by Shiri Macri
There’s a huge component missing from body-focused health formulas: The mind! The mind controls the body and when the mind is dis-eased—like when we’re dealing with chronic stress, anxiety, depression, or eating disorders—the body becomes dis-eased, too.
At Green Mountain, we’re not fans of calorie counting or other number tracking that can make wellness a chore (or even trigger disordered eating for some). What’s more, people on health quests can focus so much on food and exercise that they forget how important it is to lower stress.
In reality, you could eat as much kale and go to as many cardio-boot-camp classes as you want, but if stress permeates your day and your body, it will counteract the health benefits of any amount of sweat or leafy greens.
So, instead of looking for a magic formula to get healthy, we suggest you follow these three steps easy steps:
- Eat with Balance (not restriction)
Restricting what you “can” or “can’t” eat doesn’t feel good (nor does it “work” in attaining health or long-term weight changes). Neither does bingeing or emotional overeating. Instead, barring any medical requirements, we eat lots of plant-based foods, all of the other macronutrients including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, plus just-plain-pleasurable or fun food. Eating happens mindfully and intuitively; we pay attention while eating so we hear the body’s cues of hunger and satisfaction.
- Enjoy Movement
We bring movement into daily life with some regularity, but without being rigid or “all-or-nothing” about it. We move in ways that are enjoyable instead of ways that feel punishing or painful. Find movement you like and then do it again…because you like to!
- Feed Your Spirit
Having the 4-S’s in our lives brings health to the mind and spirit:
- Stress Management
- Social Connections
Regularly adding these S’s to our lives eases stress and adds joy and pleasure. As humans, we seek pleasure and try to avoid pain. So, if life feels full of physical or emotional pain, we naturally turn to things that give us pleasure for comfort. Front-load your pleasure banks with the four S’s.
Shiri Macri, MA, LCMHC is Clinical Director at the Women’s Center for Binge and Emotional Eating at Green Mountain at Fox Run.
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