When judgement gets in the way of change

When judgement gets in the way of change

I’ve been pondering all week, what to write about next. As I wass doing some research into the relationship between stress and digestion for our 1 day retreat this past weekend, I thought perhaps I should share some of those findings with you.

But then I thought, what about the stress around making the “right” food choices?

What about the “being-a-good-girl inner voice”, which in my experience can have a pretty nasty condescending tone? And the judgement that often follow when we don’t make that “right” choice…

 

judgment in the way of change

For some reason, I’ve struggled emotionally in the past week or so with “being good enough”. I think it may be related to a recent opportunity that presented itself and that I’ve been wanting to be part of for a very long time. So when I finally got the chance, of course I was ecstatic, which then followed by self-doubt. Can I actually deliver on what I say that I can? What if I can’t?

Oh the beauty of the turbulence of emotions! I even caught myself thinking that, perhaps I should just throw in the towel and quit and say that I’m no longer interested. If you quit you can’t technically fail, right? This “quitting” pattern is one of my old protective mechanisms for when things get stretched a little toooo far outside that famous comfort zone. So I’m totally aware of the lure of taking the “easy” option out.

Thing is, there’s a distinct difference about quitting without even trying, or to pivot and try something different because what you are currently doing isn’t working.

The fear of the unknown is what’s playing out here, together with some self-judgment, which can all to easily lead to self-sabotage.

Each and everytime we try something new, we can never be certain of the outcome. Well come to think of it, each and every morning we open our eyes we cannot even be certain of what the day will bring… We can have hopes and expectations, but we can never be sure. Hindsight is as they say “a wonderful thing”.

Whether you’re embarking on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth, a new way of eating or even something as simple (yet sometimes challenging) as trying a new recipe, embracing the uncertainty of it actually means that anything is possible!

 

But it is scary. There’s certainly many times in my life I’ve wished for a crystal ball…

 

And then we decide to take the leap anyway, and before we know it, this voice of self-doubt and  judgement creeps in.

Self-reflection can be a wonderful gift to gift yourself. I’ve seen both for myself and with clients the leaps and bounds that happens in a transformational way when we start looking in the mirror and begin to question what we believe, think and do. But… And this is a BIG but, if we bring judgement into the picture, it becomes a big hindrance in the process of change.

 

when judgment gets in the way of change

 

Why? Because when I am busy lambasting my own actions with my own self-righteousness, THIS is where my focus is at. If I’m so busy getting down on myself and my actions, I can’t actually see the reality for what it is.

Maybe the decision I made seemed to be the right one at that particular time, with the information that was available to me. And if it turned out afterwards that it actually wasn’t the wisest move, I am missing a valuable opportunity to learn why it turned out it wasn’t the wisest one, if I’m caught going around in a mental circle of self-ridicule.

Take for example the common thing of having a “bad” food. Perhaps something that’s not the most nutritious thing you could ever ingest. But eating any kind of food doesn’t indicate that we ourselves are “bad” in any way.

Now, if I start judging myself for this one particular food choice and place some of my self worth based on these choices, I completely miss out on the information of how this food actually makes me feel.

Does it make me feel satisfied, or more hungry, or perhaps it may even cause me physical discomfort. Or maybe it turns out I didn’t enjoy the taste as much as I initially thought I would? All vital clues and cues for how I might choose next time I am presented with a choice of having this food or not. But if I’m caught in a spiral of judgement, all I’ll hear is how “bad” I am, and that I should know better, etc. Which will just leave me with guilt, shame and a stress response that my body now also have to digest…

Judgement simply gets in my way of learning from my experiences, experiencing life as it is as well as preventing me from perhaps making a different choice that may serve me better next time.

 

mindful living

 

I love this great poem by Portia Nelson, which I first was introduces to by a client last year, but that we also shared at our recent retreat. It pretty much sums it up.

Autobiography in Five Chapters

I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost…

I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in…it’s a habit

My eyes are open; I know where I am;

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

 

So open your mind, get curious and look at any and all of your experiences as valuable learning opportunities.

And most of all, be kind to yourself.

 

Feeding the Hungry Ghost – Cravings & Desires

Feeding the Hungry Ghost – Cravings & Desires

Have you ever heard the saying “feeding the Hungry Ghost”?

