6 Simple Rules to Transform Your Relationship with Food and Become Your Healthiest Self
In pursuit of improved health, embracing the idea that lifestyle is medicine can profoundly impact our relationship with ourselves and the food we eat. By recognizing that our lifestyle choices can serve as powerful tools to promote health and prevent disease we will empower ourselves to develop a deeper appreciation for the importance of self-care that will emphasize the interconnectedness of our daily habits and well-being. Adopting these six simple rules, which I call the Kim Shapira Method, into your life will help steer you toward a healthier, more mindful approach to eating and well-being in 2024:
1. Eat When You Are Hungry:
Start by tuning in to your body’s hunger signals and eat only when you truly feel physically hungry. To ease into this practice, start by eating only half of your usual portion size this week. Take the other half and put it on hold and wait fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes check back in with your body and see if you need more food now or can wait a bit til you are hungry again. Embrace the discomfort of feeling hungry at times, knowing it’s a natural part of honoring your body’s needs. The goal is not to stay hungry; the goal is to know you are safe when you are hungry. We eat on average twenty-one meals each week. Ideally you should be hungry 3-5 times a day. Don’t forget to slow down and savor each bite, paying attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of your food. Mindful eating helps you become more attuned to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, preventing overeating and promoting a healthier relationship with food.
2. Eat What You Love, and make sure the foods love you back:
Allow yourself to enjoy the foods you love but do so mindfully and with awareness of your hunger levels. Try avoiding labeling food as good, bad, healthy or unhealthy. Instead, eat it when you are hungry and foods that you love. You are starting with half, so you have a fail-safe that you won’t be overeating. And notice how the food makes you feel. Avoid eating foods that upset your stomach, or that make you feel sick. You have lots of choices. And this can be fun to explore new foods to fall in love with. Avoid eating out of boredom, stress, or habit, and instead, savor each bite when you’re truly hungry.
3. Eat Without Distractions:
We eat for four reasons: Hunger, emotional reasons, cravings and because the food is in front of us. It’s important to know where your mind is and to practice bringing it back into the moment you are in. One trick I like to use is to ask myself, “what time zone is my mind in?” If it’s not in this moment, take some deep breathes. This will help create the pause between the idea to eat and the action. Create moments of mindfulness by eating without distractions. Turn off electronic devices, step away from work, and focus solely on the act of eating. While family meals are encouraged, ensure that you remain tethered to rule one by honoring your body’s hunger cues. Let go of perfectionism and embrace progress over perfection.
4. Walk 10,000 Steps Everyday:
Incorporate movement into your daily routine by aiming to walk 10,000 steps each day. Whether it’s through dedicated walks, taking the stairs, or pacing while on calls, find opportunities to increase your daily activity levels and support your overall well-being. This will improve your mood, help you maintain your weight, improve digestion and even help with brain health. Remember that transforming your relationship with food is more than just what you eat.
5. Drink 8 cups of water everyday:
Stay hydrated, prioritize hydration by drinking 8 cups of water throughout the day. Keep in mind too much of a good thing is too much. Eight cups is the perfect number. Try to taper off drinking by six pm to ensure you get a great night sleep. Proper hydration not only supports digestion but also helps regulate appetite, temperature and energy levels. Keep a water bottle handy as a reminder to sip regularly.
6. Get seven hours of sleep a night:
The average American gets about 6. Again, too much isn’t great either, it’s like being jet lagged. Ideally get into a sleep routine. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake at the same time every morning. Don’t hit the snooze button, this lets you fall into another sleep cycle, and you will be left feeling overtired. Prioritize Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to support optimal health and well-being. Create a bedtime routine, limit screen time before bed, and create a comfortable sleep environment to promote restorative sleep.
By integrating these six simple rules into your daily life, you can cultivate a healthier relationship with food and nourish your body, mind, and soul in 2024. Remember that consistency and mindfulness are key and be patient with yourself as you embrace these practices. Small victories will lead to big wins. Tune in to your body’s signals and honor its unique needs. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied, rather than following strict external rules or societal norms. Trust your body’s wisdom to guide your eating choices.
Here’s to a year of mindful eating, movement, hydration, and restorative sleep!
This guest post was authored by Kim Shapira
Kim Shapira M.S., R.D. is a celebrity dietitian, nutritional therapist, and author, with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Tulane University and a Master’s degree in Human Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition from Boston University. Kim has spent over 25 years helping people lose weight and keep it off (with a giant emphasis on keeping it off), both in her private Los Angeles practice, in hospitals, sports clinics, addiction centers and universities. She is author of This Is What You’re Really Hungry For: Six Simple Rules to Transform Your Relationship with Food to Become Your Healthiest Self.
Connect with Kim Shapira:
Website: kimshapiramethod.com. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kim-shapira TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@kimshapiramethod Facebook: facebook.com/kimshapiramethod Twitter: twitter.com/kimshapira Instagram: instagram.com/kimshapiramethod
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