Eat Happy: What that means and how to do it

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When I was brainstorming (for days on end) with my husband about what to call my business, we went through literally hundreds of ideas. I remember so clearly laying on my bed, calling out weird combinations of words, working through all the clutter to find the clarity.

I knew the feeling - the vibe - I was going for, but it took lots of work to get there. But when I stumbled upon it, I knew it was just right. But for clarity’s sake, I thought it would be fun to explain why I settled on Eat Happy Nutrition, what that means to me, and how that reflects my commitment to you. A year into this business, so much has changed - but at the heart of it, I’m still on the same mission I was from day one: to help women take the guilt and stress out of nutrition and health.

So what do I mean by “eat happy”? I have three parts to that answer.

  1. Eat in a state of happiness

  2. Eat happily

  3. Eat foods that make you happy

So let’s break that down!

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First, eat in a happy state. Or, eat when you’re happy. (But hold on, I don’t mean to starve yourself until you feel happy - stick with me!)

Basically, when we eat in a state of stress, which can go totally unnoticed by us for years, we are setting our bodies up to not be able to perform the act of eating the way it was intended. When I get stressed at dinner time with my kids, for instance, or eat in the car on the way home when I eat with my kids sometimes, etc. Eating in a state of stress totally counteracts a lot of other good things we do like - eating healthy, nutritious food.

When your body is in a fight or flight response, digestion literally shuts down and your body is incapable of absorbing nutrients from your food. You could be eating kale and beets and the healthiest foods in the world, but if you’re in a state of stress, you’re not getting all the benefits out of that healthy food.

Slowing down with food is the first step to making true progress - whether in your physical body or in your relationship to food. If you’re in a hurry to do everything, including eating, you’ll probably never get where you really want to be: feeling peace in your own skin. Slow down, feel pleasure in your food, and get back in touch with your body and the process of physically nourishing it. Just that one simple thing makes worlds of difference.

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Second, eat happily. Food is your friend! It sounds super woo-woo, but I mean it! We as women are, and have been, at war with our bodies and at war with food for too long. And it’s time to stop now. Food is not your enemy. Food is not out to make you fat. Sugar is not the greatest villain in your life. Nothing is trying to attack you or make you fat or miserable. When we get caught up in the confusion of nutritionism (as Michael Pollan calls it), we can get lost down the rabbit hole of worrying so much about calories or macros or iron or fat or sodium or whatever that food becomes downright miserable.

I want to be a voice of reason, encouraging you to not see food as the enemy, as this horrible thing that is making you fat and disgusting, but to honestly feel that food is your friend. And as much as you love food, it can love you right back. Approach eating with a spirit of fun and pleasure, and it will change your life.

Thirdly, eat foods that make you happy. I’m a holistic nutritionist and I have a lot of scientific/clinical nutrition knowledge that I’ve gained over the years. But you’ll never hear me stand on a soapbox and preach at you about food. I think there is enough guilt in the world - you don’t need another expert making you feel bad.

In spite of everything I’ve learned, I don’t believe there is such a thing as the perfect diet! And my life has been lightyears happier since I stopped trying to chase down that ever-elusive idea of the perfect diet.

You will never eat perfectly. I will never eat perfectly. We will probably never get to the point where we NEVER eat sugar again, or never overeat at a birthday celebration, or never snack while watching TV. Eating perfectly every day is no way to live anyway!

Stop chasing the idea that SOMEDAY you’ll reach perfection, you’ll get it together, you’ll find some hidden source of willpower that will make it easy for you to live on vegetables and chicken breast, you’ll get it right all the time. That would be a boring way to live anyway. But chances are, if you’re not already living like that, it’s not actually a priority to you!

So let me be the “expert” that tells you IT’S OKAY. You can stop the endless quest for weight loss. You were put on earth to do more than get a flat stomach or lose the baby weight. There’s more to life than counting calories. Nutrition doesn’t need to be - shouldn’t be - end-all, be-all goal of our lives. Letting go of the idea of perfection, learning to eat foods that make you happy, not obsessing over food making you fat - that’s how you’ll heal your relationship with food. And it’s more fun than any diet could ever be.

So I hope you’ll stick around here to find out more about how to live this life of food freedom. To learn to relate differently to food, to your body, to your life. To learn how to eat happy.

 

Stephanie Webb