"Likely you have a wealth of nutritional information and have tried several different approaches to eating, but sometimes wonder why its difficult to put things into practice."
Typically, the more health conscious you are, the more guilty you feel about your eating patterns when they don’t meet up to the ideals you strive for. Likely you have a wealth of nutritional information and have tried several different approaches to eating, but sometimes wonder why its difficult to put things into practice. This can feel very discouraging. What if I told you that there are really good reasons why you eat the way you do, and it has little to do with lack of willpower or not enough time and more to do with what you believe about yourself and life? What if I told you that eating on the run, grabbing a high carb snack when you feel lonely or feeling major resistance to cooking healthy meals might not be the problem but rather a symptom of something else? Often there are underlying reasons why we resist shifting patterns that are worth taking a look at. For a pattern to shift, we first need to notice our individual patterns and underlying beliefs. Once patterns are seen they cannot be unseen. Then we can have a choice to adopt a new perspective. Below are a few examples of whats at the root of this symptom we call “Im too busy.”
1) Hunger for Slow
The pace of our culture places demands on us that can leave our body feeling exhausted, our mind fragmented and our soul empty. I’ve heard it called the disease of speed. Many of us struggle to slow down and be present in our relationships or to carve our time for our own nourishment. This will reflect in how we approach our eating. Despite our best intentions, we often go for the quick fixes when it comes to eating and managing our health. I get it. I am a busy mom, wife, coach, friend and daughter.
Sometimes it feels impossible take time to slow down and trust that I can achieve more by doing less. Our body is wise and is always attempting to restore a sense of balance or homeostasis. Sometimes when we reach for less than healthy food, we are really looking for a way to buffer the stress and regulate our emotions. For example, we may be too busy taking care of everyone else, so we grab the quickest processed meal at the drive through. This tastes and feels good in the moment and becomes a substitute for the care we ourselves need.
The scales of self-care often don’t tip in our favor, so sweet food, for example may be the only nurturance and pleasure we receive when we don’t experience enough sweetness in our lives. The way we approach food often mirrors how we approach life. Author and teacher, Marc David points out that as we practice slowing down enough to cook and connect with the eating experience, “this then symbolizes how we relax into life, our body, career, fears, desires and anything life brings. It’s about reclaiming our time, our dignity and the sanctity of self care.”
Practice: Give yourself the gift of time. Practice cooking a simple healthy meal and actually sitting down to eat without distractions. This might meanyou have to schedule this in place of other activites. Simply notice the taste, texture, smell and relax into the experience. If you normally eat standing up, graze or don’t often enjoy the meal, you may feel a bit of resistance at first. Gently approach this as a practice. If you usually eat in 5 minutes, try eating in 10. Set a timer if that helps.
2) Hunger for Quality
As we slow down in life, we begin to notice and value the quality of experiences more. One of the greatest nutritional strategies that improves your health and regulates weight more than any other change is food quality. The issue many people have is that quality food costs more. It can feel stressful to increase the grocery budget as the cost of living rises. My family is on a budget and it took me awhile to see the benefit of paying that extra few bucks to get the higher quality food. We made this transition in stages and began it while we were a single income family. As we assigned a higher value to food quality, our visits to the doctor significantly decreased. My daughters skin sensitivities and asthma cleared up. It became real health insurance.
Secondly, my family began to experience the taste difference in better quality food and therefore value healthy eating more. We also enjoy high quality treats too! Today’s woman is savvy and I trust you can find reasonably priced organic food at a variety of places. We had fun sharing a quarter grass fed cow with another family and joining a food co-op to get fresh local veggies at a decent price. Im amazed at how places like Aldis are now offering organic options. It helps me to remember that each time I buy organic, I am voting. I am advocating for more sustainable and humane farming practices that burden this planet a little less. The result is real foods that have more vitamins and minerals and less xenotoxins.
As an added bonus, when your body takes in the added nutrients that local, fresh food provides, you won’t need as much food to meet nutrient requirements. Your brain will register full and the body will feel satisfied with less food. Our great grandparents ate real food grown locally. We are simply learning to return to the quality of food our ancestors knew.
Practice: Elevate the quality of food by taking one item you eat on a regular basis and buying a higher quality version of it.
3) Hunger for Love
Our relationship with food is quite intimate. Food was equated with love from the time we were nursing infants. It has a powerful effect on our mind/body, and it can alter our emotional state very quickly. We can predict how food will make us feel more so than our relationships. In our genetic cellular memory, food = love. In this hurried world, it makes a lot of sense that we would either abuse food or resist allowing food to nourish us on a deep level based on what we believe about our worthiness. Food = nourishment, pleasure, love and satisfaction. Many of us feel a bit uncomfortable with allowing ourselves to fully receive these gifts.
Our food behaviors reflect this. We can tend to distance ourselves from food by ignoring it or use it to fill a void. We also can try to control it and make it behave. The good news is that the eating experience can be a pathway to healing and a practice of learning to how to receive nourishment and love in a new way. Cooking and sharing food can become a sacred act and spiritual practice as well as a practical function. Rather than fight it, we can think of curating healthy meals as a way to love and nourish our lives and those we feed.
Practice: Create a nourishing atmosphere when you cook once a day. You will likely be cooking anyways. Might as well add in some pleasure! Play some music, light a scented candle, and pour a glass of wine or sparkling water. Cultivate connection by inviting others to cook with you. As cooking becomes a more nourishing for the soul this literally brings health to the body. These valid needs for slowness, quality and love aren’t a luxury, but a biological requirement. We are wired for all of these.
Biology will always trump our best intentions. When we ignore these crucial needs, symptoms will manifest in a variety of forms. Stress related Illness and unhealthy eating are some of the most obvious signs that a belief and pattern may need some attention. Symptoms act as lights on the dashboard trying to restore us back to what really matters. If we are deficient in relaxation, healthy pleasure, quality and love, this will be mirrored in our relationship with food and our body. Part of healing is learning to notice what your subconscious stories are around your worthiness.
Whats the story around allowing for more love, slowness, pleasure and quality in life? What patterns of avoidance, resistance or defensiveness do you notice come up when it comes to honoring these needs? Your relationship with food and overall health will mirror all of this in some way. What would I need to believe about myself and life in order to trust that taking time to feed myself and my family in a nourishing way is a valuable use of time? What beliefs would I need to let go of? Rewrite Let’s begin to rewrite your food story now. Let’s trade in the old scripts like “I’m too busy to eat healthy.” Instead, practice saying: “I’m learning how to nourish my body and elevate my relationship with food so I can have more energy for life. I am making more conscious choices that support my grander mission in life. My relationship with food serves that mission.”
If you need more support in rewriting your scripts, graduating out of habits that no longer serve you and awakening into more freedom, I would love to support you on your journey. Email me to schedule a Discovery Session at no cost to you. You will walk away from this conversation with more insight and a sense of what is within your reach.