The hot topic every spring is DETOX and CLEANER EATING, is it not?
Why is that? Because summer is on its way!
Even if your body is looking swimsuit ready, the ritual and system of eating according to the season is a rite for everyone. Changing eating habits around this time of year is also much easier and we are more likely to succeed and sustain great changes if we learn why and how.
In this article I wanted to share 3 small tips for you to create and sustain healthy changes to your personal eating habits. Just above them, I have also shared about my 30 year search for the secret formula to Eating Right + what helped me make the lasting change.
Scroll down to see my 3 tips to create lasting change...
My food journey...
Tracking back to being a 12 year old, I remember fainting because I decided not to eat for a day. Why? because someone said I was on the heavier side with a look of disapproval.
As I grew older, in trying to fit in with the "health fanatics" I tried the 10 day liquid fast, the no carbs diet, no meat diet, fruit fasts and suffered major relapses of emotional eating habits when no one was watching to cope with the anxieties of life. I recall always feeling insecure about my weight, always having a squirmy feeling in my stomach, never feeling satisfied with what I ate and always wanting to be thinner than I was. Yet, I was always eating the things that I knew were misaligned to my health goals, that made me feel guilty and unhealthy. Talk about being a self-saboteur!
So over time I lost faith in myself because I had created enough evidence that I was never going to change and believed that I didn't have the strength it took to make positive and lasting changes. Oh I also compared my life to Bollywood celebrities, saying "if only I had the whole day to spend at the gym, then I too would be as fit as them" My values were totally out of place!
Later I found others just like me, and got to know it's quite common to go through this before deciding "IT'S ENOUGH" or in my case, I got quite sick while overseas. One day, 9 years ago, I experienced a high fever, my breath felt shallow, I could not move or eat solids for nearly 3 days and I tried to sleep through it, because I told myself I was a "yogi". I was living in Paris then. My weight was great, I was in good shape, and I was practicing yoga daily and sometimes twice a day. So how could I have something going on inside?! On the 4th day I finally made my way to the local GP and found out that my iron levels had dropped so low that if I did not take supplements I would basically become Anemic. Did I know the actual answer as to HOW it got so bad, so quickly? No. Because the doc didn't ask me any more questions. And because I got my quick supplement fix, I was able to move on for the time being.
Shortening it to 4 years ago, when I met my Ayurvedic Mentor, Teacher and Practitioner I finally found out what actually broke my camel's back and became my own research and development project to heal my iron deficiency on a mental, spiritual and physical level.
Now, we all know blood is the juice of life. With good blood flow we breathe. When our breath is great we feel vital. Need I say more about the transformation I have felt healing this way? What helped me get committed though was my realization that I wanted to have a long standing career in serving others to improve their health. I realized that I wanted to live with purpose every day of my life and my nutrition plan needed to match who I wanted to become, so that I could keep serving with vigor, joy and enthusiasm throughout my life and not burn out early in the tracks. I decided to make the changes with new values in place.
Another truth that helped me commit to Ayurvedic eating is when I noticed health is not about quick fixer uppers, or HACKS. Health is the state of the relationship I have with my body and mind.
So while all the public information I was reading lead me to shift my mindset, however to achieve the next level of success I had to personalize my nutrition plan and take responsibility to eating with awareness.
Now I know most of you reading this article are already health oriented, not just for your body but for every area of your life. I know you value overall well being, and are probably already eating to detoxify to transition to the warmer days ahead. So to help you along your journey to sustaining those healthy changes to your diets here are my 3 Tips that I normally share with my private clients now:
1) Be aware of your digestion. Daily notice, how many times you are eating and if your body has fully digested the food you ate last. Sometimes we eat from boredom or sometimes we ignore hunger pains / sensations in the body for when we are meant to be eating. If you are in the habit of not eating for long periods of time, and then eat something to tie you over, over time this will aggravate your digestive fire for eating incorrectly. So, even if you do eat, the food will not be digested correctly to acquire the sustenance and nutrition your body needs. Or you might be the constant grazer that always eats till they fall asleep, you might also be weakening your digestion over time - it is a good thing to take note of tip no. 2 below.
2) Bring awareness to how you feel after you eat your meals. i.e. Do you feel Energized? Or Lethargic and Heavy? Or Bloated or Acidic? noticing the reaction your food is having in your body is a good sign for whether what you are eating is serving you or not. If you feel dull, heavy, bloated or lethargic after your meals, you are eating foods that are making your digestion sluggish. A sign that your digestive system is finding it difficult to break it down. In case you suffer from heart burns or acid re-flux try to drink warm fennel tea after your meals to help with this, paired with correction in your choice of foods.
3) Take note of what you are eating throughout the day and the time you are eating them. One of our biggest problem is that we don't pay much attention to what we are actually eating at the time we are eating them. Why is this important? Because eating even the right foods at the wrong time translates to poison for the body. Example: Eating curd / yogurt at night is a big No in Ayurveda. Why? because while curd is an excellent source of good bacteria and aids in digestion. At night, it will lead to mucus development and increase allergy flair ups, coughs and colds. But if you can't go without it, opt for buttermilk instead.
The above steps are what I ask my private clients to take to help them bring awareness to how they might take responsibility, to make informed choices on what they eat, and to stay motivated to stay committed.
What are your thoughts on this? Let me know how you found my 3 tips and feel free to comment below on any other topic you would like me to write on next.
Until the next one, happy living!
Supriya Roy (Ayurveda Practitioner & Founder of Seva Yoga)