 

In Buddhism these creatures are depicted as having large empty bellies but with thin necks so they don’t get nourished and are never really satisfied.

These ghosts are always looking for external satisfaction. What is the next “thing” I need / want?

It hit me one day before Christmas when I was out walking my dogs, how busy I’ve been feeding my own “hungry ghosts”. I was busy thinking about some particular things I wanted to buy and how great it would feel when I could get them, but which current budget restraints where stopping me from buying. I caught myself thinking “When I get this then I will be happy and satisfied”. And then I realised that I am always looking for something, or something more. More money and more TIME (definitely always more time!).  More of this and more of that.

As I was making this observation, I could see that my wanting was partly coming from my scarcity mindset, of “not enough.” Because why would I want for example more time if it wasn’t for the fact that I believe that I don’t have enough of it?

I also realised that this feeling of not enough, can manifest both as a feeling of Fear of Missing Out (or FOMO as the cool kids say), and as a way of thinking “I will be happy when…”

Both of which puts my happiness on hold until some unforeseen date in the future…

mindful eating

 

Cravings can have many faces. Especially when it comes to food and eating, not to mention our body! But in my understanding what tends to drive them all are a desire to feel better. Whether that is in ourselves or about ourselves.

The renowned Physician Gabor Máte who has spent a large part of his career working in the field of addition touches more on it here in an excerpt from one of his books.

Luckily many of us don’t live our lives on that extreme end, but with that said, we all have cravings of various kinds to grapple with.

 

Are cravings and desires the same?

Not necessarily.

 

I see cravings as something that has a sense of urgency, as well as something that is of external nature which we use (like a substance or behaviour) to make us feel better in the moment.

For me a desire is more something that’s generated from within. A desire to feel a certain way or act in a certain way. How do I want to feel? And what do I need to do to feel that way?

There’s nothing wrong with desires or wanting to improve on what we are. What we have to be vigilant and watch out for though is when we get caught with thoughts that go “If only… then I would…” Or “I will be happy when…”.

I heard a colleague speak in an interview recently about how she once heard the Dalai Lama ask his audience the question “If you had everything you ever wanted, would you feel satisfied?”. She relayed that when she pondered this question for herself , it gave a profound insight into the fact that our “wanting” and desire is part of human nature. Which in turn made me think that even though one of my aims for this year is to own less “stuff”, there’s no point in telling myself that I shouldn’t buy any stuff.

That kind of restriction would definitely back-fire, for me. It would be the same as saying no more chocolate (ever)! So rather than restricting myself, my plan is to be a lot more discerning with my choices this year. Do I need it? What will it bring to my life? Why do I want it?

straightforward nutrition

There’s so much information that can be gotten from asking ourselves those kinds of questions, which help us move from a place of not enough and a fear of missing out, to a place of freedom, that comes from choice.

Perhaps in this space we can also see that, yes for sure some things and certain stuff may enhance our life in some way, but it will never give us a deep sense of fulfillment, like the sensation that we can generate from within.

So it becomes important continue to ask the question “What do I need right now?”, with kindness and curiosity.

Because as it’s been said a million times (probably since it is a universal truth), that it is only in this moment that we can make a choice and to make it one that will serve us right now, but perhaps also may ripple into our future.

And if it turns out it wasn’t the best one? Sure, we can always begin again.

What choices are you going to make this week, to honour what you need,

and not just what you want?


 

Do you long to let go of obsession around food, eating and weight? Would you like to feel freedom and peace around meals and beyond, but need some help and support to get there?

It would be an honour to walk with you on this path. Please email me HERE to set up a free 30 min consultation to explore how this may be possible for you too.

 

Life Lessons Learnt from Hiking

Life Lessons Learnt from Hiking

Why is it that sometimes we need to repeat the same learnings over and over?

 

Last week, I started the week with all guns blazing, lots of enthusiasm and energy for the task at hand.

Sometimes I get so consumed with a project and the desire to complete it that pretty much everything else take a backseat. Including selfcare and eating… It’s back to that ever repeating lesson of learning that thing called “balance”, and what it takes to keep it so, in our daily lives.

Of course, starting out the week with such a fast and furious pace, set me up for arriving at a the place of feeling a bit “burnt out”  a few days later. No surprise there really. Yet this is something I often find myself doing. Even though “ I should know better”… Sigh… Why is it when it comes to certain areas of our lives, we may be slower to pick up on the message in the lesson?

