Holistic Nutrition: A Radical Form of Self-Love
Imagine you are caring for an adorable little child, say they are 6 years old. Perhaps for you, this little one is your best friend's child, or your little cousin, or even your own child.
This little one, who simply adores you, is looking forward to spending fun one-on-one time with you, having you teach them something cool, and feeling securely safe with you as they trust that you are going to take really good care of them.
Now imagine that child is your own inner child.
How would you treat this child differently knowing that it's you versus knowing that it's your best friend's little one? Nurturing ourselves in terms of parenting our inner child is an extremely helpful method of loving ourselves well.
As a Holistic Nutritionist I often use this technique to have clients think beyond themselves yet, in fact, think more of themselves. If a client is avoiding meals, it is effective to illustrate that denying oneself of a meal is like denying that sweet 6 year old, now hungry child, a healthy meal. It is helpful to have a client empathize with the needs of a child as it sometimes feels easier to love a child than it is to love ourselves.
This is why nourishing yourself is the most radical form of self-love.
When you prepare a nutritious meal for yourself, especially when making a meal is the very last thing that you want to do, you are telling your inner child that they are worth taking care of. Nutrients are critical for the development of that child and the same is true for you. Not only will you feel proud of yourself for showing that act of love, but you have just provided the nutrition (even if it was just nut butter on toast and a banana) that your body can use to heal, strengthen, rejuvenate and empower you to have a better day.
What you eat is of course important to your overall health, but how you eat is also vital.
Eating behaviours such as eating while standing at the sink, not sitting down to a table to eat, not making a plate for yourself since you will just eat the scraps from your toddler’s dish, not nourishing yourself well during the day only to come home and binge in the evening, are messages to your inner child that “you are not worth preparing a meal for...I don’t have time for you...you don’t deserve anything...just eat the scraps as others’ needs are more important than yours...I have neglected you all day so just go and eat whatever you want!” And these messages pave the way to disordered eating.
To build a nurturing environment around food, make even the simplest of meals, use the fancy dishes, sit down at your table, light a candle, don’t let anyone give you their scraps (life advice applicable to many areas), take pause from your hectic day, savour and chew your food! You are worth taking the time to make and enjoy each meal!
As always, there is the question of how many calories, marcos, points? But to that I say “stop counting and start listening!”
There is so much tension in the realm of nutrition between eating enough and eating too much. We can find the balance in this tension when we effectively gauge our true hunger - and tips to understanding this could be a complete blog all on its own. Hunger cues are one of many forms of communication from the body and each one is an opportunity to show love to ourselves. If you are recognizing hunger cues, your body is asking for a meal. Eat Up! If you are not feeling hunger cues, perhaps you are not in need of nutrients and therefore should not force yourself to eat.
Or, you are in fact truly hungry, BUT your body isn’t communicating hunger cues as it doesn’t feel as though it is a safe time to ask to be fed since you are so stressed and overwhelmed. The latter is often true for binge eaters; they feel unsafe while out and about throughout their day, but when safe at home, hunger cues ramp up.
This is the body being in a survival state, not a thriving state. But the good news is that you can change this! I encourage you to start living as though you were caring for your inner child. As you listen, teach, discipline, nourish, and spend fun quality time with each other, your love and respect for yourself will bloom.
The next opportunity to show yourself this depth of love is as early as your next meal!
Meet the author
Naomi Law, The Mental Health Nutritionist
Naomi Law, The Mental Health Nutritionist and Registered Holistic Nutritionist helps others create healthier lives through teaching them how to intentionally care for their body, mind and spirit. Using nutrition as the foundation of her practice she specializes in providing counsel for Mental Health, Weight Management and Stress Reduction through her Online sessions to clients around the globe from her hometown in Ontario, Canada.
“...I am not offering a crash diet, generic meal plan, or a magic pill. I am offering the opportunity to transform your health… And it all starts with love. When we choose to love ourselves, just as we are, that is when dramatic life change can begin!" - Naomi Law