Sometimes I'm "over" talking about food. I find myself wanting to tell everybody to just relax and not worry so much about it. As if it were that easy…especially for my clients with eating disorders.
So how does a person cultivate ease with food that allows for the type of relaxed relationship I'm envisioning? With a lot of intentional and purposeful work.
The world around us is highly anxious about food, to the point that we've convinced ourselves that if we know more information we'll make "better" choices. I challenge that posting calorie counts on menus and nutrition facts on the front of packages hasn't made us more informed; it's made us more confused. And tracking what we eat on apps or websites isn't creating trust or awareness with our body, it's fueling shame. Ever decided not to enter something you ate because you don't want to know how "bad" it was for you (i.e. how many calories are in it – as if calories are "bad" but I digress)? If these things were actually helpful we wouldn't have so many people struggling with food obsession, eating disorders, bariatric surgery or a thriving multi-billion dollar diet industry.
Establishing a relaxed relationship with food is going to require you to tune out some of those messages. Stop tracking your intake and looking up calories. Focus instead on internal signals from your body. Your body will tell you when it's hungry, what it's hungry for and when it's satisfied. You just have to listen, which is easier said than done for those who have become highly disconnected from their body by relying on external factors like diet plans and calorie counting.
Let's start now. Take a moment to sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Check in with your body. How is it feeling? Any tension or discomfort? How are your energy levels? And what about hunger? If you are hungry, what sounds good? Notice if you have any feelings of fear or judgment about your body or it's hunger. Just observe these thoughts as interesting, a natural manifestation of the food-obsessed culture we live in.
Create a mantra that resonates with you. Perhaps something like, "I respect my body and it's hunger." Or maybe, "My body is wise." Pick a phrase that captures what you'd like to feel and repeat it to yourself frequently. Write it down and stick it where you'll see it every day. Over time you'll start to trust your body more as you reconnect with it. It takes practice. Be patient. You are worth it.