“I realized that I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life.” — Kerry Washington
Hunger is one of the most fundamental and basic of human drives, and from the moment we are born, food plays a role in how we behave, how we feel about the world around us, how we feel about ourselves, and how we respond to those closest to us. It is no surprise, therefore, that as adults, how we are eating and what we are eating can tell us a lot about what is going on with us psychologically, emotionally, and even spiritually.
How what we eat, how we eat it, and when and why, can either meaningfully enhance or critically interfere with our full and unimpeded joy of life. This means a lot more than whether or not you’re able to fit into that little black cocktail dress anymore. It’s about figuring out what you’re eating says about you, and working with that to address whatever conflicts are causing you to be less than your ideal self, physically and psychologically.
Think about the diet rollercoaster that so many of us have been on for most of our lives. We go on diet after diet. We lose weight temporarily, only to gain it right back. We spend our money, time and attention chasing the holy grail of skinny. We never feel thin or pretty enough, so we need diet pills, plans and detoxes that will help us fix it. We feel that skinny is the be-all end-all. If we could only reach our target weight, then we will finally be happy.
The truth is that if we are not happy now, we are not going to “get happy” by being skinny. The core underlying issues that are really making us unhappy and even over weight will be there until you resolve them. The “skinny” will not last, unless you heal yourself from the inside out.
As a psychotherapist and holistic health and mindfulness coach, I see a lot of clients who manifest their inner conflicts through their relationship with food. They come to me for a variety of reasons, but more often than not, weight, body image, and food enter the conversation. I have learned over the years that eating habits, feelings about food, compulsive behaviors surrounding food provide me with a lot of important clues about what is going on with my patients, and how I can help them.
While a nutritionist simply looks at a person’s diet and calorie intake, I believe it’s important to look at what is going on in your environment, career, and relationships with family, and friends.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What are the main stressors in my life?
- What area of my life need the most attention? (i.e. unhappy career-wise or improving relationship with my husband)
- What are the stories you tell yourself about yourself? (i.e. “I can’t…, I am ….. I always……”)
- Where do they come from? We all have limiting core beliefs from childhood and all of them are in some way, wrapped around memories and experiences with food and nourishment.
- How did your parents feel about food and their bodies? What can you remember? Was your mother always on a diet? Did she criticize you for eating too much or too little?
In order to look and feel your best, you need to find peace of mind, disrupt your resistance to who you are, and accept where you are right now, without judgment, so that you are free to become who you want and were meant to be. I have found that once you get at the root of the psychological conflicts that drive unhealthy eating behaviors, the weight disappears along with the uncomfortable feelings that create those extra pounds.
Through a state of mindfulness about what and how you are eating, you will get rid of the toxic emotional junk food in your life, so you can lighten up inside and out. When you can cut the brain fat, your body will follow!