FIT Talk With Tania  

Overcoming the fear of food

Does food bring you fear?

For many, stress and anxiety go up at the thought of trying to navigate through a party or dinner out, where they have no idea what the food will be, when they can't even get things under control and the food is coming from their own kitchen.

It may sound like an odd question but fear around food is something many struggle with on a daily basis, especially the holiday season.

If you're a regular reader of this column, you will have seen me refer to this time of year – Thanksgiving through to Easter – as the “season of food.”

It’s fairly obvious, with most of the year's holidays, parties and celebrations blocked into this part of the calendar. And they all involve food.

I mean really, it doesn't seem to matter where in the world you go, which culture you look at or who you talk to, you'll be hard pressed to find a place where they celebrate a holiday, occasion or special event without food.

Personally, I can't think of any. Why? Food brings people together. Gathering around the table, mingling at a party, cutting the cake at a wedding, etc., there's just something about “breaking bread” that makes us feel connected. Except however, when the mere thought of attending a party or the mention of Christmas dinner triggers a wave of panic and that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Hopefully this not you and you can't relate. But for those who can, let's dive into what may be triggering that angst and then unpack what you can do to let go of the fear and bring back the fun and enjoy the holidays.

Typically fear comes from things we don't understand and/or things we can't control. So, if we're thinking of this in the context of food, for anyone who has struggled with health and/or weight and can't seem to gain any ground no matter what they do, herein lies the problem.

I speak to a lot of people who say they eat “good” foods. They say they don't eat many “bad” foods but just don't understand why they can't shed the weight and get those related health issues under control.

It's no wonder stress and anxiety go up at the thought of trying to navigate through a party or dinner out, where they have no idea what the food will be, when they can't even get things under control and the food is coming from their own kitchen.

Let's first address the idea that foods are either “good” or “bad”. It’s true, some foods have a higher nutrient content than others, but labelling foods as “good” or “bad” only serves to create thoughts of guilt and shame for having a piece of birthday cake or indulging in dessert at your spouse's Christmas party.

To be clear, food is neither good or bad, it's simply a protein, fat or a carb, PFCs if you will. Food either nourishes your body, or it nourishes your soul. And we need both in order to live happily, in balance and love life.

It's also important to understand that whether you're choosing the apple or the Christmas cookie, unless you know what category it comes from and what to put with it to create that balance, you're not going to get the results you want.

Imbalance can cause hormonal issues along with spikes and crashes in blood sugar causing the body to store fat, increases cortisol levels, insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, low energy, poor sleep, sugar cravings as well as increases the risk for diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, Alzheimer's, autoimmune, to name a few.

On the flip side, when we eat foods in the right portions, in the right frequency and in the right balance, our body naturally enters homeostasis – the scientific word for balance. It's in that place where hormones are balanced, blood sugar stabilizes and the body naturally releases stored fat, metabolism is turned on, energy increases, cravings decrease, weight comes off, risk of disease is lowered and all you body's organs and systems are working together rather than fighting each other.

Notice how I have yet to recommend which holiday treats to stay away from in order to make this work for you. That's because you don't have to give up your favs in order to start making progress. In fact that's one of the biggest reasons diets fail. They're all about telling you to give up, cut, count, track, etc., rather than educating on how to eat the foods you love in a way that creates hormonal balance and stabilizes blood sugar. But then again, if you no longer felt the need to try another diet or had anxiety around food, they'd be out of business.

So how do you enjoy your favs, avoid the holiday weight gain, stop stressing over food and even burn some fat over the holidays? PFC3.

• Never arrive hungry. Having a protein, a fat and a carb together in small portions, frequently throughout the day keeps metabolism turned on and burning fat. Not eating and “saving your calories” only slows the metabolism, burn muscle and stores fat.

• Never deprive yourself. Not allowing yourself to join in a meal only creates a feeling of guilt with food

• Be choosy. When you indulge, be intentional and choose your favourites. You'll enjoy it more, be satisfied with less of it, and you'll feel good rather than guilt about what you ate.

Now that you understand the basics of PFC, I encourage you to use those three tips and go to the staff party, do that cookie exchange, go to Christmas dinner. You'll be able to enjoy yourself knowing that your health and weight goals are being supported, not sabotaged.

Stop dieting, start living.

Email [email protected] to book your free consult.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Nutritionist Tania Gustafson, owner of FIT Nutrition, has been active in the health and fitness industry since 1986 when she entered as a fitness instructor and trainer.

In 2011, Tania partnered with internationally renowned nutrition and fitness expert Mark Macdonald, and in 2017 officially earned the title of Master Nutrition Coach in conjunction with Venice Nutrition and the International Board of Nutrition and Fitness Coaches (IBNFC).

Tania is one of only five health professionals licensed and certified in Canada to deliver this proven, three-phase program of blood sugar stabilization, not dieting.Tania is committed to ending the dieting madness both locally and globally and educates her clients on how to increase health with age.

Tania is able to work with clients across Canada, the U.S. and U.K. to restore health and achieve their weight loss goals.Tania is a wife, mother of three adult children, global entrepreneur, speaker, workshop facilitator, writer, blogger, podcast host, travel junkie and self-proclaimed gym rat.

For more information and to book your complimentary health assessment go to www.fuelignitethrive.com. Check https://www.facebook.com/fuelignitethrive/  and https://www.facebook.com/groups/8weeksisallittakes/

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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