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Food is more than fuel

When we choose to set aside our food fears and interact with food in new ways, our relationship with food starts to shift from disordered dieting to mindful eating. Because food is symbolic, which makes it sacred.

If you are already conscious of your feelings toward food, you may have noticed that at times you experience a gamete of emotions (fear, guilt, joy, pleasure, etc.).  But sometimes, you might be so detached from your food that you find yourself rather apathetic toward eating…  Hopefully some of these prompts will help you develop an awareness around your current relationship with food so you can then start creating your ideal relationship with it:

  • How do YOU experience food?
  • What judgments, and values, do you attach to your eating habits?
  • When was the last time you ate something you wanted, sans guilt?
  • If you’re a (grand)mother, watch your (grand)children eat their food — what do you notice about their preferences and behaviors?
  • Ask your inner child what/how she would like to eat.

Intuitive eating is more than just eating what sounds good… It includes honoring your spiritual health by giving yourself permission to enjoy food!  It also includes honoring your physical health through gentle nutrition, which can look like planning for when you’re hungry even if you aren’t.


Do you find yourself justifying under-eating out of fear of overeating? Or are you just completely apathetic about food in general? And what do you do when you’re not hungry?

If you need help understanding your body’s sacred cues (or the lack thereof), and you’re ready to feel less apathetic about food, then it’s time to (re)learn how to trust your body so it can trust you.

 

Intuitive Eating vs eating intuitively

You were born an intuitive eater. You don’t need to learn how, you need to unlearn diet culture so you can remember.

Often people turn Intuitive Eating into yet another diet, with rules that determine if you’re being good or bad. Intuitive Eating is a practice, not a destination. And it’s unfortunate that the Intuitive Eating framework is oversimplified as the “hunger/fullness diet” or the “what sounds good diet” when in reality it is all about nuanced body autonomy.

Because eaters confuse intuition with impulses or instincts, it can be hard to know how to listen and respond to YOUR body’s unique messages. It is my opinion that intuition involves not only the body but also the mind and spirit. Your intuition is a sacred relationship of ALL of You. This is not only something I personally practice but also something I coach my clients through and recently taught to our Body Peace Academy members… For you, dear reader, consider pondering and journaling about what intuition means to you and how it affects your food choices or eating habits. 

  • What do you do when you wake up hungry but can’t eat something because you just took some medication that needs to be taken on an empty stomach?
  • What do you do when you want a Snickers bar but you’re allergic to peanuts?
  • What do you do when it’s your birthday but you know if you eat cake you’ll feel sick?
  • What do you do when you have no appetite at all and nothing sounds good?

If you have lived a life full of rigidity or restriction, eating intuitively will actually feel counterintuitive.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Intuitive Eating doesn’t work for me” and I can’t help but ask what does “work” even mean? Are you afraid of gaining weight or overeating? Do you feel ungrounded by the “all foods fit” mentality? Is gentle nutrition triggering, confusing, and overwhelming? Get curious! Identify how your fears are limiting your ability to trust your Self. Then, get compassionate — give yourself permission to grieve and give yourself some grace. You’re doing better than you think.

That one time my golf coach chewed me out…

I cried in front of the entire golf team on the first day of practice.
 
It was my senior year, and my second season playing golf for the Mountain View Toros.
 
Over the summer our coach had asked us to hit the gym. He came up with a weight training program that was supposed to improve our golf swings… Because I’m a (recovering) perfectionistic people pleaser, I followed the prescribed routine religiously. I did everything just right. Unfortunately, it did not make me a better golfer.
 
I wasn’t the worst on the team, but I sure as heck wasn’t the best. We had two star players, and everyone else. After assessing our swings, our coach was clearly disappointed and proceeded to get after us for not going to the gym.
 
It was hard to not take it personal, because I had done exactly what he told me to do. He erroneously assumed that I had wasted away my summer, based on the fact that I was still a poor swinger. And so I started to cry.
 
I remember being so embarrassed, and nervous, as I stammered through my truth: I was a bad golfer, but I was an obedient one. My commitment to my practice, my team, and the coach was something deserving of recognition. He agreed, and then he apologized.
 
It was a memorable moment of advocating for myself that I will never forget. I’ve had other opportunities where I had to “stand my sacred ground” and each time I cried. I can’t help it!

 

“Give us the courage and tenacity to create new systems where every person is honored, valued, seen, and treated equally with kindness and love.” — Angella Johnson

 

As an INFJ, enneagram type 4, I have big feelings when it comes to advocacy. It’s why I get so pulpit poundy and a little cussy when I start talking about weight stigma. Although I’ve never had to personally advocate for myself at the doctor’s office, because my thin privilege allows me access to better health care. But it’s not fair.
 
In talking with family, friends, clients, and BPA members, I have heard of so many tear-filled stories where people in larger bodies are lectured for eating too much or moving too little when in reality they eat/move perfectly. When you’ve done everything “right” and yet you’re made to believe your body is still “wrong” it is NOT your fault.
 
My hope is that one day you can stand up for yourself, but in the meantime I will continue advocating for you (crying included).
 
Love much,
Beth
 
PS – If you’re feeling brave but need some extra support before your next doctor appointment, a colleague of mine created a fantastic resource: Weight Decline Card. I also recognize that sometimes requesting you not be weighed is more uncomfortable than being weighed, especially if you’ve been shamed previously and a confrontation feels unsafe. Please send me an email if you would like someone to advocate from afar and I will reach out to your care provider on your behalf.