Be mindful of your body type and lifestyle and ensure you are consuming enough nutrients to sustain your body. Malnutrition induces a stress-response within the body which can manifest itself in many different ways. The most common signs of malnutrition include low energy levels, feeling sad or annoyed and sleeping problems. Malnutrition has also been associated with depression and other mental health problems. Our bodies need food as fuel to regulate the biological processes that keep us physically and mentally healthy such as; repairing tissue, removing toxins and balancing hormones. By practising self-discipline and prioritising your body’s needs you will be rewarded with not only physical energy but also a sense of mental strength and wellbeing.
Keeping a food diary or using an App such as Myfitnesspal can help you ensure you are reaching your daily requirements of macro and micronutrients. Take care not to fixate too heavily on your intake and remember that there is more to the nutritional value of food than the number of calories it contains. Remember to eat intuitively and tune into your body to make sure you eat only when you are hungry, and try to eat satiating foods that keep your blood sugar levels stable. Sticking to unprocessed whole foods will enable you to do this and will also provide you with more nutrients than refined products. At least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is recommended to allow your body to recuperate so that you can begin your day in I peak mental and physical condition.
As well as being fuel, food is a sign of love. We feed our friends and family to show them we love them and vice versa. This very principle can be applied to yourself. You can express self-love by allowing yourself to truly appreciate the food you enjoy. Although constant overeating will have undesirable consequences, occasional indulging purely for pleasure is essential for true inner happiness and will not compromise your health.
Allow yourself regular treats so that you never feel deprived of the foods you enjoy. Enjoy these treats in moderation as an addition to a healthy and balanced diet. It is important never to replace meals with processed snacks as they will not provide your body with the fuel it needs, but remember that they will still contribute to your overall energy consumption so should not be consumed in excess. Focus on preparing wholesome and nourishing meals for yourself. Cooking does not have to be complicated or difficult and there are a huge variety of quick, easy and healthy recipes available online and in cookbooks. To nourish yourself is to practise self-care, and to practise self-care is to practise self-love, which is a crucial component of inner happiness.
To develop your inner happiness make sure you always consider whether you are fuelling yourself or whether you are eating mindlessly or eating to cope with difficult emotions. Remember that food is a luxury and a pleasure in life that should be appreciated and valued, and it should not be used for purposes other than to nourish. We must always be grateful that we are able to feed ourselves, our family and our friends. Do not waste food as that is an act of disrespect to food and everything it provides your body with. Equally, do not restrict your body of food or eat in excess as that is an act of disrespect to your body. Take time to eat mindfully, focusing on and appreciating everything you put into your body. Ensure you are always energising your body’s cells but also treating your senses to foods that invoke positive feelings. Respect both your body’s needs and its temptations, and happiness will follow.
+ words: Yasmin Razzaque