Imagine a table set just for you.
The journey toward building a strong and self-aware you includes all pieces of the lifestyle “pie”—including how we nourish our bodies. But before we dig into what is actually on our plates, we invite you to consider more deeply what that dream table set for one has to offer beyond proteins and fiber, fruits and vegetables. That’s the foundation of a healthy you—knowing yourself and what fuels you emotionally and socially as well as physically. What comes next springs from that sense of self first. With a topic that can stir up a great deal of emotions and conflict, SI SwimLife is here to support you in cultivating a trusting relationship with yourself and your diet.
Food IS a Friend!
Food is definitely one of the stickiest places for many of us. As women, we have an incredibly rich history with food, but it is often fraught with conflicting messages. Conversations with friends about dieting and calorie intake can lead to subconscious competition. Diets and identities built around specific diet choices can also be alienating, leaving you to feel that somehow your choice is “wrong” or just plain confused. Themes around women who cook versus women who work can pressure us to pick one or the other. The list goes on and on. But understanding that these kinds of messages disempower and leave us at odds with ourselves is the first step in changing the conversation.
At SI Swim Life, we aim to reframe the relationship we have with food by talking openly and honestly about the challenges and opportunities around what we eat. Because they are so darn relatable. First, we ask that you claim your place at the table. Change your mindset from eating as a necessary evil and focus your attention on all the ways in which our choices around food can nourish our individuality. The way we eat can and should reflect and marry with other aspects of our lifestyle. Start to mine your experience, how you like to eat, where you like to eat, your background, your culture, where you live. Use THESE messages instead to empower your food intake and relationship with nutrition. Making that a healthier conversation expands on your identity and who you are as a person in the world, not just a body to be fueled and fed.
So Many Options. What’s Right for Me?
We are here to help discern your diet with you. The incredible diversity of diets, preferences, approaches to eating healthy amount to a dizzying and overwhelming menu of choices. How is it possible to know what is “right” for you? Am I a vegetarian, omnivore, pescatarian or vegan? Do I want to try keto, whole foods, fasting or juicing? The list goes on! Cancel out the noise on the best diet and tune more closely to what your body is asking. Throw away messages that try to sell and sway you. Be really careful of anything that sets extreme limits. If something DOES resonate with you, can you try it without the pass/fail approach? Can you try a dietary approach but listen to your body if she’s telling you I feel underfed, weak, tired, hungry, limited? Honor yourself, the voice inside that says, “I am veering into an uncomfortable relationship with my food, one that leaves me wanting.” Self-denial isn’t sustainable. Listen to what your body really is asking, even if she’s asking for something that isn’t healthy. Find out why. Is it wanting comfort? Is it fatigue? It is anxiety? It might be something other than food that needs nourishment and attention.
Strike Up Conversation With Others at Your Table
Food, diet and nutrition can be a way to connect to others. There is the value in eating socially, of course, and for some it might be one the best tools for both sticking to healthy choices (sometimes poor food choices come out of boredom, isolation or worry). But eating together and talking about food choices can be supportive—until, of course, it's not. So use the social aspect of food to learn but be careful to notice when the subtext doesn’t feel healthy. Curiosity goes a long way, as food is a window into other cultures, families, friends and yourself. It can have you traveling and exploring markets, neighborhoods and restaurants. Use your table as a medium to feel grounded and inspired.
We build from the inside out. Research your thoughts and attitudes about what you are eating and why. Understand the science behind nutrition, if that’s up your alley. Take a deep dive into the origin of a dish, if that’s more your jam. If you start looking at the meaning behind your plate, not just seeing it for a vessel for calories, you can better examine your relationship to your food choices. It helps determine how your plate can best help YOU, not what works for someone else. And it’s even more important to realize that what serves you now may not serve you in a couple of months, or years, or decades. Our bodies and minds are constantly evolving. Continue to check in with yourself holistically so we can approach nutrition with realistic expectations and learn to love the journey of our diet and ourselves.
Body Clues, Honest Expectations and a Guide Along the Way
Finally, this is one of the moments when consulting with a pro can really help. With some of the practices above, you might already have a sense of what feels, looks and tastes right. But we also know that this is where some expertise can come in to support you. The SI Swim Lifestyle offers expertise and a community that can help you hone in the right diet for you. At the very least, we hope to challenge you to ask the right questions to yourself. What does your body have to tell you about how to fuel her for radiance? Are you trying to shape your body through diet or bring out the best in her? Is your relationship with nutrition more about reduction than fueling and feeding her for ultimate energy and vitality? Together, we can change the conversation.
Written by Lori Ball and Emma Bernstein