For the Highly Sensitive Person
HSP Health & Wellbeing: A Journey
As a highly sensitive person, you know that prioritizing mindful eating and a balanced diet is crucial when it comes to your overall health.
But it’s easy at times for you to eel chronically overwhelmed or stressed by life, and put your relationship with food and body on the back-burner.
Sometimes, the change is subtle, and you don’t notice the connection between how and what you are eating, and how you feel in mind-body-spirit.
Sometimes, it takes a bit of a journey to find your way to what I like to call “True Nourishment”. I’m honored to be your guide for that journey.
Keep reading to start to put some of the pieces together and learn 5 daily practices that can help you become a truly Nourished Sensitive.
Can you Relate?
pushing through hours without eating as work keeps demanding more of you
You’re filling up on sweets and junk foods when life just feels a little too much
You’re compulsively eating to cope with emotions that are a little too powerful
You’re ordering takeout nightly because you’re spent and running on empty
You’re drinking loads of coffee just to get through your day despite being sensitive to it.
HSPs are Unique.
All humans need a healthy diet and an ordered relationship with food in order to be at their best.
But for highly sensitive humans, whose nervous system wiring can come with metabolic and emotional costs, this is all the more important to your ability to thrive and flourish.
As a sensitive human, you’re wired to process deeply. It’s not a guarantee, but this wiring can make you more prone to high levels of stress and emotional overwhelm, anxiety, depression, as well as gut and health issues.
Deep down, your intuition or gut tells you that all of the information out there and “expert advice” about what to do and eat as a sensitive human being is simply not enough for you. Maybe, it feels like it’s leading you to feel even more confused, unbalanced, overwhelmed, and disempowered.
As a highly-sensitive soul, you don’t just need to “eat better” or “try some new diet”: you need a bit of nutritional and nourishing wisdom.
a holistic approach to nourishment not just for the physical body, but also the emotional, spiritual, cultural and lineage body. A daily set of nourishing practices that connect with a deeper nutritional wisdom and fully immerse you in your intuitive experience as an eater.
Here are 5 mind-body nutrition practices I have discovered both in my own healing journey with food and nutrition and that of my clients.
As a highly sensitive, empathic and intuitive woman, you’re just wired differently. There’s no escaping it, it’s a fact of your beautiful existence and it’s a gift; albeit one that comes with a few terms and conditions.
Namely, that you gotta’ take care of yourself on a daily, even hourly basis because high-sensitivity as a trait is metabolically “costly” and can be energetically “taxing” even if its also a wonderful gift to be celebrated.
To achieve a fully balanced nervous system as an HSP, start by paying close attention to the one thing you do everyday: eating.
Eating under stressful circumstances or emotional turmoil is a recipe for nutritional imbalance, digestive shutdown, appetite imbalance and more as a sensitive human because it puts your body in a chronic, low-grade fight-or-flight stress response.You see, the body likes to eat and digest at a slow, relaxed pace. When it doesn’t get that it assumes you’re being chased by a tiger and closes shop.
Stressed out, rushed and disconnected eating prevents you from achieving optimal digestion, nourishment, metabolic power , and enjoyment of food.
Eating slowly, and practicing mindful, intuitive eating, not only invites more joy and nourishment into your life, but doubles as another strategy to help keep your sensitive nervous system in balance. If there’s anything you should do right now, it’s this one.
As an HSP you may have encountered times in your life where you worried about having a disordered relationship with food.
Even if you’ve never thought about it though, your natural curiosity and tendency to process things deeply and pick on subtleties in the environment can make you prone to the onslaught of toxic nutrition information and messages known as diet culture. Have you ever found yourself analyzing and processing everything you’re hearing about nutrition & health but not gaining any clarity or even feeling worse about your health and eating habits then when you started?
You may be a victim of a diet culture: an oppressive system of rules, practices and rituals centered around dieting that puts constant pressure on us (especially the feminine) to diet and shrink the body.
Diet Culture has 1 directive: be small.
All this thinking about diet and nutrition is not only bad for your self-image and overall health, but it’s stressful and overwhelming!
More nutritional information is not always good for you, so if you’re constantly seeking the perfect diet, you’re unlikely to discover true health, nourishment and mind-body wellbeing.
what you will find are endless troubles with weight, appetite, eating, stress, digestion and so much more. Dieting fails you because not only is it incapable of doing what it says it will do (create long-term, sustainable weight loss), but it chronically disembodies and malnourishes you.
As a sensitive human, practice creating boundaries between yourself and unhealthy messages about nutrition, dieting, and your body. It’s wonderful to learn about nutrition, but often, more information does not equal more wisdom or insight.
Instead, tap into your intuitive sense as an eater and understand that there are so many different ways to eat and enjoy food and each “style” can be just as healing and nourishing for different individuals. It’s all about becoming your own food and nutrition expert, and knowing what works for you.
