As a devoted student, some of my most basic education and favorite life-lessons are thanks to food… So blessed to be an eater.
I grew up in a home where food was both feared and revered. My parents, like so many others, were concerned about losing weight and being healthy. And of course I struggled with body image throughout my teens. When I went off to college, I thought I wanted to be a doctor which means I ended up taking a lot of biology classes. I gained the infamous freshman 15, learned even more about nutrition and weight management from roommates or professors, until it all compounded into one big confusing reality that food really was just an instrument for good or evil. Eventually I started to see food less as a tool for weight loss and more as a tool for health/wellness. But even this newfound knowledge further ingrained within me the belief that food was a moral issue.
I remember as a teen, and throughout college, thinking I’d never make a good anorexic or bulimic because I loved food too much — a twisted self-judgment that made me think I was somehow a failure.
Now, looking back, I can see that I actually struggled with orthorexic tendencies and binging behaviors. In my mind it was better to sometimes go without food than eat something unhealthy. And that form of restriction would eventually backfire until I was so hungry that it didn’t matter if I ate something healthy or not, because my body was desperate to eat anything and everything until I was sick to my stomach and full of shame, worried that I was now destined to die of cancer or worse: that I was somehow less worthy, or righteous, as if I had committed a grievous sin. So I’d try harder, eat healthier, until the cycle repeated itself over and over.
It really wasn’t until just a few years ago that I had a complete overhaul in the way I related to food. I was helping others with weight loss programs, including more alternative approaches like Ayurveda and chakra balancing, but something was still missing… One summer I ended up helping with the food at a weekend workshop for women. It was at this event that I had a HUGE epiphany about food. I had planned the meals and even created some activities to take it to the next level (like smelling your food), but I started hearing people make comments about how healthy and high vibe the food was. On one hand, I was excited because that was my intention! But then I started to feel unsettled, because I knew the food wasn’t perfect. I was from out of town, so out of necessity we ended up using things like chicken bouillon instead of bone broth, processed sauces that came from a bottle, etc.
As I was mentally prepping for our last meal together — an oatmeal bar with various toppings — I had an outrageous idea to serve them cold cereal. We’re talking Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms, not Kashi granola. I seriously started to panic at the idea, but amidst my racing thoughts came a quiet voice that pierced my soul and changed everything.
It told me that there’s no such thing as good food or bad food, there’s just food. And the way we relate to food is indicative of how we relate to ourselves and others. These women were being nourished by the love I had for the food and for them. That’s what they were resonating with.
I was then prompted to use the cold cereal as a trigger point, to teach this concept (which I had just learned) to everyone else. I call this my “come to Jesus” moment where my entire food paradigm shifted. I realized that in all my years of trying to control my food, that I was essentially playing the role of the Savior.
Even if eating perfect was possible (it’s not), I allowed my food fears to control my life in an attempt to save myself/others. We came here to gain a body and to use it as we experience this life. My soul purpose is NOT to lose weight or to be healthy.
I had forgotten what I consider three of the greatest eternal truths:
1. I am a child of God. No matter what I eat, or don’t eat, that will never change.
2. I’m here to learn, grow and become more like my Heavenly Parents. My soul purpose is not to lose weight or be healthy.
3. Through Christ’s Atonement, I can return home to live with Them. No amount of clean eating will qualify me for Heaven or satisfy those spiritual cravings.
Since that pivotal lesson, I’ve learned even more about how our thoughts/feelings literally affect the way we digest/assimilate food and how we can learn to trust our inner wisdom when it comes to food choices or eating habits. Nowadays I implement eating psychology concepts with a weight neutral approach, as well as Intuitive Eating (IE) and Health At Every Size (HAES) principles. My mission is to help you remember who you are, why you’re here, and where you’re going. Learn how to live in alignment with what YOU value, awaken your higher self and unlock your true potential in your now body. You’re not alone and recovery is possible!
Namaste, fellow eater.
Sometimes I feel like I’m hitting my head against a wall.
It’s not about what you eat.
A healthy lifestyle of any kind is usually prescribed with oversimplified terms of “eat this, not that.” How many of us slipped into disordered eating because we worried that what we ate was wrong, or that we needed to eat a certain way in order to be ok in the world?
I personally know someone who spent thousands of dollars to track food so she could lose weight. I also know someone personally who spent thousands of dollars in rehab for anorexia/bulimia, where they shoved food in her face and forced her to gain weight.
You can’t cure an eating disorder by forcing someone to eat more, or less. It’s damaging and makes their relationship with food that much more conflicting.
We tout the benefits of a healthy relationship with food but have you ever considered how confusing that is? What does a “healthy relationship” even look or feel like? I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with what you eat. But it has everything to do with how you eat.
Learning HOW to interact with food is vitally important. The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Telling someone to be more mindful of what they eat without telling them how to do that is crazy-making, because chances are your mind is already full of what you’re eating!
Whether you currently suffer from disordered eating or you’re in the beginning stages of recovery, all you think about is food.
Have you ever considered the possibility of interacting with food in new ways so that you’re actually getting to know it and yourself better? Because after all, this is a relationship.
There are several books, articles, podcasts, workshops, etc. out there about dating your spouse, learning to care for your children or how to be a better boss. Heck, we even have labels telling us what our love language is! But what if we applied these same concepts to our interactions with food?
If you know you want something different than your current food relationship, you’re not alone. It’s time we let go of diet-culture’s moralistic judgement and shift that less vs. more eating paradigm, start reconnecting with our inner Truth, and welcome eating experiences in ways that connect your whole Self.
Because that’s what food is all about: connection. As human beings we’re wired for connection, which is why it’s so unfortunate that we use food to disconnect. Rather than numb out with food, tune in and reconnect with yourself, your family/community, and your Higher Power.
Our bodies are a gift, regardless their shape, size, color or gender. We fought a heavenly war to gain a body and now that we have one we seem to have forgotten its importance. Do you remember who you are, why you’re here and where you’re going?
Let me remind you that you’re a Child of God, and that will never change. No diet, or the lack thereof, will ever affect your worth.
We all come from the same Source. My food and I are one and the same, because we are a part of a Greater Whole. From our first breath until our last, we need food for our survival.
While our precious bodies house our valuable spirits during this lifetime, we have to eat. If we don’t eat, we die. It’s as plain and simple as that. Rather than allow the eating process to become cold and calculated, why not make it a meaningful experience?
The next time you eat, consider it a sacred act. Try smiling after every bite and see how your body responds to kindness. Practice eating with your non-dominant hand and notice how the endless shameful chatter inside your head subsides. Use a special bowl, plate or utensil that reminds you that you’re a Goddess and Priestess worth honoring.
How blessed we are with this need for food — an opportunity to pause and reflect, to praise the God who’s given us life! To celebrate this life we’re living. Wake up, be present. Restore your relationship with food and let your inner light shine bright. The world needs you, just as you are.
Namaste, fellow eater.