What a perfect time of year to consider what and how we eat. When the festive season seems to be all about what we eat. Then we have the guilt of what we ate, yet we carry on eating, and worry about the consequences. If it were as simple as eat less and exercise more then we would all be fit as fiddles, However I suggest that were not and were all still craving more energy in every working day and at night time turning to food to comfort us.
My recent and most burning question has been, why do we comfort eat?
For many of you, my self included eating is a function, a practical part of the day, a distraction and has been used as a form of entertainment. A social norm to help us reach a goal if that is to feel full, give us an energy boost, to warm us up or just a habit formed from learnt patterns, eating at set times even if were not actually hungry. Wow the more I delve into this subject the more these seems to be conditioning about what and how we eat.
With a few mindful changes we can all start to change our relationship with food. Yes we all have one, a relationship with ourselves and with the food we eat.
Have you heard it said “ How we are with something is how we are with everything”. Let me explain. What I have noticed for myself and with my coaching clients is that how we are with our food and our style of eating is actually how we are with everything. For example if we are confused so will our eating habits be. If we are functional and practical we will be equally functional in our relationship with our food, and also if we are obsessive so will our diets and regimes of eating be and all our relationships.
Don’t get me wrong I think I love food and eating it, but seldom these days have I really, really enjoyed my food to the extent that I can relish the idea of eating a meal. The flavor, the texture, taste and smell of a good meal. That to for everyone is quite different. So I have taken myself off on a journey to re discover what I really like with no rules to follow, no good and bad foods, no must or must not have lists of super healthy foods. I am un-conditioning myself. I am going for foods that attract me, be they Raw, cooked, sweet, savory, sour, spicy, delicious or bland or my typical comfort family favorites, that enable me to feel full and somehow loved to my recent favorites of fasting, juices and really healthy options.
I listened to my body as she chose what was delicious for me. I listened to my body after I ate to see how she reacted to the food, and I considered the environment I had just eaten in, the atmosphere, the setting, my timing, and my thoughts.
I have discovered that I have naturally gravitated towards lighter foods at times and heavier foods at others. And If I felt the need for heavier foods due to extra stress in my outer world, with situations like leaving my home, separating from my partner, finding a new home and the prospect of moving. Then I have taken the foods that I felt at the time would fulfill me.
I have also made another huge change, I honour myself with my style of eating, I sit more comfortably, I set the table, I turn off the TV, shut off my ipad, don’t answer the phone and I actually look at the food I am about to consume. When I did my Reiki and energy healing course we were taught to bless our food, much the same as saying grace before we ate and I have brought this back into my eating routine too.
Getting back to the question of why do we comfort eat? My self discovery is that if we are continually mindless with our choices of what and how we eat we are out of control and not listening or enjoying what we consume.
To absorb any of our necessary nutrients we actually need to be relaxed and feel safe when we eat, or we are in flight or fight mode, our bodies are stressed and all the energy is going not to digesting our food, but to our muscles to get ready to run. Our digestion system actually shuts off. Now I think its funny how often I have eaten and been moving walking, driving, I eat really healthily and enjoy as I said before I love my Juices and healthy foods but I know now that I can feel that my body is far from enjoying them as I am sitting on the edge of my chair, or running out of the door with a juice in hand to drink whilst I drive or after yoga class.
This whole quest to un-condition myself around my eating habits has brought about a remarkable change, in not WHAT I eat but HOW I eat. I am now mindful and really enjoying my food in a relaxed atmosphere and I can taste so much more.
Fiona Robertson: helping you on your QUEST to un condition your eating habits, lose weight, and really enjoy your food again.
What is the missing nutrient you need to stop you comfort eating?