June Refresh: Falling in Love with Food
Today’s post is about our relationships with food.
I don’t think that I know anyone that has a perfectly healthy relationship with food. I realize that our connection with what we eat is primarily driven by our culture and our environment growing up.
Today, I want us, to step outside of our current views of food, our bodies, and the connection between the two.
When starting the June refresh month, I received so many questions about weight loss. What kinds of food do I eat to lose weight, what kind of exercises do I do to look a certain way. I started to realize that we are unable to separate food and health from weight loss and how we look.
I do not believe that you should ever eat or not eat things with the intention to look a certain way.
What I do believe is that you should eat foods that will nourish your body and make you FEEL good.
I know this is easier said than done. And I know some of you are thinking, “But, I feel better at a certain weight, and I am working towards that.” Instead of saying, “being at this weight (or looking this way) makes me feel better”, I believe we should be saying “I am happy and healthy when I eat these foods, and that makes my life better.” You might think that there isn’t a big distinction here…
But, when you stop fixating on food as the problem, and yourself as the problem, it is amazing how much space you can free up in your life and mind. You are beautiful, now, in this moment.
I want you to stop for a moment and think about your relationship with food. What shifts can you make to the way you think about food that could positively impact your life?
For me, I struggle with all or nothing thinking. For example, I think back to my life and can pinpoint periods of time where I thought that I was “eating good” or periods where I was “eating bad”. “Eating good” meant I was adhering to a strict low calorie diet, and if I wasn’t, I was “eating bad” and if I messed up, I’d often give up entirely. I have struggled, like many people, with my relationship with food. Luckily, I grew up in a household where my parents taught us about food, where it comes from, how it nourishes our bodies, but I still managed to be persuaded by the outside world telling me I wasn’t good enough. While I have seen what I consider to be huge improvements, I still want to grow.
Imagine if food wasn’t something you held in your mind as coming between you and an improved life?
What I think we can do:
- Redefine what we consider food and how we perceive food in our lives.
- Separate food from any “bad thinking”. Food is not bad. And YOU are not bad.
- Never mentally or physically punish yourself when you eat something that isn’t aligned with the kinds of food you want to eat (e.g. you eat a pint of ice cream when you are transitioning away from dairy).
- Be gentle with yourself. You are beautiful the way you are. Stop thinking that somehow, in this moment, that you are not enough.
These things all apply even if you are unhealthy because of consuming processed foods. Or if you have to eat certain foods because of dietary restrictions and/or allergies. You still can redesign the lens in which you view food and eating. If you still have the mantra of “I need to lose weight to be healthy” in your mind. You are missing what I am proposing. You do not need to lose weight to be healthy. Weight loss might be an outcome of eating healthier, unprocessed foods, but weight loss should never be the goal. We need to recreate the lens we use to view food and ourselves.
Importantly, and at the foundation of this, I believe that there is a continuum of food. On the food continuum, heavily processed foods inundated with sugar and preservatives fall on one end, and whole, unprocessed (single ingredient), foods that come from the earth fall on the other. While I believe that food is never bad, I also believe that some things we suggest are 'food' are in reality, not. In other words, edible doesn't equate to food. You can identify things in your life that aren't nourishing your body and consider letting them go.
I believe that when we begin to learn about what food is, how it nourishes our bodies, and how we truly are what we eat, that we can re-fall in love with food…and ourselves.
So this June Refresh isn't about saying no...
It is about saying yes, to loving food, and loving yourself.