 

Last week I also happen to come upon some lovely and relevant insights around this topic of “doing”, that’s so prevalent in our modern lives. These insights weren’t about the fact that we sometimes attach our self-worth to how much  we are doing (or not doing). The point and angle the author was coming from, was the fact that we so often move from doing one task, then on to the next and the next, without ever stopping to reflect on our accomplishments, learnings or achievements.

In a sense, that’s very much like constantly moving the goalpost, just that little bit out of reach, meaning we can easily end up defeated or deflated because we’re feeling like “we’ll never get there”.

This brought me back thinking about some of the life lessons and the metaphors I’ve learnt from hiking.

straightforward nutrition

I can still remember the time I did my first summit, about 6 ½ years ago. We don’t have huge mountains here in Ireland, so getting to the top is quiet doable for most people. That said, it wasn’t without its challenges. Though for sure, all the huffing and puffing was worth it, as we were blessed with the clear view from the top (not always guaranteed).

Here’s the thing though, whether we are out hiking, or we use and apply hiking as a metaphor for life in general; There is much beauty to behold on the way to the top. So if we just keep our focus on our feet and our minds on the goal for “what awaits when we get there”, we miss out on so much!

Since that first summit, I’ve done more hikes and hopefully 2107 will bring more opportunities to get out and explore the beautiful Irish mountains.

The other metaphor and life lesson on this very same theme that I’ve picked up from hiking is.

 

“It’s only when we turn around we realise how far we’ve come”

 

So it’s not just about pausing once in awhile to take in the view, it’s equally as important to turn around to realise the distance we’ve already travelled, to acknowledge the hurdles we’ve overcome and the challenges that have shaped us along the way. No, of course I don’t think we should dwell on the past, or get stuck there, but I do think that there’s learnings to be had by realise that we are stronger than what we often may think.

Here’s another thing, metaphors from the mountains does not just apply to life at large. We can zoom in and take them as a way of looking at our relationship with food and eating too.

mindful eating

The dynamic we experience between emotions, food, eating and our bodies is one that keeps intriguing me, with a desire to explore it deeper and deeper.

As much as I believe in the power of food as medicine, I also believe in the power that is healing our relationship with food. Because until we do, making choices that truly serves our bodies and our health is challenging. (I will speak more on these barriers in another blog post).

The result of my sprinting start this week, followed by the burnt out state a few days later ended up much reflected in my food choices too. Like a burger and chips from a chipper one night…!

I know, I may just have shattered any illusion you may have held of me being perfect, as a trained nutrition professional. But here’s the learning. I no longer struggle with guilt or shame, after eating something like that. There was a time I would have, especially if I were on any kind of diet, but these days I see these food choices more like cues. When I find myself looking for quick carbohydrates and fried foods like this, it is usually a sign that my inner state of being is that of “fried” as well. So rather than beating myself up for what I just ate, I take stock to see what it is that I really need. Like going to bed a little earlier so I can have some more sleep, a hot bath to unwind, and a good conversation with a friend.

From looking at the symbolism in my food choices, I see that my own selfcare has been neglected and that is what needs attention! And usually my own selfcare routine also includes feeding myself with fresh colourful foods.

If I was still stuck in my old “dieting mindset”, chances are that I would have beaten myself up for my food choices at that time, followed by “sure I’ve broken it now so I may as well keep eating” , and probably ended up continuing on with some kind of binging… Maybe you recognise yourself in this kind of pattern? Truth is, it’s a harrowing one. One that’s draining both on our precious energy as well as on our self-worth and self-esteem.

But you know what, truth is, it IS possible to overcome it! Because that project that I was so feverishly working on, it is designed to do just that. Go and check out the Happy Healthy Me Programme.

Food freedom is possible. Though it can be bumpy ride at time, or a challenging path to walk (just like mountain hiking), I promise that the view from the top is totally worth it! And so too, is the beauty of the surrounding i.e the unfolding.

 

Do you long to let go of obsession around food, eating and weight? Would you like to feel freedom and peace around meals and beyond, but need some help and support to get there?

It would be an honour to walk with you on this path. Please email me HERE to set up a free 30 min consultation to explore how this may be possible for you too.

What speed are you living at?

