Friday, August 2, 2013

Living with Food.

We all have a relationship with food.

Regardless of whether you could label yourself with an eating disorder, if food makes you anxious, if you feel guilt when you eat, if food brings you pleasure, if you diet, if it's a way to show you care, you have a relationship with food.  We all eat and live with varying degrees of satisfaction, pleasure, guilt, or shame for what we've put in our bodies.

In overcoming eating issues, I have had to learn to accept food.  You cannot abstain from food as you would alcohol or cigarettes.  Food is not something to be worked off.  It is fuel for your mind, for your muscles, for your soul.  My body, especially my mind, is incredibly sensitive to what I eat.  If I consume gluten or processed foods, it sends instant messages telling me I need more.  It doesn't matter how long I have abstained from those foods, eating just one bite sends my mind into hyper drive and I will make myself sick before I stop eating the oreos.  Because I know this, I am responsible to do my best to eat the foods that fuel my body, without making me desperate for more.  

I choose to eat mostly raw, fresh foods.  I am not a big meat eater, because I don't have any desire for it.  I fuel myself with fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  I cannot diet.  Dieting has always been an excuse for me to binge.  When I come to a meal, I do my best to be grateful that I can enjoy healthy foods and I settle myself in a place to enjoy each bite.  Food is both nourishment and pleasure.  If you are eating with guilt and shame you aren't enjoying anything you put in your mouth.  I can't tell you how often I would sit in front of the computer reading health blogs, while shoveling a pint of ice cream in my face.  I didn't taste the treat, felt sick when I was done, and more than a little guilty.  Now when I choose ice cream, I like to make it myself, with young coconuts and agave nectar.  Then, I sit with my family and eat out of the bowl, interacting with them and enjoying my treat.

I have been starting the last few days with a big cup of coffee, my favorite thing, and fresh fruit until noon.  I try to drink a cup of hot water with lemon before my coffee, but that doesn't always happen.  I have been drinking lots of water throughout the day.  The other day I spent the whole day out with different friends.  I was not in control of my food choices, so I did the best I could.  Even eating mostly fruits and veggies, by the end of the day, the processed foods I had consumed had my mind imagining all of the other things I could eat.  "Well, I already had chips, a little ice cream won't hurt. . . "  

Knowing this to be something I have to work through I brushed my teeth, drank some water, and bugged my husband until he connected with me and helped keep my mind off the monster in my head.  

I don't like to say that I will never eat certain foods, or label my style of eating.  A few of the hardest things when learning to eat well are being okay if you mess up and not allowing that to mean you fell of the wagon, because you aren't in a wagon in the first place.  I'm not a raw foodist, vegan, paleo, etc, etc.  I'm just trying to be healthy.  There are times I need a treat.  There are times that I will indulge.  Eating and connecting are beautiful parts of life.  They should neither fill you with shame, regret, or fear.  They should be enjoyed and embraced.  

I hope to encourage everyone out there, whether they have ever had issues with food, have felt uncomfortable in their bodies, or not known when to stop; what true freedom with food looks like.  It's more yeses than noes, more pleasure than pain.  

We all have to live with food, let's enjoy it.

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