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Our relationship with food is dangerously skewed. We eat our way through the year, starting with sports parties and holiday leftovers in January and continuing all the way to December, with coconut snowballs, gingerbread men, and pies, pies, pies. We eat for birth, and we eat for death. We eat when we’re happy, and when we’re sad.
We eat, and eat, and eat.
And yet, you can learn to celebrate this. You can find bliss in simple gatherings. You can find satisfaction in a single bite – not a single slice, or a single cookie, or a single loaf. You can enjoy time with loved ones, and enjoy the tradition of celebrating food, without the worry of losing control. Here's how.
1. Avoid being full, yet empty.
Often, the things we’re eating are making us binge. Sugar/fat/salt is an irresistible combination that the processed and fast food industry is exploiting. The combination of flavors becomes a drug: it pleases the brain and our chemical makeup, and we feel simply lovely… for an hour.
When blood sugar drops, we need more of the deadly combo. We run through an incredible array of self hate, and self gratification. It’s a silly little roller-coaster ride that many of us experience daily. And if that’s all we’re eating – disguised concoctions of sugar, salt, and fat – then we’re truly starved of nutrients. We can be full, and yet empty.
Your body will force you to feel food cravings until you actually feed it something nourishing, like vegetables, fruits, or high quality, unprocessed protein. So, eat something real. Whole. Snack on a banana, or wrap some raw cheese in a collard green. Feel full, not empty.
2. Find emotional nourishment.
Sometimes, immediately after we eat, we eat again. And again. Even though there’s no way we’re still physically hungry. We’re emotionally hungry: We need the nourishment that cannot be found in strawberries and chocolate cake.
So take a moment to be mindful of the emotions you may be feelings. Where are you feeling deficient? Joy? Passion? Creativity? Do you need more fulfillment in your career, or your home life? Discover this, and feel the cravings for food dissipate. Then, reach out.
Grab a pencil and draw something beautiful. Feed your inner light with some outdoor play, a giant hug, some passionate love making. Laugh, dance, and enjoy life without the craving for food.
3. Make eating a meditation.
Maybe you eat nourishing food, and you’re also feeling spiritually satisfied. No emotional hunger in your belly. And yet, you continue to eat more than your fill. You eat mindlessly. I’m like you. A food lover. I’m addicted to experimenting in the kitchen & sampling everything I create. And if I like something a whole lot? I’ll eat. And eat. And eat, until there’s nothing left. There’s a simple solution. Mindfulness. Truly being there with your meal.
When you sit down at your plate (which is the first step, by the way. No standing meals or munching on the go), take a long breathe in, and exhale for even longer. Notice how the food smells, and appreciate every aroma. Our bodies are very wise, you know. When we smell what we’re about to eat, our stomachs produce exactly the right type of acids to break it down.
Maybe dip your fingers in your food. Eat with your hands. Feel the temperature, the texture, the consistency. Get in touch with it. Create a relationship.
And when you finally take a bite, do so with every bit of mindfulness that you have. Be there with your food, and nothing else. Feel it nourishing you. Sustaining you. As you eat, notice that you’re becoming full, and when your body no longer wants food, stop. Save the rest, or give it to a loved one.
Smile, for food is something to be celebrated and enjoyed – not rushed and exploited.