Ishitaa proposes an alternate perspective to eating nourishing food; by converting the act of eating to a self-care regime instead of a self-scorning one. She discusses how you can show up for and take care of your here-and-now body, by sharing a few vital tips and an important secret!

Mealtime notes from a nutritionist.

Ishitaa Bhatia, ANutr. MSc. (India) MSc. (UK) is a consulting nutritionist based in Mumbai. She has experience in counselling patients in various hospitals in India and the UK. She believes that health looks different on different bodies, and believes in empowering her clients with nutrition knowledge rather than making them dependent. You can follow her work on @the.nutrition.project on Instagram!

Ever considered eating to take care of yourself and the body you’re presently in, instead of eating a certain way because you hate your body? Are the constant crash diets that you’re on really nourishing your body? Or are they temporarily changing your body, only for you to feel bad about not being able to “comply” with the crash diets for long enough?

Instead, what if you acknowledged your present body and nourished it for all that it does for you? Your body is capable of amazing things if you think about it. It enables you to dance, jump, sing, draw, watch the sunset or move and exercise in a way that brings you joy. The human body is capable of wound healing, regeneration of certain organs (e.g. the liver), homeostasis, eliminating toxins, child-bearing, building a new organ (the placenta) just to nourish a fetus and so much more!

The least we could do is respect and take care of our bodies for all that they’re doing 24/7. We could show it kindness and compassion. Here are a few tips to get you started on your self-care journey.

  1. Are you eating enough?

Providing yourself a self-care eating framework begins with making sure that you’re eating enough and often. Ensure that you’re eating at least 3 main meals and 1-2 snacks in the day. Eating at regular intervals (every 2-3 hours) helps to control your blood sugar levels and mood without ever leaving you overly hungry. The meals should give you the feeling of satisfaction without feeling overstuffed or underfed. This is possible when you start listening to your internal hunger and satiety cues. 

  1. What else are you doing while eating?

It is vital to eat mindfully while paying attention to your food instead of getting lost in thought or your Instagram feed. It may help to take out some time from your busy schedule for your meals, rather than bringing your lunch to your desk while you’re working. All of this, in turn will most often allow you to realize when you’re full and save you from over-eating.

  1. Are you ticking the boxes?

It’s about time we shifted the focus, instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t be eating- rather focus on what you should eat. How about having a checklist? Ensuring that you’re consuming all the food groups through the day. Crowd your daily diet with vegetables, beans and legumes, fruits, whole grains, poultry, eggs (if you are non-vegetarian) and dairy products (milk, curd, cheese) in your day as much as possible. These foods are dense in nutrients that enrich and nourish our bodies. They also provide adequate energy to fuel us.  If you’re able to tick most of these boxes by the end of the day, know that you’re eating well.

  1. Are you stressing over perfection?

 Here’s a little secret- the perfect diet… does not exist! Yes, the truth is your eating, hunger and satiety may look different from day to day. Some days you may not be able to tick all the boxes on our checklist and some days you will. All of which is perfectly alright! The idea is, as long as you’re consuming nutrient dense foods for the most part– it should be alright! Stressing over eating “perfectly” every single day may illicit disordered eating behaviors and come at the cost of your relationship with food.

Our bodies have our back as long as we have theirs. Here’s to respecting our bodies and eating well during mealtimes to fuel a fulfilling and meaningful life!

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