What speed are you living at?

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a  perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live”

– Lin Youtang

 

Twice this week I had reminders of the modern speed of living. Early in the week a colleague posted on Facebook about the convenience of buying “cauliflower rice” all ready to go, and then another colleague posted a link to a lovely article reminding of us about the importance of slowing down. From one extreme to another, basically…

This picture of the cauliflower rice, really got me thinking. What speed are we living at when we don’t even seem to have time to chop a head of cauliflower for dinner? Do we need more things to simplify our lives, or do we simply need to slow down a bit?

Trust me, I am all for keeping it quick and simple, hence why many of the recipes you find here have just a couple of core ingredients and are straightforward enough to make. Many of the meals I make for myself take less than 30 min to put together.

So when you can buy a head of cauliflower grounded up, in a plastic bag and for triple the price, I’m not sure if it is true convenience or just very clever marketing!

mindful living

Of course I’m not the first one to mention neither the speed of modern day living or the benefits that can be had if we slow down. But it seems like it is something that we all (or most of us at least, myself included) need to be reminded of on a fairly regular basis. Though how do we do it? Like how can we achieve balance in the midst of our full on lives?

Back to the pre packed cauliflower rice…

Here are my take aways; Don’t fall for that kind of clever marketing! You’ll be paying triple the price for convenience that is minute. I love cauliflower and it is a really useful and versatile vegetable. One that is also packed with important nutrients that can support the body’s detoxification system as well as being cancer protective. And it is one of the cheapest vegetables around, which usually does NOT come wrapped in plastic. (I have a thing for vegetables being  wrapped in plastic.)

To make a quick meal  from it, i.e. “cauliflower rice”, which is finely chopped cauliflower and quickly cooked in boiling water,  all you need is a sharp knife. And a pot of boiling water, of course. It will take just minutes. I promise!

The other thing that I feel is slightly off with the idea of cut and pre-packed vegetables, aside from the plastic packaging and the fact that much nutrition has been lost in the process, is that when eating this way we lose connection. Connection with where the food comes from. Connection with nature and perhaps even connection with ourselves.

Or maybe we are already feeling disconnected and out of touch…?

mindful living

Rather than seeing cooking and feeding ourselves as an inconvenience or just another thing to tick off on our to-do list, we can flip it on its head and look at it as a way of engaging in a creative endeavour. As a way of being mindful and present in that moment. And as a way of taking care of ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I eat the odd take away, bag of chips from the chip shop or even a bar of chocolate as a snack… But over the years I flipped this one on its head too. So now, rather than getting stuck in a cycle of guilt that I happen to have these types of foods, on occasion, I try see these occasions as cues.

 

Why am I feeding myself on autopilot?

 

So when I notice that one meal of mindless planning, turns into a second grab-and-go one, that is my cue to look at what it is I need to change and improve upon  in my life, to bring things back into balance and practice some selfcare!

And just like one of my clients came to realise for herself is, “cooking is selfcare”.

Or like the brilliant Harvard Researcher Ellen J. Langer puts it;

“My research has revealed that our mindlessness can be very costly and that an increase in mindfulness results in an increase in competence, health and longevity, happiness, creativity, charisma and makes us more satisfied with our work, to name a few of the findings.”

 

So this week, how are you going to take care of yourself?

Less as More

Less as More

Do you ever feel like your life is spinning out of control? Or like you are suffering with sensory overload?

I sure do. Sometimes more often than I would care to admit, even…. Lately it seems to manifest as “social media fatigue”. Like when I scroll through Facebook or my Instagram feed, it is just that, scrolling, without really taking anything in. Kind of like my brain says “Enough, I can’t take any more in. I am full”. A bit like the same way our stomach says “I am full” after eating a certain amount. Or like the way our cells can become desensitised to insulin, because they’ve become overloaded.

 

In today’s society it seems like almost EVERYTHING is available ALL the time.

 

less as more

Many of us can get access to information, news, or foods in abundance, yet it seems like we are never satisfied… It’s like there’s a huge big gaping void. A hole that we need to fill in order to become whole.

Then of course we that inner voice (let’s call this particular one the Inner Critic) which is adding to this “not enough” chatter. It tends to go on and on about the fact that we are not doing enough, as in working hard enough to achieve our goals or further our careers, or that we are not smart enough / slim enough / fit enough / rich enough / outgoing enough. Just take your pick!

