Do you have a healthy relationship with fat? Personally, my relationship with fat in its many forms has been tenuous, to the say the least. As a teenager, I’ll never forget the first time I looked in the mirror and thought to criticize the fat on my body. Nor will I forget when the beauty magazine that taught me to equate fat on the body with fat in foods. It then seemed logical to my teenage mind that I would want to cut all fat out of my diet in order to get rid of the excess fat on my body.
This was the beginning of a very unhealthy and unhappy period for me. This was also the start of a particularly stressful relationship with fat and an unhealthy relationship with my body in general. I was a victim of the “fat free” movement. I didn’t care what the fat was, I didn’t want it on my plate or on my body. Now, 10 years later, after studying holistic nutrition, I realize that my strict “fat free” regime was not only sabotaging my weight loss efforts, it was also depriving my body of essential nutrition, as well as triggering a dangerous cycle of food cravings, deprivation, binging and imbalance.
I’m happy to have come a long way since my struggles with fat-phobia. I have spent many years working on repairing my relationship with fats and I’m still healing the scars that my “fat free” days have left on my body and my mind. I know that I’m not alone in this struggle and I thought I’d share some of my favorite reasons why it’s important to deconstruct your relationship with fats and genuinely conquer any fears you might have.
1) All fats are not equal! You’re probably already aware that there are many fats in the standard American diet that are worth being leery of and you should definitely give those unhealthy fats some distance. But don’t let those bad fats psych you out on fats altogether! As the nutritional movement grows, there are many wonderful fats available that are incredibly nourishing and healing for your body. n fact, they’re essential! The body requires healthy fats for a variety of crucial systems in your body, including balancing your body’s inflammatory response and immune system, as well as keeping your brain healthy! If you’re planning on nourishing your body completely, healthy fats are a must.
2) Starvation mode prevents weight loss. Many of us who have a fear of fats are often trying to shed additional pounds. The interesting irony here is that your body needs to be consuming a certain amount of fat in order to allow for weight loss. Cutting your intake of healthy fats too severely creates a chain reaction in your body called “starvation mode.” Without the healthy fats it needs to function, your body is no longer receiving the basic macronutrients it requires. Consequently your body begins preparing for a period of famine. Your body is thinking that if it’s not going to be getting these important nutrients anytime soon then it better start to store some fat and nutrients. Your body also begins to inhibit the building of muscle in order to conserve energy. As a result, your metabolism drops and you’re majorly sabotaging your weight loss efforts. I think we also just blasted the theory that fat on your plate always equals fat on your body way out of the water.
3) Face your fear. Whether you have a fear of fat in your food, a fear of fat on your body, or possibly both, you might consider that your fears may be keeping you stuck in a rather unhealthy psychological place. All of our fears have a history and are serving us in some way. It might be time to sit down with your fear of fat and deconstruct what is behind this fear. Once you figure out where the fear is rooted, then I recommend introducing a new belief, or new positive intention, such as focusing adding new healthy fats into your diet. This is a great way to start re-wiring your brain begin a new relationship with fat in its various forms.I’ve definitely had to confront my fear of fat and this has been an essential part of my personal health journey.
4) Healthy fats balance and fuel your body so you can do what you love! Today, I’m sure to incorporate healthy fats into my diet throughout the day so that I can keep my body happy and humming right along. Try adding some healthy fats to your fruit smoothie in the morning (half an avocado or chia seeds are great choices). Many people notice that this simple addition keeps their body satisfied and energized for much longer than if they’d just had a basic fruit smoothie. Healthy fats are also an essential part of your nutritional foundation. I think you’ll find that when you’re covering your nutritional bases your food cravings are significantly reduced and your appetite hormones stop going crazy. I’m so grateful to have moved beyond the insane food cravings and food obsession of my “fat free” days! My body feels satisfied and knows that the famine probably won’t be coming any time soon.
So now, I might ask again “how is your relationship with fat?” I encourage you to confront your fat fears and embrace the healthy fats in your diet. Everyone is unique and your balance of healthy fats will most definitely be different than mine. I’m happy to support you on your journey towards listening to your body! Be sure to check out my free guide to start listening to your body.