Navigating our relationship with food requires a balanced approach that is both intuitive and intentional when we want to improve performance and support health. To streamline this process, we created the 3 C’s framework: Curiosity, Compassion, and Context. Each element of this framework provides a lens through which we can better understand and address our needs, desires, and decisions when it comes to our food plan of care.

1. Curiosity: Tuning into Our Current State

The act of eating can be a conscious decision that is one rooted in understanding our body’s signals. Here are some questions to evoke a sense of curiosity about our current state:

  • What’s my energy level like right now?
  • Am I in the mood for a snack or a full meal?
  • What flavors am I craving?
  • What emotions are surfacing for me at this moment?
  • How does my digestion feel?
  • What type of food or meal will truly satisfy me?

By pausing to reflect on these questions, we open a dialogue with ourselves, ensuring our food choices align with our genuine needs and wants, rather that “shoulds”.

2. Compassion: Embracing Self-understanding and Kindness

Compassion is about acknowledging our present situation with understanding and kindness. It involves recognizing and accepting where we are in our journey – whether we’re short on time, feeling energized, or in a low mood – while also being mindful of our personal values.

It’s important to understand that practicing self-compassion isn’t an “easy pass” or a way of “letting ourselves go.” Instead, it’s about granting ourselves grace and space to make decisions that align with our well-being. Research consistently shows that individuals who adopt a self-compassionate mindset tend to be more productive and maintain their motivation more effectively than those who are overly self-critical, which helps goal outcome in the long-run.

3. Context: Understanding Our Immediate Needs and Goals

Food doesn’t only satiate hunger—it fulfills a variety of needs. 

Recognizing the context of our meal choices is important in making choices that best support our needs. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I want to achieve with this meal or snack?
  • Do I need this meal to keep me satiated until dinner?
  • Is this snack going to help me concentrate during an extended meeting?
  • Am I looking for an energy boost for an upcoming workout?
  • Do I simply want to eat something delightful, just for the joy of it?

The context in which we eat often shifts. This is where flexibility comes in. Recognizing that meals can change based on our current needs helps in creating a dynamic and guilt-free relationship with food.

In essence, the 3 C’s framework for approaching food—Curiosity, Compassion, and Context—offers a holistic way to engage with our dietary choices. It invites a deeper understanding of ourselves, promoting not just a healthy relationship with food but also a deep connection to our body’s needs and desires.

Application: The Journey from Theory to Practice

Applying the 3 C’s framework can be a challenge, especially for those who have ridden the dieting roller coaster for years. This journey entails mastering several skills. However, the good news is that these skills can be broken down into actionable steps, ensuring that anyone can grasp and benefit from this framework. Through our coaching, we offer personalized guidance to help individuals internalize the principles of Curiosity, Compassion, and Context, assisting them in cultivating a healthier, more healthy relationship with food.