I’ve spent my whole life actively trying to change my relationship with food. And while I won’t be cocky enough to say I’m cured, I am better.
I don’t use food the way I used to for comfort, boredom and anxiety.
I don’t eat a lot of sugar.
I don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
I’m not a vegetarian, I’m not on Paleo, Keto, Coconut Oil, specific water, or a cleanse. I don’t drink wheat grass, smoothies, or protein shakes. I rarely eat bars as replacement meals. I am weary of all foods labeled as different types of “Health Halos” which are foods marketed as being the “it” thing that you must ingest for optimum health.
I don’t do yoga everyday, although I enjoy it. I don’t exercise vigorously every day. I wouldn’t like that. I do move my body throughout the day, walking my dog and trying new ways to move my body I enjoy. My goal is to enjoy movement everyday.
I do meditate often. Sometimes just a few minutes of breathing and praying, centers me throughout the day. I do write and journal. I find that my unconscious often has things to tell me and I just need to give time and space to listen.
I don’t eat without distractions. But I do portion small servings and give myself time to see how I feel without having to immediately have more. I do “pause,” waiting to see how my body is and how I feel. I practice this “checking in” with myself constantly.
If I feel hungry, I listen. I don’t ignore my hunger. But my hunger is complicated by an acid issue I’ve had as a kid. I feel acid as hunger. I’ve wired my brain to crave a couple of crackers or bread to manage the acid. So I practice checking in with my body: Is this hunger or is it something else?
I also know that my hormones scream at me “I’m starving!” Higher Coritsol levels tell the body it needs food. Leptin( the hormone that tells your body you are satisfied) and Ghrelin (the hormone that tells your body you are hungry,) don’t work in my body well. Probably from years of dieting and depleting my body in various ways. So I have to be willing to pay attention more than another person might.
I feel this is actually a good thing. I’m not angry anymore that I have to pay more attention. I just can’t see any down side to being willing to pay attention. So many of us, including me before, just got through the day without wanting to feel ourselves. It is too too painful. Therefore, this new practice of checking in, feels in alignment with other goals regarding my long term health, professional and personal life.
I am a brave person. It’s hard to write that because my thoughts want to write all the ways I’m not brave, but it wouldn’t be true. I am willing to show up and face the hard parts. With regards to my weight, all of my lessons have been about showing up and facing the hard parts. Slowly, as the hard parts are revealed and I can pay attention and show up for the pain; the realization and the understanding that my practice of paying attention, disciplining the mind and coming back to myself is essential for my long term health and well being. Essential.
This journey has been over 40 years. There has been nothing easy about it. And certainly not fast. But I wouldn’t be who I am and I wouldn’t have the understandings I do, without my body and food struggles. Understanding a longterm view of my life, is a wisdom I’ve come to be grateful for. I don’t choose to resent this journey. It’s my journey. I have been lucky enough to have a journey that shows me how to wake up to myself.