One of my favorite questions to ask is my clients is, “what would your ideal relationship with food be like?” Most often the response is, “balanced,” “peaceful,” “easy”, “guilt-free,” and “enjoyable.” It is clear that most people just want the freedom to be able to eat whatever they want. The unfortunate truth is most people don’t. Most people have a stressed relationship with food. They feel shackled by fear of weight gain and hold on to rigid nutritional rules and beliefs around food that block the joy and pleasure of eating.
We are in relationship with food every single day of our lives. It is our longest standing relationship. From the moment we are born to the time we die, we often eat 3-5 times a day. So that means that the one thing we have to do the most in our lives, the one relationship that is always with us, is one of the most stressed and unenjoyable. That is crazy! As my mentor Marc David puts it, “fighting food is a form of insanity.”
When we eat with fear, stress, chatter, worry, shame, guilt and uncertainty, we shut down the ability to optimally digest, assimilate nutrients and burn calories. So if one of the greatest fears around eating is gaining weight, it is happening regardless of what you eat, when you eat in stress. Remember, it is not only what we eat that matters, it is who we are as eaters that counts.
If you fail to eat with pleasure, you wont feel satisfied or satiated. When we eat in the stress response, we increase cortisol which desensitizes the body to feel pleasure. You end up eating more, until the body can actually feel full and pleasured. Many people fear that if they eat whatever they want they wont be able to stop, but the truth is, if you are eating with pleasure, if you eat slowly and you are relaxed, you actually regulate your appetite and your metabolism. Bottom line, when you diminish pleasure you also diminish metabolism.
Where do you want to play in the nutritional game of life? How would your day feel if you could just eat with peace? How would your meals taste if you ate them in joy? How would you feel about food if you could eat it without shame or guilt? What would your relationship with food be like if you could just eat whatever you wanted?
I encourage you to try to eat with freedom, to unshackle yourselves from the nutritional bondage you have created. See what happens. And please, if you have a stressed relationship with food, if you feel food is the enemy, come and see me. As a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, there is much that I can do to help you shift that relationship and it is my greatest intention to help my clients have a healthy and beautiful relationship with food, body and self.