The new year brings many of us to a place of wanting renewal and starting new intentions of health.
Often we create restrictive plans to help us lose weight or find an exercise plan we force ourselves through for 30, 60 or 90 days…hoping we will end up loving it and ourselves in the process.
What if you could make peace with your food?
What if you could be more loving and kind to yourself now?
It really requires one thing, ok, two.
Awareness and desire to choose differently than in the past.
These are parts to what I call practical mindfulness. Being aware of your choices and how those choices are viewed and what judgements against yourself you made – especially after you indulged when you told yourself ‘Oh, I really shouldn’t!” But then you do and the guilt sets in or you start to berate yourself for being weak willed.
In reality, none of these things are really true. They are the perceptions we have chosen to believe that food is good or bad. These judgements can often motivate us, yet they can also deflate us causing emotional turmoil…which then can drive more eating of what is on your ‘bad’ food list. And you start that downward spiral.
When I work with clients, some of them come in with GI issues, pain and fatigue, anxiety, and some want to feel better about themselves or lose weight. Feeling better about one’s self is what healthier eating does, yet it is less about actual weight and more about awareness of judgements we have with food and with ourselves. As we heal the judgements, the food choices naturally change to healthier.
The first step is to be aware of how you talk to yourself about your food choices.
Do you judge yourself based on the foods you are choosing?
If you find yourself talking negatively about yourself, it is ok. The truth is, you are not your food choices. Nor do your food choices define you, yet your judgements against yourself certainly affect how you feel.
Step back and ask yourself: “What would my best friend tell me to do?”
Your best friend would probably say “You’ll be fine. Just have a little less but enjoy what it is you have chosen. You can always choose something else next time. Just enjoy what you have!”
You always do have a choice. You can be your own best friend and be kind to yourself, or you could be critical, berating and unkind to yourself.
The next step is to take a look at the situation to understand how the emotions may be playing in.
Most of us do eat emotionally. This is not good or bad, it is a reality – we are human and humans have emotions. As I work with clients through their emotional issues, we understand the triggers, we make peace with the triggers and then we give those emotions a big hug.
This is also where you can be your best friend, and acknowledge the emotion and your desire for that food. Will it make you feel better really? If yes, eat it and enjoy it. I mean really enjoy every bite. Accept that this particular food choice is good for you in this moment. It is loving and kind to self to eat that food at this very moment.
And if you realize that none of that is true, you can choose something else that will actually help nourish your emotions that may not be a food.
The third step is to look for the lesson you can learn from this experience.
Life is a series of experiences, right? We learn more than whether something is wrong or right. We actually learn that ‘this way worked for me!” yay, or “this way did not work for me”….yet rather than saying, boo, let’s have a pity party, let’s accept it as a learning experience. Nothing more or less than that.
With acceptance, you can then explore other options which may work better for you in the future.
Often a coach like me helps with this as they are outside the situation (the emotions are not there) and they may have more tools to share with you or know how to customize the tools for you specifically.
Without the emotions, we can usually see more available options.
For example, you are stressed at work. You worked through lunch because there is a lot of work to do. You accepted to help in a project even though you are already feeling behind with other projects. But you have to say yes! You really feel the pressure.
You eat lunch at your desk to get through more work. About 2-3 PM, you cannot stop thinking about candy. It is at your co-worker’s desk or someone brought some from home for the office.
Grabbing that candy is not good or bad. It just is what you want right now.
– What emotion is present? You feel stressed, overwhelmed and under-appreciated.
– What does the candy do for you? It may be the only thing sweet happening in that moment. Now accept that that candy is filling your need for something sweet in your work day.
Now, really enjoy that candy! And just notice what you may notice without judgement.
– How do I move forward through this? You start to look for ways to take a break from work so you can feel less stressed. Look for ways to put some fun or play into the work day. Maybe working through lunch is not your best strategy – maybe you actually need to leave your desk, eat lunch peacefully for15 minutes. Then come back to your desk rejuvenated and ready to ‘attack’ that to do list with a better tactic.
When you take time to breathe, connect with the emotion and really understand what it is your body really wants, you can move through the situation with compassion, loving and understanding of yourself and your food choices. As you move through awareness, acceptance and presence, you can choose acts of kindness towards self which may no longer be food based. Your life becomes more enjoyable on all levels because you have made peace with your food and your choices. You are no longer worried about what you ate and just love yourself a little more each day.
I encourage you to try this exercise to gain a new relationship with yourself and make peace with your food. Let me know how it works!
If you need help with working through this exercise or other emotional issues, I offer emotional release techniques. You can choose those sessions, or the Be Whole program which includes both the intuitive nutrition along with the emotional release techniques. Pretty transformative work! It will guide you to make peace with yourself and with your food, maybe everything in your life.