Separating How We Feel From How We Fuel

by | Sep 15, 2021 | Healthy Bites

Sometimes we associate a moment of not being able to get as much physical activity in a day, or not being on a “normal” schedule or not having our regular food choices available to us, or a feeling of lack of motivation in general, with, “well then this is a time that I just eat bad” or the idea of “screw it, if it can’t be precise, then it’s all messed up anyway”. 

And why do these thoughts pass through our minds so swiftly and so boldly during these times?

We need to not tie everything together into one file as in all or nothing.  Consider looking at things as they are and accepting that. Just because our motivation to move or move in the way we think we “should” is low (which it will be low if it’s an activity you don’t like), doesn’t mean we need to self-sabotage or hurt or punish or numb ourselves with poor eating.

Just because you are eating “bad” – whatever that even means, doesn’t mean that you are not healthy or that you are failing at some goal. Just because you are unable to have access to your usual food choices, doesn’t mean you, again, need to jump off the cliff into the land of junk or that you are failing today!


First step is to just accept wherever you are! Period. Whether that’s with not exercising or choosing to eat a lower quality food or meal than you are used to or have been. Taking ownership for our choices vs. punishing ourselves for choices actually puts us in a place of empowerment and a place to be more open and real with ourselves around how we truly feel or what it is that we truly want.  The reality is, chances are,  you are doing your best to maintain a place of balance as much as what’s possible for this moment, or this day.

There are reasons we are choosing to take the approach of throwing all of our desires for ourselves out the window.  Or why we are choosing to use an external excuse to probably eat something you really want to eat anyway and maybe haven’t been able to incorporate in your current days. What are those reasons, or more accurately, what are those feelings or beliefs that are motivating you to make those choices? Are we making those choices because we are feeling bad and wish to experience some comfort? Are we making these choices because something else didn’t go “as planned” or “perfectly” today, so that means the whole day is “shot” and we’re choosing to self-sabotage versus self-support?


1. Accept and acknowledge how you are feeling. This is where separating the feeling from the fuel comes in. Its important to pause long enough so that one doesn’t fall into the other. Catch yourself before you react, by  s l o w I n g  d o w n,  getting into your body and taking a breath or three.


Honor and respect and have compassion for how you are feeling. State what that is. For example:

“I am feeling bad because of something that happened at work.” Ok, so how does that make you feel – mad, sad, happy, or afraid?  Identify the feeling. And also acknowledge that it’s just a feeling. Feelings are there as navigation. What you feel gives you feedback of what you need more of or less of in your life. And empowers you to take-action. Or, it identifies where healing may need to take place if the feeling feels more like a reaction or trigger from a past experience.


By slowing down, we can sometimes figure out, that we actually don’t like the routine we just set up for ourselves, or that we actually hate the exercise class we are going to, but somewhere in our mind think we somehow HAVE to do it. Maybe its time we choose some different forms of movement in our lives that we enjoy more. Maybe we need to start working with our schedules more and adjusting when we want to move because the current schedule is feeling more stressful than joyful.


 2. Avoid falling into the trap of judging and getting mad that you have a feeling or that you “shouldn’t” feel a particular way about something. Just allow it to present, acknowledge that it’s there, and accept that its there. It’s not something you even have to do anything with if you don’t want. So don’t let these feelings drive other actions, such as how you choose to fuel yourself!

 3. Take enough time to really identify the feeling. See how you wish to process it and put it aside BEFORE you start to fuel. Feeding your body and caring for a body, is separate from dealing with how you feel – how your heart feels, how your head feels etc.


Whenever we are trying to do things differently, changing habits, changing thought patterns, changing schedules or changing food choices, we are typically challenged by resistance of some sort or fear and self-doubt, which are two of the most common saboteurs. These are a normal part of change as our brain and ego always want us to stay the same because it feels “safe”. Safe doesn’t’ always mean good for us or our own growth, but it feels safe.


Next time you are faced with this resistance to change, don’t fight it.  Choose to look at it differently, with compassion and with gratitude, that this is simply your mind/bodies way of keeping you safe. Honor that and remind yourself, that change is ok and is necessary at times. See it for what it is, thank it and let it know, you’re moving forward anyway. Even if that moving forward is just a simple step in a different direction.


We need to be aware and gentle with ourselves through our process. It’s important to be able to reflect on how things are going and where things feel challenging. Sometimes it’s even just evaluating if the goal or change you are looking to make is still something you still want to do? Something you still value? 


We have to remember to leave ourselves alone and start working with ourselves. Stop reacting, blaming, hurting or punishing ourselves because we aren’t doing what we think we “should” be doing or what others think we “should” be doing.


If you wish to look at this a little deeper for yourself and how this may be affecting your own health desires and goals, reach out and let’s have a chat!

or – to have access to scheduling an initial appt right away – either in person or virtual!


Meet Nicole

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Nicole is recognized state-wide and nationally as a Registered Dietitian and is also a Certified dietitian through the state of Wisconsin. She is also a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and a Certified Personal Trainer and Physical Fitness Instructor.

Nicole’s areas of expertise include: Wellness and lifestyle coaching, weight management, behavior modification, eating disorders, vegetarian lifestyles, gluten-free living, sports nutrition, recipe and menu design and development.







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