How often do you tell yourself off for eating something you have mixed feelings about? On the one hand you really want the comfort, but on the other hand you want to stick to your intention to eat healthier.
We humans have a complicated relationship with food, but honestly, it’s not our fault. It has nothing to do with us not being strong enough either. It’s just that willpower runs out over time, so if we want to eat healthier, willpower alone is not something we can rely on. Today we welcome mindful living coach Manna Stone to offer some more insight on creating a positive relationship with food so we can live a healthier lifestyle.
Eating is an emotional experience
Eating is something emotional and intimate. As a baby we get fed, nurtured, loved and touched at the same time. When we are upset, it’s our mother’s milk that comforts us. Food has always and will always be highly emotional and something through which we can show our love to other people.
And we live in a world where food companies have made it their duty to create foods that have that same effect on us. That’s why there’s so much added sugar to many of the products, to give us that same feeling of intimacy that we so often lack in this world.
So how can mindful eating help us navigate our choices?
1. Be mindful of what you’re eating
Real food was made for you
Firstly, each piece of fruit, vegetable or meat was grown for us. It was alive and created for our consumption. Most of these have taken a long time to grow and a lot of labour has gone into getting these foods to where they are, on your plate. This is something to be grateful for, all these hands that have worked to get you this food, the miracle of it growing out of the soil and the hands that have prepared it for you.
Be aware of your senses
Secondly, we can bring our attention to our senses. What do we see, smell, taste, hear and maybe even feel. Every bite can be a little adventure when we get curious about all these things. You will notice new things about foods that you’ve eaten many times before.
Do you really like the taste?
By tasting the food there’s also something else that might happen. My experience is that most of the junk food that I ate suddenly lost it’s appeal. It wasn’t satisfying me like it used to and I just simply didn’t want it anymore. I encourage you to try this out. Even if you still like it, you’ll notice that a few bites are usually enough to satisfy the craving.
2. Be mindful of why you’re eating
There are a lot of reasons why we can choose to eat something. We might be stressed, bored, emotional or lonely. You’ve learned that it is wrong to use these things as ‘an excuse’, but I tell you these are very valid reasons to eat.
As I told you before, eating is emotional and nourishes way more then just our bodies. Emotional eating is super normal, we all do it. The problem is when eating becomes our only coping mechanism. It might be great at comforting us, but it won’t solve what’s going on.
When I notice that I want to eat for purely emotional reasons, I usually ask myself these questions:
- What is really going on? What am I feeling and why?
- What is the best way I can help myself right now?
If that is eating something, then go for it! But maybe it is calling a friend, confronting someone that hurt you, changing a situation that isn’t working for you or whatever it is that will help you deal. Consider all your options, before you make your choice.
3. Be mindful of how you talk about eating
The way we’ve learned to talk about food is often very disempowering. As it’s my mission to empower you to make your choices out of self-love, this is an important topic to talk about.
When you eat mindfully, there is no food you can’t have (unless for medical reasons). You will never have to say you ‘can’t have something’ anymore. Because who decided that? You. No one oversees your food choices, but you. So, from now on you can eat anything you want. It is up to you to make the most self-loving choice in every moment. If that’s a no, then just say ‘no thank you’, your choice.
4. Be mindful how you talk about your body
I would also like to encourage you to talk kindly about your body. No matter what it looks like. It is worthy of your love and respect. If this is difficult for you, there are many inspiring body positive accounts on Instagram which you can follow. We have learned to hate every ounce of fat on our bodies. The only reason this message is told to us, is because it’s a market. People can make money of our insecurities. This becomes a lot harder when we decide to love ourselves. Does body positive mean that we stop try to eat healthy? Not at all, but healthy and skinny are not the same thing. We can be happy and healthy at many different points of the scale.
So be mindful of what & why you eat and how you talk about food and your body, so you can create a more loving relationship with food.
About the Author
Conquer your Cravings Book Giveaway
Manna loved sharing all these tips with you and if you’re craving more of this, then I want to encourage you to leave a comment below to win 1 of 5 copies of her book ‘conquer your cravings’ to help you create a loving relationship with food. To enter, please comment with which tip in this article has been most helpful for you and why.
Open to Australian residents only, competition closes midnight, 23 May 2019.