At 7:30pm last night I began to speak about the above topic. There were 6 people in their seats and I stood before them wondering what the heck I was going to say. We have all come to the table (literally) with obsessive thinking and behaviors surrounding our approach to food and eating. I prefer to look at food in this way: food is neither good nor bad; it is only either more or less nutritious. What IS however good or bad is the mental activity that happens when eating those more or less nutritious foods. We learn when we are children that some foods are indeed good or bad for us. We learn that there are specific times to sit and eat, and we learn that we should follow certain rules when eating those foods. For example, a parent will say, "If you eat 5 more bites of peas, you can have your cup cake" or "I don't care if you aren't hungry- it's dinner time" or "No Emma, we don't eat pasta for breakfast, how about a waffle?" As kids we had instincts that we vocalized: "I want blueberries, I want chocolate, I want a bagel" and we either got what we wanted, or we got shot down and told what to eat. These are “harmless” rules parents enforce upon their children. Parents (thankfully) run the house, make a structure for their kids so they will eat, grow and hopefully be nourished properly. It is my belief that if we get back some of what we had as children that we would be a lot better off. A child is much less concerned with food. He wants to concentrate on life and on having a good time. As we grow up in a thin obsessed diet centric world we are told to ignore our bodies’ natural instincts and cues. And now as adults our instincts are a complete mess. We don't know what we want, we don't know how much to eat, and we have no idea how to STOP eating when we feel we should. Processing all these thoughts about eating then becomes a totally negative and stressful experience. Having said all this, do I think that kids should rule the roost so when they grow up they can be in tune with their instincts? No. I think there is a way to respect their instincts while we teach our kids what it means to nourish our bodies. Teaching them which foods are nutritious or non nutritious. It’s OK to eat those chocolate chip pancakes, it’s fine to eat that plate of fettuccini alfredo, it’s cool to eat that bagel with cream cheese as long as we are eating more of the nutritious foods that are most nourishing to us on a regular basis and enjoying eating as it is a beautiful thing. Negative thoughts and stress make eating excruciating and digestion becomes more difficult because your body is receiving messages that there is danger. Evolutionarily speaking, when one consumes food in a negative mental state (stress) or when we restrict food (dieting) our bodies try to store what ever it can as fat- thinking that we may need it for later- a possible famine! This is just our body doing its job. When it senses danger (our negative thoughts) it prepares by protecting us so we can survive the danger! Storing fat is our body’s job. If you are currently in a stressful time in your life and you find that you are TRYING to eat well and be skinny, yet are still gaining weight... your body is just doing it's job! This is what stress and negative thoughts do.
Weight loss and healthy living comes from our brains, re-learning to cultivate positivity with eating, re-learning when we are actually hungry/full/sated and taking care of our bodies like our lives depended on it.
There it is.
So EAT MORE WEIGHT LESS is totally possible but in this way:
Eat more because you’re receiving messages from within that it's time for food: actual hunger.
Eat more because your body is naturally craving certain foods- learn to deconstruct those cravings and you will be able to nourish it.
Eat more happily, mindfully, peacefully.
Re- learning how to read our bodies signals takes time and support. Luckily there is time: life is long. And luckily you have me. Supporting people as they re-learn how smart and in control they can be is very exciting! Supporting people as they re-learn how to care for their bodies is so inspiring! I truly enjoy supporting them and brainstorming with them, and when people are serious about the journey their strength is amazing to witness!
As always I am thankful. For being able to give that workshop last night and for what the audience gave back to me. I am SO pumped to learn more and keep going. I really just want all of us to eat healthy nourishing food and feel good.