Today, in Part One, we are focusing on the signs and symptoms of inadequate structure in eating.
The word structure can kick up resistance.
Because some of us only associate rigidness, perfection, austerity, and self-control with it. (Think counting macros, points, avoiding certain types of food in their entirety, or a boring world of meal planning and nutritional micro-management).
But structure, by definition, simply means (as a verb) to give a pattern or organization to something.
I remember as child, getting amped up to put together a Disney puzzle by dividing up the pieces that belonged on the borders in one pile and similar colors or patterns in a few other piles. (you know this strategy). I had a system to make a little order out of chaos. As a little girl who had a hot flame and then a fizzle, had I just picked up random pieces in one big pile and tried to find their mates, I am certain the enormity of the it would have led me to move onto something more fun.
Now imagine how this feels with eating…
With no helpful system in place, we can feel like we’re standing in front of a huge mass of nutritional rules, social media super star experts, superfoods, Instagram images, inspirational quotes, knowing that our intention is to eat well and feel well. But without some kind of supportive pattern in place to meet all these influences coming our way, we can get overwhelmed, fizzle, and reach for whatever is easiest to eat or skip the meal altogether.
I’m telling you, a little structure ain’t so bad.
And some of us are in dire need of it.
Over the years, I’ve come to learn good number of things that point to a need for more structured eating for women that I’m sharing here…
Eating Quiz: Do you need more structure?
experience erratic eating habits?
overeat or binge eat specific times of the day?
have difficulty sleeping?
eat most of your food later in the day/evening?
have little time for simple meal preparation?
resent having to take time to care for your body or figure out what to eat/prepare?
grab last-minute items to eat in the kitchen like your kid’s food or other snack food you have laying around the house?
on-again-off-again bouts of super strict eating
feel comforted by the idea of adhering to a supportive dietary plan (even if it’s not currently happening)?
have a past experience of being on retreat or all-inclusive vacation and noticing how much better you felt with a degree of structured, predictable eating?
have a physical symptom (digestive problems, low energy, cravings, large fluctuations in body weight, etc.) that you suspect is related to your eating habits?
feel confused by conflicting dietary information circulating around so avoid any kind of plan at all?
have very low amounts of brightly colored, whole foods in your diet?
intuitively KNOW that some healthy structure would do you some good?
Did you answer “yes” to several of these? If yes, stay with me just a touch longer. You will likely do well with some attention and support around creating healthy, individualized structure with your eating. A Pro-Structure Approach I find clients that align with the quiz above, respond well to a step-wise approach that focuses on a loving and strategic (and absolutely do-able) upgrade of eating habits. We focus on a range of practical strategies, from more metabolically-friendly ways of eating to working with specific vulnerable times of day around certain foods to using food medicinally to help heal certain physical symptoms… Inevitably this work also opens conversation to confusing areas within the diet arena, like: ”Is it okay to eat in the evening?” ”What causes weight gain?” “Does meal timing even matter?” etc… It’s all welcome, valid, and likely needs some air-time and some sane conversation and education. All this to say that healthy, sup