Key Concept #1: Crowding Out
This is a fairly simple concept, but when applied to your plate and your life it can make a huge impact.
The idea is this: Fill yourself up with what nourishes your body, mind and soul and leave no room for the things which deplete.
I'm going to get a little hippie dippie on you and ask "What's on your life plate?"
What are the elements making up your life? Family, friends, your career, spirituality, health, fun and recreation, travel and or creative endeavors.
These are the things making that life of yours oh so fulfilling. They are the reason you wake up in the morning. Now from what I’ve observed everyone has different ratios to what makes up a fulfilling plate. i.e. career may be one persons main course, taking up 75% of the plate while for someone else, family is there favorite dish. It’s important you get to know what ratios feel true to you TRY THIS EXERCISE HERE.
Now on your conceptual life plate I’d like you to imagine a blank space. Some people feel this empty space is something that is missing, a part of them that needs to be filled. We then reach to outside sources to create a sense of contentment and peace. This can be drugs, alcohol, food, a relationship or all of the above.
Instead of looking at that space as empty and lacking, I’d now like to offer you a little switch of paradigms.
What if that space is your pure potential? A place you hold for exploration and experimentation of new things. Instead of feeling lack, you feel inspired to try something new in that space.
I believe it’s important to realize that this space will always exist within us. Instead of looking at it as something missing, we can decide to look at is a place where we always have room to grow, learn and evolve. We like to stay stuck in what we know rather than explore the possibility of what we can be.
If you’re someone that is constantly trying to fill this place with external quick fixes, I invite you to really try this concept out. Stop the abusive behavior and start to fill your time and that space embarking on the endeavor you’ve always dreamed of. Plan that trip you keep putting to the side or acquire a new hobby. I promise you, this will lead to a hugely fulfilling life and whenever you feel empty, imagine all that space as beautiful potential waiting to be reached.
Before we talk about your actual dinner plate, I feel like it's important to address the relationship between the two. Life plate comes first! Once you've filled your life with meaning and purpose, you will find it less challenging to keep the dinner plate clean and filled with nourishing foods. You simply will loose that emotional attachment to the comfort food, sugar cravings or alcohol because you are so engaged in your new life endeavors.
So now that we understand our life plate comes first and our actual food plate is there to nourish our physical bodies, let’s apply the crowding out method to our plate. If you can learn to make 60-80% of your meals filled with low calorie/nutrient dense foods (ie plant life) the next 15-30% proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates, you just won't have much room left for all of the other stuff.
Here are some easy to apply ways to crowd out the crap:
1. Have a glass of water before your meal. Part of your hunger may be caused by dehydration.
2. Eat the greens first. Try having a small salad before you hit your main course.
3. Add veggies to everything! There is nothing that a dark leafy green vegetable does not go with!
4. Replace your old faves! Try replacing white pasta with a quinoa or lentil version. Switch over to brown rice. Get your sugar fix from fresh fruit or dates. If you eat meat, replace it with grass fed, organically raised.
5. Slow down! Chew your food. Go slow. Give your body time to digest.
I hope you find this first concept as valuable as I have. Remember, this doesn't have to be a hard process. Do the best you can to let in the good and release the habits that no longer serve you.