Learning how to create nutritionally balanced meals is a non-negotiable skill for a highly sensitive human. HSP’s have higher activation in a part of their brain (the insula) which modulates sensitivity to hunger among many other functions.
Eating sporadically, skipping meals, or not getting enough diversity in your diet, not only creates an imbalance in your gut, appetite, and mind but in all areas of your life. That’s why as an HSP you can probably relate to the terms “hangry” or “hanger”.
Nutritional balance will mirror Life Balance.
An important aspect of nutritional balance is variety. As an HSP, you are uniquely qualified to find deep appreciation and gratitude for the bounty of foods that nature provides. Honor this abundance by using it to satisfy a your nutrient and nourishment needs.
A few baby steps to hep you find nutritional balance:
include a variety of carbohydrates, proteins, energizing fats, and a nutrient-rich blend of fruits and vegetables throughout your day.
be mindful of your use of powerful substances like sugar, caffeine, and hyper-palatable processed foods
ask yourself and notice if there any specific foods that make you feel more balanced or less balanced and adjust your diet accordingly
Balancing your diet doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A few small changes can make all the difference in how nourished you feel!
Nutritional balance isn’t about following a “healthy” meal plan, the latest fad diet or even a prescribed diet your doctor gave you. It’s about connecting with Life (your life), embracing the abundance that food has to offer, and paying attention to how you build and respond to your meals.
Rhythm is absolutely everything for the highly sensitive person, but I don’t have to tell you that!
If you haven’t yet learned or embraced self-care routine, you may be ignoring or unaware of your natural rhythm as an eater in a sensitive body.
Finding your nutritional rhythm means making sure you are eating at regular intervals, listening to your appetite as it naturally rises and falls throughout the day, and learning what kinds of foods, portions, and specific meal times make you feel your best.
Getting out of nutritional rhythm can be extremely debilitating for an HSP, leading to overeating or bingeing in the evenings, rapid weight gain due to a disrupted metabolism, and emotional mood swings. When you’re already sensitive to life’s ups and downs, you don’t want diet to be one more thing that disempowers you.
Finding your nutritional rhythm is all about connecting back with yourself, your body, your emotions, and your flow in nature and with Life itself. When you connect with your whole self and become present and embodied in the world around you, you’ll start to receive cues and clues about how to remain balanced and in sync in mind, body, and spirit.
Start with baby steps. Focus on eating regularly to prevent crashes and spikes and listen to your appetite as it arises and falls naturally. Be intentional about creating better routines and peaceful rituals around eating and meal times and making time for self-care.
As an HSP, you are wired for deep loving compassion, warmth and exceptional empath. Do you find yourself drawn to compassionate and humane dietary patterns like vegetarianism, veganism and plant-based eating?
These styles of eat are not “perfect” or “ideal” (see Nourishing Practice #3), but they do carry benefits for all life forms on Earth and for the health of the planet itself.
If you decide to go vegan or cut out animal products as an HSP, pay close attention to how these diets make you feel. Part of being a truly nourished sensitive is being open, curious, and exploratory with how you eat, even if that means needing to let go and just eat what you want for awhile.
There is no one right or perfect diet for everyone, but elevating the quality and humanity of your food can make a huge difference in how nourished you feel not just in body, but in mind and in spirit.
Quality food isn’t really one definition. It can mean a lot of things.
homemade, artisan, local, organic, fresh, grass-fed, pasture-raised, gourmet, non-GMO, humanely-raised, and so much more!
Just remember this basic rule of thumb: any food or eating pattern that makes you feel a sense of connectedness and relatedness with your food, without compromising your health is quality and it can be deeply nourishing to you as a highly-sensitive soul.
As an HSP, allow your deep connection with life and the living world around you to serve as a catalyst to exploring your relationship with food and body. Practice giving yourself the daily gift of high-quality and humanely-raised food.
Buy the highest quality of food you can afford even if that means just adding one purchase of organic produce to your basket a week. Aim for progress instead of perfection when it comes to food quality.
You can connect with food and quality in other ways: try out your local farmer’s market, start growing your own food or experiment more in the kitchen. These offer “quality” experiences with food that nourish you beyond mere nutrition.
HSPs need more than your typical “cookie-cutter” approach to health and nutrition. As gentle and sensitive souls, we benefit from daily rituals and practices that calm and soothe our sensitive nervous system and nourish a positive and life-affirming relationship with food and with our body.
I’ve give you 5 daily practices that you can start right away even if that means simply reflecting on each of them and doing a bit of journaling about how you can implement them into your life.
Here at The Nourished Sensitive we’re on a mission to empower highly-sensitive humans reach their highest level of self-empowerment through the power of good food and a nourishing relationship with food and body.
Looking for additional support to achieve True Nourishment as a highly-sensitive person? Book a FREE Discovery Call with Leah, Registered Dietitian for HSP, Empaths and Intuitives to get started on your food and body healing journey today!