Today, I’d like you all to take measurements. Why? Well, because you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are! And sadly, when it comes to nutrition, most people really don’t know where they are.
Imagine being lost in a city and calling a friend desperate for help. This friend is very familiar with the city you’re in and can easily help you get to your desired destination. So you call and when they pick up the phone, you anxiously begin explaining, “I’m lost. And I have no idea how to get where I’m going.” First, your friend assures you everything will be alright. And then…they ask the question.
“Where are you?”
What if you responded with, “Well, I’m not really sure. There’s buildings. And lots of cars. But I have no idea where I am!”? It’s very doubtful your friend would be able to help you. No, in order for your friend to help you, they’re going to need specifics. So most likely, you’d start looking for signs with street names. Or you’d tell them which subway stop you’re near. You’d be as specific as possible. If you gave one street name, but it was a long street, your friend might ask you which intersection you were near, or the subway station closest by. Only after having ascertained the X&Y coordinates, so to speak, would your friend be able to help you start navigating the city and help you get quickly to your desired destination.
Well, it’s the same with nutrition. In order to get to our desired nutrition destination, we must know where we are. Only then can we began to make the needed dietary changes. So today, I’m going to teach you how to find the “street signs”. I’m going to have you measure two things, the “X & Y” of your start point. And I’m pretty sure that one of them will surprise you. First, I want you to measure your stomach happiness. Second, I want you to measure your brain happiness. …my WHAT?
LOL! Yes, I want you to measure 3 -6 times today how happy your tummy is and your brain is. Hmmmm. What do I mean by that?
Well, let’s say that in the morning you get up and you’re rushing around. You don’t have “time” for breakfast and because you have a big deadline at work, you decide to stop at the WacDonald’s drive thru and get a coffee and yogurt parfait. After finishing this meal, I want you to note how you feel in your tummy. Does it feel good? Sour? Is it bloated or crampy? Do you feel full? Stuffed? Or empty and wondering why you didn’t order the “I never sausage egg Mcstuffing”? Pay attention to how your tummy feels and write that down.
Next, I want you to pay attention to your brain happiness. Is your conscience bothering you about what you ate? Are you thinking to yourself, “Why didn’t I just prepare my breakfast the night before?” and beating yourself up? Or are you proud of yourself for choosing the yogurt parfait instead of some other fat laden option? Perhaps, your brain is feeling foggy. Or maybe it feels alert and ready to pounce on the day. Pay attention to how your brain feels and write that down.
These two measurements are important. Why? Because no one. And I mean NO ONE, should ever be feeling bloated, gross, guilty, starving, or deprived on a daily basis in their nutrition. We should feel happy both mentally and physically after we eat. If you feel ashamed, angry, or your stomach hurts constantly after you eat, then how can you expect to have a good, healthy approach to nutrition? You see? You may not even realize what food is doing for you or TO you until you measure it. So let’s measure today how food makes us feel. And start from there.
In the link below, is a worksheet you can print out and use. Feel free to print this sheet out for however many days you’d like to keep track of your nutrition. I recommend double siding it and starting with one week. During this time, try not to make self-judgements. ONLY observe. Food should make us feel GOOD. Not guilty, or ashamed. If you consistently note that your stomach is fine with foods, but your mind is upset, try to figure out why. Is it because you were constantly told certain foods are bad? Is it because you have negative memories associated with a food? If your stomach is constantly upset, but you’re eating what appear to be healthy foods, then start eliminating certain foods to see if this clears up. Or consider doing an elimination diet to rule out hidden allergies or possible parasitic/bacterial infections. The whole purpose of noting how you feel both physically and mentally is to help you figure out where you ARE in your nutrition journey. Please don’t skip this step!!! In future articles, we will begin discussing locations that you can “visit” as you determine your best options.
Below is an example of how *I* felt today.
Breakfast – “apple pie oatmeal”
Tummy = 7. Even though I felt satiated but not stuffed, my stomach was still a little out of sorts from “not best for me eating” yesterday. But I didn’t bloat or have stomach pain.
Brain = 9. I love oatmeal but rarely have it for breakfast because I’m worried that it might cause gas or bloating if not totally gluten free. But today, I didn’t suffer any of that so I felt happy. I say only 9 instead of 10 because I’m sure I ate too much of it.
Lunch – “Chocolate Sun Butter Shakeology”
Tummy = 9 Perfect amount of food for what I was ready for.
Brain = 8 I wanted more. My chocolate addiction took over! LOL.
Dinner – “Chili with pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips for de ssert”
Tummy = 8 The tummy finally settled down from my disastrous eating yesterday. So it actually dealt with the beans and turkey very well.
Brain = 6 I was annoyed because I didn’t have 2 of the key ingredients for the chili like I thought I did. GAH! So it didn’t come out as good as I wanted. The mixture of pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips for dessert was JUST enough to make me happy, but not so much that I felt guilty.
Please note: I didn’t have snacks today because of my stomach trying to settle down. I do NOT recommend this. Eating smaller meals throughout the day will always result in a happier brain. (More on that later.)