, it loses a lot of it’s appeal.
It’s not bad or forbidden anymore. It’s just food. Tasty, delicious food that still makes you happy when you eat it.
But also something you can come back to anytime.
So why not wait until you’re really hungry, and you really want it, and can enjoy every bite to the max?
If you’re like the clients I work with, you actually really want to be healthy and treat your body well.
You don’t enjoy the feeling of eating too much junk. It makes you feel stuffed and bloated and generally bleurgh, right?
You just want to be able to indulge in your favourite foods now and again.
You want to stop at the right time, feeling satisfied and in control.
And you can absolutely do that.
Balanced eating in action
It’s about being intentional.
Planning healthy nourishing foods most of the time, as a default, because they give you energy and empower you to feel at your best.
But also leaving room for the best of whatever else you love.
Choosing your moments to indulge, and enjoying every bite when you do.
Note some of the words above – intentional, planning, choosing.
These are key, because life is pretty hectic and delicious foods are everywhere.
Without being intentional and planning ahead, balance is harder to find. We’re more likely to have cravings, stress eat, grab convenient options on the go, and lose track of what we’ve eaten.
Many people feel that planning, and deliberately eating healthy most of the time, is restrictive.
But from a different perspective, you can see it as creating more freedom.
Freedom to be who you really want to be. To achieve your goals, feel happy and proud in a body you love, AND enjoy your favourite foods too.
Planning your food ahead of time means:
a) you free yourself up to focus on the day. You’ve written the script with food choices – now you just need to follow it. No more brain power is required. Go for what you decided already, enjoy it, and move on.
b) you free yourself up to enjoy the BEST of whatever else you love. Sticking to your plan helps cut out extra calories you don’t need from habit snacking and spur of the moment poor choices.
That enables you to build up a little calorie bank account. Some of those funds can be spent on mindfully enjoying your favourite indulgences. And the rest can be banked for weight loss.
Building better eating habits
So, planning the day helps you out a lot, and we can benefit from intention at each meal too.
Enter the HABITS tool.
This HABITS acrostic came from a very good book that I’ve recommended to some of my clients – Love Food Love You by Sally Plevin (if you’re interested, you can find it on amazon HERE).
It’s well worth checking out if you struggle with emotional eating, and want to improve your relationship with food and your body. Here’s the points to think about.
H – Hunger – before eating, check in with your body. Are you actually hungry?
A – Awareness – is it physical or emotional hunger? (Physical hunger tends to build gradually, emotional hunger is often sudden and intense)
B – Body – what does your body want? What food will make you feel good and nourished in an hour’s time?
I – Intention – set your intention for the meal so you can be fully present and enjoy it, for example: ‘I’m going to mindfully enjoy every bite of this food’
T – Time – take your time. Notice the taste. Enjoy every mouthful.
S – Stop – when you are full. Eating slowly helps you notice when your body has had enough.
To add to this, having the rule of ‘no foods off limits’ makes it easier to stop eating when satisfied.
You can enjoy any food guilt-free and stop when you’ve had enough, knowing you can have that food again anytime.
Eating when actually hungry (a novel concept!)
Three things to think about when it comes to hunger:
1. If hunger is not the problem, food is not the solution.
Eating might provide enjoyment and a temporary distraction, but the problem will still be there and you’ll feel worse after for eating food you didn’t need.
2. Nothing is worth eating when you’re not truly hungry for it.
It doesn’t taste anywhere near as good, and it doesn’t make you feel good.
Can you save it? Is it worth it? How will you feel tomorrow based on the decision you make now – will you be glad you ate it, or glad that you didn’t?
3. It’s better in the bin than in your body as calories you didn’t need and didn’t even particularly enjoy.
This thought has been a game-changer for many of my clients.
It’s so easy to eat the kid’s leftovers, or finish our plates because we don’t want to ‘waste food’.
But it’s far more wasted in your body, making you unhappy, than it will be in the bin. If you don’t want it or need it, don’t have it. You deserve better. Eating unnecessary food doesn’t help anyone, especially you.
Save it for later, or bin it and move on (choosing to feel proud rather than guilty – that is a choice you can make!).
Balanced eating for weight loss
Much of what we read can lead us to believe that carbs, sugar, fat, or something other than the actual scientific truth are causing us to gain weight. And stopping us from losing it.
The actual scientific truth is that to lose weight, we need to be consuming less calories than our body is burning off. This is known as being in a calorie deficit.
If you are in a calorie deficit, you can include any foods and food groups, and you will see progress.
Successful long term weight loss doesn’t come from cutting out certain foods or food groups. It comes from knowledge, awareness, and creating a balanced lifestyle you love.
Many people (maybe you?) have experienced temporarily losing weight via diets and restriction.
What that tends to create is a damaged relationship with food, and regaining the pounds once the diet is done.
You deserve better.
If you’re like the clients I work with, you want balance, fun, freedom around food – combined with the discipline to make mostly great choices – and lasting success.
As a nutrition and weight loss coach, my goal for you as my client is two-fold.
I want to help you get to your goal in the easiest, most enjoyable way.
I also want to empower you with the knowledge and tools to maintain your results for life.
So alongside finding balance, building healthy habits, and enjoying favourite foods guilt-free…
We spend some time learning about portion sizes, calories and nutrition.
And we deep dive into mindset – covering emotional eating, motivation, self-care and more.
All of this comes together to empower you with tools and skills you need – to feel at your best, and maintain a healthy weight for life.
To sum up
For health, happiness, and sustainable lasting weight loss…
Don’t waste your time following restrictive plans that aren’t doable for life, and beating yourself up for what you eat.
Invest it in building a better relationship with food.
Plan mostly healthy choices that make you feel great.
Leave room for your favourite indulgences now and again too.
Practice being consistent, not perfect, and refusing to beat yourself up if you make a mistake.
Learn something from it, make your next choice a great one, and keep going.
Success comes from working with your body, not against it.
Keeping active. Drinking enough water. Getting enough sleep.
Taking care of yourself with quality nutrition.
Choosing what simply makes your soul happy now and again, and enjoying every delicious bite of that too.
Being kind to yourself, always.
Thinking, living and eating in the way that makes you feel best.
Does this sounds like what you want, but you need help to achieve it?
Find out more about online coaching here: