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Finding Nutritional Balance

Finding Nutritional Balance

April 22, 2024

Cultivating nutritional balance is important for our physical and emotional wellbeing. 

There may be wellness professionals out there who tell you to completely eliminate certain types of food and, in some instances, this may be required, but this advice should only come from medical professionals. 

Because, often, limiting what you eat does more harm than good. 

This blog sets out why this is and provides some tips on creating more of an equilibrium in what you eat.

What is nutritional balance?

To me, nutritional balance is split into two groups:

1.     Eating your micro and macronutrients in balance; and

2.    Being able to enjoy your favourite foods.

When we eat a range of macro and micronutrients we are ensuring we have everything our mind-body system needs to thrive. This switches our mindset from restriction to abundance and can really support our relationship with food.

Appetite Regulation and Cravings

Nutritional balance regulates our appetite and supports us in listening to our hunger cues.

Despite what we like to think, our body knows what it needs to function optimally. So, those cravings can be information as to what our body may be missing, such as a lift of serotonin, an energy boost or a hit of antioxidants. Indeed, a craving for chocolate could be your body’s way of telling you that you are low in magnesium! 

Just as important, particularly for those who struggle with disordered or emotional eating, is knowing that just fancying some ice cream or some crisps is nothing more than you wanting to enjoy some yummy food.

Micronutrient intake

Micronutrients may be teeny tiny, but they play a huge role in nutritional balance. They can communicate with your hypothalamus (the region of the brain most responsible for appetite), so, the more balanced your micronutrients are, the more regulated your appetite will be. 

Additionally, a lot of micronutrients come from fibre, which nourishes your gut and, when broken down by the good bacteria, produce short-chain fatty acids. These are absolute powerhouses in looking after your wellbeing.

So, how can we work to find balance in what we eat?

Below are some ideas on how you can support yourself in finding more balance:

1.     Remind yourself that health and wellbeing (including emotional wellbeing) is about abundance, not restriction. 

2.     Remember that food is there to be enjoyed. Allow yourself to find the joy in each mouthful and remind yourself that, sometimes, eating the chocolate or ice cream you are craving is likely nourishing your wellbeing just as much as eating a plate of vegetables.

3.     Add in a social element to your meals. We remain social creatures and eating in groups, just as our cave-dwelling ancestors did, allows us to feel safe and see eating as an experience to be cherished. (For more information on why socialising is important for wellbeing, click here!)

4.     Remember that overthinking and over restricting what you eat can spike cortisol levels. Chronically high cortisol levels can adversely impact our health, so enjoying what you fancy or are craving is likely to be better for you than denying yourself!

5.     Do not skip meals because you’ve had a ‘treat’ or feel like you need to ‘work it off’ in the gym. Again, this generates a restrictive mindset.

6.     Don’t look at calories – look at flavour!

7.     Increase the amount you cook at home, either for yourself or others. Again, this adds to the experience of eating and creates more mindfulness around what you are eating. And I include baking in home cooking ! (Head over to my recipes page for some ideas!)

I hope you find this helpful and find that you are able to see nourishing yourself as more than just eating chicken and vegetables! If you have any questions, please do reach out!

Note: there are a lot of things that go into finding balance in your nutrition. This can include emotional regulation, issues around body image and limiting beliefs. If any of these apply to you, please reach out (click here) and we can discuss how to support you in overcoming these.

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