For me “not enough” often manifests as “I am not working hard enough”. And what make this thought even more ridiculous is that I discovered that the more I do, the less I sometime feel like I have achieved. Go figure!

I’ve even had to sit back, take stock and look back on my old to-do lists to see that this idea is simply a limiting belief that I’m holding and not true at all…

The other add on to “not doing enough” is a fear of missing out. (Or should that be FOMO???) Which means, I buy books, sign up to courses and email lists, beyond what is realistic to ever keep up with. I’m not even sure how it got to this. Perhaps this is why I am currently suffering with this brain fatigue.

More is not more and too much is way beyond enough.

 

Straightforward Nutrition

A few months ago I interviewed, together with a dear friend, a whole bunch of exciting and interesting people from around the world for a project on Selfcare, that is soon to launch. A couple of our interviewees spoke into the topic of decluttering, both our physical environment as well as our minds. This really spoke to me.

In fact, I think if we start with our outer space it will soon reflect back on to our inner one.

So I have slowly started on this kind of detox. I’ve been through my wardrobe and my storage space, but I still have much left to sort through. However, whenever I do this kind of clearing out work, it almost always brings me back to abundance and the fact that I have enough. And if I do need something, I can be much more intentional about getting it.

And here’s the thing, by taking action and start doing some decluttering, I gained some awareness which lead me to the insight that I have enough stuff and don’t necessarily need to fill my life with more in order to fill any void inside.

Insights, revelations and an appreciation for the small things often come when we are present in the here and now. Which is one of the challenges in our 21st Century fast-paced lifestyle.

With this in mind, I wanted to share with you some really simple, yet powerful tools that I have come across in the past few years and months, which are helpful for taking “life pauses”.

 

Sometimes it’s not practical or even doable to do what I did some years ago when my life felt like a vortex, and took time out and went to a Vipassana retreat. (But that’s a story for another day)

So instead, there are some simple practical things we can do, in order to take a little time out to “be”. Which funnily enough can make us more productive…  Because with some recharging we will be more efficient. Who would have thought?!

I basically see this “being” as plugging our batteries in for some recharging.  With this kind of selfcare practice, finding that elusive state of balance, can just get a little bit easier. Just notice that I said practice though, which is verb, not a noun(!)

mindful living

Mindful Eating vs Intuitive Eating

Mindful Eating vs Intuitive Eating

I really wanted to explore the topic(s) of Mindful Eating vs. Intuitive Eating. And this is by no means and exhaustive blog post about it either… Albeit still a bit of a lengthy one.

What is the difference between mindfulness and intuition? And what’s the difference between eating mindfully and eating intuitively?

 

Let’s get clear first of all, that this is not an “either or” thing, and also for me there is no “doing it wrong” when it comes to either bringing mindfulness to the table or using your intuition when making food choices.  Because isn’t it this “right or wrong”, “good or bad” mentality  and way of thinking that gets us into trouble in the first place?

In this great article Sharon Salzberg, one of the first people to bring mindfulness to the west, asks the question “What is mindfulness anyway?”.

We think of mindfulness as slowing down, paying attention to what we are actually doing. Or we think it is when we sit still on a cushion (trying to)focusing and pay attention to our breath.

But in the article Salzberg goes on to put her definition of mindfulness as this;

“Mindfulness isn’t just about knowing that you’re hearing something, seeing something, or even observing that you’re having a particular feeling. It’s about doing so in a certain way — with balance and equanimity, and without judgment. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in a way that creates space for insight.”

What becomes important, whether we are talking about life in general or about food and eating in particular is this that we pay attention in an open, curious way with no judgment. When we start  paying attention like this, especially to our thoughts, it gets very interesting. It also my own personal experience that “mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in a way that creates space for insight”, is truth.

 

straightforward nutrition

 

So if our aim is to get off the “dieting treadmill”, and finding our way back to a less restrictive way of eating, which may not just open us up to more food choices but also to a whole new world of space for possibilities, we need to tap into our insight.

The definition of Insight is; the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of something.  Some of the synonyms are: intuition, perception, awareness and discernment.

To bring this back around to intuition and intuitive eating, my personal definition for intuitive eating would be; to let our body guides us in making the food choices to support it needs.  With the consideration that the definition of intuition is; “ the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning”.

