Katie here and before we begin getting bombarded with the "New Year, New You" marketing, I wanted to share 3 quick items that we need to zoom out and step back from in order to truly reconcile our relationship with food, eating, and our bodies in a sustainable way. So let's dive in!
1) Food and Body Morality: In order to begin the hard, time-needing work of reconciling our relationships with food and our body we need a new pair of glasses; we need to begin experiencing eating and our body as neither good or bad. When we remove this layer of judgment we allow curiosity to break through and we actually get to tune into how our certain foods feel and taste and how our body operates at a needing state versus a state of good enough functioning. This also means we need to step away from the idea of clean and dirty foods and right and wrong bodies. I'm going to bold this because it's important: This is not an argument that all foods have the same nutritional or nourishment value. This is not an argument that all foods will taste great/feel good in your body. This is an argument for separating the mental experience of food (that for many of us, has been the only experience of food for a while) from our personal, physical experience of food. Reconnecting with our personal experiences of food is not easy or natural but when we take the time to reestablish an intuitive way of eating we will be fostering a more sustainable, long-game relationship with food and our bodies.
2) Emotional Restriction: We're experiencing a time in popular culture where it's good to be a foodie or believe "all foods fit"... as long as you also go to crossfit a few times a week or (insert preferred part-time job exercise routine here) enough. This is to say, many of us would not identify as food restrictors because we physically allow ourselves to eat certain things. But this does not mean we have taken certain foods out of the forbidden food box or off a pedestal. Without truly allowing all foods without compensatory behavior or only as along as we're staying active enough, we're still in a restrictive mindset and more likely to feel powerless or out of control when these foods show up.
3) The idea that "EMOTIONAL EATING" is a problem or even THE problem: A lot of folks will tell me that they wish they could go back to that magical phase of diet number whatever where they "realized that food is fuel" and that while that may have helped them for a while slowly, the food-as-function mentality slipped away. Food is fuel and pleasure. Food is also sustenance and nurturance. If we want to separate food from emotions we need to stop allowing mothers to feed their infants (by breast or bottle) because this is where feeding and comfort, nourishment and soothing become fused, the biological imperative of attachment takes place. So there will be times when we eat to soothe...and that is OK. In fact, that's great! There will also be times when we eat to soothe and it doesn't work or happens "mindlessly." Where we go wrong with this is chasing the behavior rather than following it to understand what it's trying to tell us, which is usually that another need of ours is not being met. Rather than seeing emotional eating as a problem, we need to understand it as 1) a resourceful type of self-soothing and 2) a signal that something within us or our lives needs a little attention. Maybe that's not enough rest or space in your day. Maybe it's a relationship that's out of whack. Maybe it's a need for some mental stimulation or creativity. Who knows (and let's find out!)
If you are interested in shifting from judgment to curiosity with your body, get in touch today. You can find me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.