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Self Care Through Food
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During the busy holiday season, food can be part of your self care routine

 

a middle aged woman sits on a couch cross legged drinking a cup of tea In our fast-paced, productivity-focused world, making time for a self care routine is a challenge. Add to that living during a global pandemic, and well, self-care can feel like a foreign concept to many of us.

I think that is why self-care has become a buzzword in recent years. It is an essential life and health improving practice that we need to build into our daily routine to help manage the pressure and chaos that can be life. It is necessary, but it is not always easy.

What to include in a Self Care Routine

A good self care routine involves taking time to slow down and identify what you need to do for yourself, and then actually doing it. It is about focusing on what serves you best in the moment. It sounds simple, but can be very challenging to do!
The common assumption is that self-care involves bubble baths, spa treatments, eating your favourite food, and nights out with friends, however, self-care is about so much more than that.

Self-care involves self-compassion and showing you value yourself and your time. That might mean some of the ideas listed above, but it can also mean taking a nap, saying “no” to a night out, hitting up a boxing class, phoning a support person to ask for help, making sure you eat enough during a day, or getting outside to refresh. Self care can mean going to therapy, writing in a journal, asking for help, taking a timeout, or really anything that is focused on meeting a need for yourself.

collage of self care activities including talking with a friend, yoga, bubble bath and walking outside

 

Nourshing your body is also a need, so self care includes food. The trouble is that many of us have a messy relationship with food. How we use food doesn’t always feel like self-care and sometimes, food can add to our sense of overwhelm.

 

Food as Part of your Self Care Routine

How can we change that? We can work on how we use food and start using food and nutrition in a self-compassionate way.

For example, I can be quite utilitarian in how I use food. I am a very hungry person and, historically, do not leave much time in my day for preparing meals. This means that sometimes food just fills a void and allows me to get on with my day. Well that doesn’t sound very caring does it? Full credit goes to a client of mine, who is pretty similar to me in how they were using food, for recognizing that how they chose to prepare food for themselves, when they had time to give, was a way of showing themselves how much they valued themselves.

Both of us enjoy food and enjoy the foods we eat, but our approach to personal nutrition lacked time, effort, care, and attention. The resulting food was missing something. It was less than satisfactory at times. There was no care taken in how we nourished ourselves.

Self Care Ideas Including Food

I challenge you to try one more more of these food-related self care strategies:

 

Take time to prepare and eat something you will truly enjoy.

Show yourself how much you value you, by giving time and attending to your meal both in preparation and eating

Once a week or once a month, take the time to slow down. Think of what you would really enjoy having for dinner.
Try a new recipe or an old favourite. I, your dietitian, do not care about the nutritional value you perceive to be in this meal, but rather how much you will enjoy it.
Enjoy the process. Put some music on in the kitchen while you prepare the food. Set the table and sit to eat without distractions like your phone or the TV.

 

Taste your food

Slow down, sit down and let your food do its job!
Food tastes a lot better when it is tasted. I don’t know about you, but the best tasting meals I have eaten were never on the run, in front of the computer screen at work, while driving, or while standing at the kitchen counter.
Food should be enjoyable as well as be something that makes you feel nourished and energized. Let it be healthful AND soulful.

 

Create connection around food

family of diverse young adults cooking a spagheti supper togetherFood is social. So, if you can, safely create a food experience with friends, family, and loved ones.
One of my favourite food-related experiences has always been to try foods that are my friend’s favourites. When they share their food with me, it comes with a story and allows me to get to know them even better.
You could also try a new food together. Whether ordering takout from the same restaurant or preparing the same food home over video conferencing, experiencing new flavours together helps build connection.

 

Strengthen your food intuition.

Ask yourself, “What would serve me best in this moment?”, instead of “what is the healthiest or best choice for me”.
The healthiest foods are the ones that fuel you towards truly enjoying all the flavors of your life.

 

The right self care routine for you is unique to you. I encourage you to try some new approaches just to see how they feel. If you want help repairing your relationship with food or to explore how you are currently using food, reach out to a dietitian who can help!

Find out more about the Virtual Dietitian services provided by the Health Stand team of Online Nutritionists specializing in meal planning, weight concerns, emotional eating, eating disorders, digestive health, heart health, diabetes, sports nutrition and more here: Dietitian Nutrition Counseling Programs.

Looking for more simple meal planning tips and healthy recipes for a healthier lifestyle? Sign up for our weekly newsletter for a healthy recipe of the week (and nutrition articles and videos with a balanced living philosophy to help encourage healthy habits but still save room for your favorites). Our nutrition newsletter is written by the Online / Calgary Nutritionists on our team who each hold a professional Registered Dietitian license to ensure you are getting credible advice.

 

Sign-up for our free weekly nutrition newsletter: Nutrition Newsletter by our Calgary Nutritionist / Online Dietitian team.

 

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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