But I wasn’t the one who coined the term Intuitive Eating. It originally comes from Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN who wrote the book with the same name.

When I started out on my own journey to heal my body and my relationship with food, the first thing was to ditch the scales and surrender to the fact that my happiness did not and would never depend on whatever number it would show. I also had to make peace with the fact that I maybe I would or maybe I wouldn’t lose any weigh. However, at the time weighing myself wasn’t making me lose weight either, it was only making me feel more miserable…

The other thing I did was to give myself full permission to eat whatever I wanted, no restrictions whatsoever. With just the simple guidelines of focusing on just eating when I was hungry and learning to tune into stop when just comfortably full. At this time I had never heard of Intuitive Eating, but I had read countless dieting books… It wasn’t actually till a few years ago that I came across Evelyn and Elyse’s work.

Yet somehow my own intuition told me that this was the next logical step.

 

mindful eating vs intuitive eating

In the book Intuitive Eating, there are 10 guidelines to help you eat intuitively. They are the following:

 

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

 

1. Reject the Diet Mentality Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

 

 2. Honor Your Hunger Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

 

3. Make Peace with Food Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, binging When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.

 

4. Challenge the Food Police .Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created . The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.

 

5. Respect Your Fullness Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?

 

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”.

 

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.

 

8. Respect Your Body Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.

 

9. Exercise–Feel the Difference Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.

 

10. Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.

(from https://www.intuitiveeating.com/content/10-principles-intuitive-eating)

 

I love all of these. And if we can find our way to embrace food and eating like this, we are well on our way to have a healthy relationship with both.

However, one of the things that seems to be so challenging when it comes to start out on a path to eat intuitively is to give ourselves permission to trust our bodies. This is where I see mindfulness coming in, because if we are to place trust in our bodies we need to begin to listen to them. Not to the thoughts and the merry go around conversation in our heads, but instead tuning back into our internal wisdom, our intuition, which we all have.  And it is the space created by mindfulness that we find that inner voice.

Mindfulness starts with awareness. Like I heard someone say the other day “You can’t tell people to be here now, because they are not aware that they are not present.” Which is kind of true…!

So if perhaps way before we even get to a place of listening into what hunger and satiety feels like, or are aware of the negative conversation that plays on repeat in our head, or even the universal truth that we are not our thoughts, we may need to go back to simply noticing.

 

mindful eating

We are pretty use to consuming and take in information from the external world, so this can be a pretty good place to start, as a way leading on to cultivate the information that comes from within. Just take note that this way of taking “information in” is more as a sensory experience than an intellectual one.

 

With this in mind, I want to leave you with my three favourite ways to help you on your way to increase your awareness, cultivate mindfulness and nourish your intuition.

 

1. Start by simply noticing. Take mental notes of how things like how the sun (or the rain) feel against your skin, how the next bite of food tastes in your mouth, how your feet feel against the ground as you are walking, any sound you are and so on. When you pay attention in this way, you are present. You are here now.

 

2. Find some time, at least a few times a week, for silence and stillness. Imagine what it is like to hear someone else trying to tell you something in a busy pub or at a concert, where the noise level is really high. You have to shout at each other to be heard, and even at that some vital info may get lost in the process. The same goes for trying to tune in to that silent voice within. If you are to hear it, lessening the outside noise and distractions are a must.

 

3. Practice asking yourself the question “What do I really need?” When you stare into the pantry or the fridge for the umpteenth time, ask yourself this. Is it food you need, or is it rest, sleep, company or even play? And even when it comes to food choices, ask yourself the same question. What do I really want or need? I bet, as you get better and better at practicing and listening, you will find that there is no need to worry about always wanting chocolate cake, sometimes the body actually wants green salads and colourful fresh food.

 

Putting these steps into practice will over time, not just increase your awareness and your presence of being present, they will also offer you the space to make more compassionate and empowered choices, may it be with food and eating or in your life at large.

 

A way of, with courage, moving from fear of losing control, to a place of embracing uncertainty with compassion, curiosity and love.

 


 

Do you long to let go of obsession around food, eating and weight? Would you like to feel freedom and peace around meals and beyond, but need some help and support to get there?

It would be an honour to walk with you on this path. Please email me HERE to set up a free 30 min consultation to explore how this may be possible for you too.