Food plays a huge role in our lives. I mean it basically keeps us alive.
One of the key things that I learned from healing my relationship with food was that food, is food but how we relate to it can be completely different. It has an emotional aspect that is heavier than a pound of meatloaf. From the way we were raised, traumas, body shaming, peer pressure, eating disorders and addictions. A French fry is not the same for me, as it might be for you. I might be able to eat a couple of French fries and not even think about it, while you have to tie your hands to your back so you don’t finish the bowl and then have a sense of regret and quilt.
This made me shift my private practice from health coaching to "wellness/life/spiritual coaching" because I noticed that telling people what to eat was in most cases just feeding the “disorder” and not really changing the underlying emotions
So how do we eat?
1. Sitting Down- How many bites or meals per day do you do standing? You might be short on time. You have been sitting all day. You have kids to run around after. I’ve heard every excuse in the book (mostly because this one is really hard for me as well).
But by sitting down you tap into your parasympathetic nervous system aka rest and digest. You allow the blood to be in your stomach instead of your legs and you become aware of what is on your plate so you are more likely to eat less and actually digest what you are eating.
Tip- Draw a scale from 1 to 10. 1 being I’m not hungry- 10 being I will eat my own arm. When you feel at 6 start preparing your meal so that when you hit 8 you are sitting down. If you stand in the kitchen at 9 you won’t be able to sit down. If you have kids or are pressing on time have snacks handy and commit to sitting at least one meal per day.
2. Say Thank You- Take your time to be thankful for the food that is in front of you. It can be a simple Thank you or for example Michelle from the podcast Craniosacral likes to visualize the food as it goes down through her digestive system.
Tip- Here is a great article with things you can say before eating.
3. Breathe- My podcast starts with a breathing song that’s how much I promote breathe. Taking the time to take a deep breath before eating is a great grounding technique.
Tip- Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a book called Savor and on his interview with Oprah said something that I loved "When we can slow down and really enjoy our food, our life and our health, we take on a much deeper quality. I love to sit and eat quietly and enjoy each bite, aware of the presence of my community, aware of all the hard and loving work that has gone into my food. When I eat in this way, not only am I physically nourished, I am also spiritually nourished. The way I eat influences everything else that I do during the day. If I can look deeply into my food and take this time as a meditation—just as important as my sitting or walking meditation time—I receive the many gifts of the cosmos that I would not otherwise profit from if my mind were elsewhere. Because if I eat and am consumed by my worries and projects, I am eating a lot of stress and fear and this is harmful to my body and mind. "
4. Go Slow- You don’t really have to chew your food 100 times but you do need to chew your food and that in itself will slow you down.
Tip- Eat with your left hand if you are right-handed or vice versa. This will not only slow you down but work your opposite brain. Here is a great article of all the benefits this creates.
Try this four techniques with whatever it is that you are eating. Eat it with presence, breath and awareness. If this article resonated with you and you are looking to heal your relationship with food. Send me a message so we can schedule a one on one session.