By Stephanie Nekoroski
Everyone has their own unique relationship with food. Think about your relationships with your friends, roommates, family, and peers… It is likely that the happiest relationships are the ones that are balanced—where both people feel safe, valued, and loved. There is no reason to believe that your relationship with food can’t be as fulfilling! Most students that we work with in the iNourish specialty recognize the bipolar relationship between many college students and their diets, which is extremely restrictive on the weekdays and unmonitored and binge-like on the weekends. iNourish encourages students to find balance on their plates, with their relationships with food, and with themselves with these four key messages:
There is no such thing as a ‘“good” or “bad” food. Sure, some foods can make you feel better or worse, but it is important to recognize that all foods can fit into a balanced diet if you are eating in moderation. The key is to give yourself permission to eat all foods. BY giving yourself permission to eat a cookie at lunch, you may realize you don’t want it and opt not to eat it, or you may want it and eat the portion that makes you feel satisfied and full. And, if you do eat more than makes you feel good, take note of that rather than pass judgement.
If you do want a sweet treat, permission-giving will reduce any guilt associated with the feelings of restricting certain food groups out of your diet. Moderation is about being mindful, and not about a standard portion size or number of days a week you can eat something.”
Eat the rainbow! What does your plate look like during each meal? Daily? Weekly? If it seems to be pretty monochromatic, try expanding your horizons to diversify the colors on your plate with different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Always eating broccolI? Try asparagus! By eating different types of foods throughout the week, you are introducing new types of vitamins and minerals into your diet. Variety also encourages us to try new foods and flavors that will keep our taste buds guessing! Again, it is about being mindful of what types of tastes you want, as variety will occur when you’re more mindful
Adequacy simply means eating adequate calories and eating until you’re satiated. Depending on your level of hunger, you may choose to eat more or less, but what is important is making sure the quantity of food you eat fuels the rest of your day. It is also important to remember that sometimes overeating and underrating are part of a normal diet, and not all meals need to be “perfect.”
And most importantly?
Weight is not worth!
Food has so many incredible purposes, but it is truly meant to nourish and fuel our bodies and minds… not to serve as a vehicle for changing the number on the scale or our body shape.
It is important that we respect our bodies and avoid using food choices or amounts of food to manipulate weight or “make up for” overeating or drinking. As a community, we can encourage each other to strive for balance in our diets to contribute to an overall healthier and happier college experience!