This post is for those that know their relationship with food and health could use some work.
I teamed up with Brandilyn Tebo, transformative af Life Coach to help you create healthy boundaries with food and health.
We want to describe what is “normal” and “not normal” in this area. And give you some tips to transform your relationship to food and health
Both of us are eating disorder survivors and have been on a swinging pendulum of obsessively healthy to no holds back, eating any and everything in sight. We want to help you find a healthy balance. SO without further ado lets dive in.
I believe that the way we eat says a lot about us.
If we have fear of control or being controlled, or see ourselves as weak, or needing to prove that we’re strong and have it all together, that all comes out in how we feed ourselves.
When I was in high school, my home life was out of control. My parents were going through a divorce and my brothers and I were no longer living under the same roof. It was a lot for an insecure 15 year old to handle. My drug of choice to deal with it all was food. How, when and what I ate consumed my every thought.
I exhibited control and made it look like I had it all together by eating perfectly in front of people. I only had salads for lunch and an apple for a snack and drank diet soda because that was the “healthier” option in my head.
Then I would be so exhausted from having it all together and so angry with the world that I would rebel and secretly binge and purge the night away. I would swing from one extreme to other almost daily.
Often we find that for some people food can have a lot of charge. Its as if the way we eat is used to prove something or to show how together we have it or its a kind of rebellion.
Are you the type of person that eats whatever they want and has an attitude of “don’t tell me what to do? Watch me eat all this stuff?” “I am going to eat whatever I want, I am the boss of me.”
Are you the type that “has to be in control and has the attitude that food can’t tempt you?” “I am strong and perfect?”
In both situations the food isn’t really about nourishing your body. And its trying to prove you have power in some form.
But, in both senariors food has the power.
To ge to the bottom of it lets ask some Q’s ok? Cool.
So what are you trying to convey by the way you eat? That you have it all together, that you give zero fucks?
Often what we say when we are talking about food is us actually asking for permission or wanting to be acknowledged.
have you ever said any of the following quotes below? Have you thought about what you might actually be saying?
“I ate so much!” Is this a way of getting out of eating?
“I forgot to eat all day.” Are you attention seeking because you are so “busy” and have so much going on in your life and want to be acknowledged?
“I’ve been so good or so bad?” Are you asking for permission to eat more or to not eat at all?
“I am so fat, I ate so much?” Do you need to be told how skinny and beautiful you are?
What response do you actually want, how are you looking to be percieved? What is the outside validation you are seeking?
When we talk about how we eat we often are putting on a show for the world when we have an extreme relationship with food. Its also a way to cover it up, hide or to deny that there is a lot of significance given to the way we eat.
We make eating a cookie so significant that we throw in the towel and eat all the cookies. Or because we ate it we now have to work out and be really “good” tomorrow and only eat salad.
We make eating healthy so significant that its the last thing we would do. That eating health means no fun so we say to hell with healthy food, its boring. I am going to eat what I want with reckless abandon.
When food has a lot of charge, when we give it so much significance in our lives it has all of the control. All the power. We obsess, we over think, we can’t stop thinking about food, weight, health.
So what do you do about it?
Brandylin and I have both been through this and reallllllly want to help you find FOOD FREEDOM and BODY WISDOM so below are our best tips and what helped us transform our relationship with food.
We used eating a cookie as an example but sub in whatever it is for you.
1. Change your vocabulary around food. Don’t say “indulge” or “treat yourself”
Instead just ask yourself physcially and mentally are you in the mood for it? Don’t make it something naughty or reward based. It creates a charge and it makes it seem like its a big deal that you are eating these things. Its not a big deal. Eliminate those words, if you want a cookie have the cookie and make it about fun and about relaxation. Give yourself space and permission to eat a cookie and not make it mean so much. Practice letting yourself have a cookie and have it mean NOTHING except that you ate a cookie. Its not special. You ate a cookie. No big deal.
2. Let it be a complete experience.
Eat the cookie and then put a “period” at the end of it. Don’t eat the cookie and then think that you have to follow it with a salad or that you have to work out extra because you ate a cookie. Remove the extra baggage from the experience. Eat a cookie and move on with your life, don’t let the cookie dictate how the rest of your day will go. Your body will know you ate a cookie and will tell you what it needs next which brings us to our next tip.
3. BODY WISDOM
Listen to the internal signals. When you eat something that is nutritionally void, your body knows it and will most likely follow up with cravings for healthier foods like a kale salad or vegetables. You do not need a reason or a justification to eat healthy or unhealthy foods, listen to what your body is telling you so its less of a mental game. Make it a physical one. Get out of your head and into your body. What will make my body feel good? You do not need to calculate or analyze what you ate, trust your body. Let it be intuitive and more free.
4. Stop justifying what you eat
You do not need a reason to eat the way you eat. Fight the urge to say I ate a cookie because…., or a pancake because…, or I finished my meal becuase… Stop the reasoning. It makes it significant, it causes unneccsary stress, and it puts you tooooooo much in your head. If you are in this type of relationship with food we need to bring awareness to your body and internal signals and not what your mind says or thinks. You do not need to rationalize what you ate.
5. Eat so you do not need to think about eating
Its important to eat well balanced meals so you are not constantly thinking about food inbetween meal times. I dive into this topic on this post but eating enough protien, fat, fiber and carbohydrates at meals will satisfy hunger and turn of your hunger hormones so you are not biologically hungry and can stop thinking about food constantly. The goal is to eat enough and what you enjoy so you do not need to keep thinking about it. You are satisfied.
6. No Stress. Stressing about how you ate leaves a net negative in your body
If we decide to eat a processed or unhealthy food and then beat ourselves up about it we make it worse. The excess stress and guilt that we create mentally has a physical impact. It slows digestion and makes it more difficult for our body to absorb nutrients. It also weakens our immune system, mentally leaves us strained and contributes to all illness. So if you eat an unhealthy food ENJOY IT. Let it be a soul nourishing, live fullfilling experience. I don’t drink wine and then beat myself up about it. I enjoy the heck out of the experience and be done with it. If the food is not being eaten for nutrition then it is from an experiential standpoint, there is absolutely value in that soul/sprit nourishment. Holidays and events are surrounded with food for a reason, it enriches the experience and celebration.
7. Stop dieting.
its a four letter word, is intrinsically temporary and automatically has the idea of restriction and good vs bad built into it. Eating healthy is about feeling good and not to make us feel deprived or limited. It is not meant to be shameful but meant to provide value, enjoyment, experience, nourishment and FUN. Do not diet. Focus on how you can eat such that you are not obsessed with it.
I realllllllllly hope you liked this video, post and got a lot out of it. Isn’t Brandylin awesome? In all realness, she is my Life Coach and has really helped me transform my business and my life. so boooom. I believe in coaching so much that I invest in my own coach. I mean duh. Why would I be a health coach if I didnt believe in coaching? Makes sense right? She works with heart centered entreprenuers and I work with pepole who need to create an empowering, nourishing, healthy and fun relationship with themselves, food and health.