I have been thinking a lot this month about boundaries in my personal life and that has also pushed me to think about boundaries with food and how connected that is to my wellness in general. I interact with people from all spectrums that are struggling with overeating, undereating and everything in between. I always want Sown Life Wellness to be a resource that is focused on the whole person, including emotional self-care and having grace when you might trip and fall. This is so needed and missing in today’s diet culture. Yet, one important thing I want to talk about is the difference between grace and indulgence and how to balance discipline with grace.
For many of us, it is a reality that if we have health goals often times we will need to exercise discipline in order to heal and meet our goals. The biggest obstacle I see for people is in their ability to exercise a healthy level of discipline when it comes to “all or nothing” thinking. Meaning, the belief that we need to cut out entire food groups, or worst of all, the feeling after we had a treat or a hard day that we should just give up altogether. This is why I teach grace not perfection in any eating changes my clients want to make. I think it is fantastic and healthy to exercise discipline and have boundaries with yourself when it comes to food. It’s a great feeling when your pants get looser and you feel more energetic. Often times it comes with a healthy dose of discipline. I have found for many of my clients that when they are ready to exercise discipline with grace they are finally able to meet their goals by listening to their body. They can get up the next day after a party or a vacation, regroup and continue to eat what they know their body needs to feel great.
Grace does not mean we indulge in every brownie, glass of wine, or french fry available to us. Rather it means we freely enjoy ourselves in a nourishing way without attaching self-worth and morality to food. Grace means we take stock of our cravings and try to figure out what our body is really asking for in those moments when we feel like we just “need” something. It’s entirely normal to have needs and when you balance grace with discipline you can see more clearly what it is you actually want. Oftentimes it is not food but maybe an emotional need. This is where we have to get to know ourselves and it takes practice…a lifelong practice!!!!
We all get off track sometimes but discipline helps us to hunker down and do the hard thing, to say no and set a boundary. This is a very healthy and more dynamic form of self-care. It feels so good to accomplish goals, whether that be training to run a 10K or learning how to cook healthy meals at home. Discipline is the driving force behind all those good things and grace is the counterpart that helps us to stick with it in the long run.