Food As Political Statement
Before I decided to get real about my dream to be healthy and fit, I held onto my right to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, very tightly. I considered it a political issue. As a feminist, nobody was going to tell me how to eat or how to look, even if it was for my own good. What a fabulous manipulation. Around age 30, and many pounds overweight, I finally realized this was the internal "brat" speaking, not my highest self, and now I consider taking excellent care of myself a much better political statement.
Food As Entertainment/Connector
Most of us have positive social experiences and memories associated with certain foods and they are triggered by eating them again, and again (no matter how sick you feel after). Social occasions often center around certain “decadent” foods. I am not saying it is easy to learn to make your own fun (without lots of crappy food), but you can.
I now take it as a personal challenge to make social situations fun and interesting by providing stimulating topics of conversation such as "What was your proudest moment?" or "If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?" Plus, the truth is, I am more connected with people now that I am not stuffed, hazy or otherwise numb and checked out. And, feeling fantastic about how I look helps with being connected, too. Maybe real fun happens when you master yourself, connect heart to heart with people and enjoy healthy food together.
Food As Emotion Tamer
Sometimes eating just feels so good. It seems to relieve boredom, anxiety and sadness and heightens joy or excitement. This only goes awry when you eat so much or make such poor choices that the high ends in a huge crash, emotionally and physically. I actually still believe in using food this way if it is highly "designed" and controlled. Celebrating with a papaya or some brazil nuts now works for me and feels as decadent as cake used to. Settling my uneasiness with some tea or applesauce still works without doing the harm a binge does.
Food as an Intimacy Substitute
When I decided to cut out refined sugar (now I have some from time to time, but at the time I wanted to see if I could do it) I felt like somebody had taken away my best friend. At night I used to sit and curl up in front of the TV and zone out with a pint of ice cream, and that was my friend. I actually got a buddy to help wean me, because I was so lonely.
Now those of you are single might be like “oh yeah that’s what you do when you're single,” but I wasn’t single! I had a husband whom I was ignoring! As soon as I realized food was no longer going to "fill" the empty place in me, I knew I had to deal with my relationship with my husband.You might have thought that my issue was “I like ice cream,” but my issue was that I was afraid of intimacy. I was afraid that if I really showed myself to my husband and if I really went to him for love and connection, that he might not still like me. And I might not still like him—and I did not want to deal with that. Luckily, I had no option to ignore the issue and even more luckily, I found out that, with a little work, I did have a relationship worth "going to" for intimacy. You won't know whether or not you have such a relationship, until you let go of the crutch of food.
Food is a complex issue for most of us. We project everything onto it and we are not well educated about the effects of the foods that are tirelessly and manipulatively advertised to us. We need to be educated and inspired over and over. That's why Handel Group™ Life Coaching is teaming up with Dr. Frank Lipman for a one-time LIVE teleseminar called "Eating for Sustainable Wellness" this Thursday, June 23 8:30-9:30pm ET. If you can't make it, register anyway and we'll send you the link afterwards to listen. It's on sale with MindBodyGreen for just $10. You will get information and inspiration regarding what to eat (and not eat) and how to "design your life" in this area.
I wish you deep satisfaction on every level at your next meal.
Sincerely yours in health and happiness,