Every so often, I awaken upset, look in the mirror, and decide that I need to diet, stop eating gluten, juice, or lose weight.
For About Two Seconds
Then, I stop myself and remember that diets don't work! (Or, more accurately, diets do not work long-term.) Even more importantly, I remind myself that going on a diet will NOT cure my anxiety over if I’m understood or heal that fight I got in last week with my friend. Simply, I am not loved based on the size of my ass!
So, when I hear myself calling ‘diet’, I practice these three wholesome things instead...
1. Figure Out The "Hungry."
The first step for me in eating is figuring out if I'm actually hungry! (You might smirk, but this is harder than it sounds...) How many times have you ate because food was there? Or, because you were tired? Angry? Feeling hopeless? If you are like me, the likelihood is this has happened before. And, that’s okay.
For me, it is important to practice identifying hunger. How does hunger show up in my body? Where do I feel it? What emotion am I experiencing when I decide I’m hungry? Simply, am I trying to cookie the cranky away?
For a long time, “hungry” was my stand-in for uncomfortable. And sad. And lonely. And, you get the idea... Through practice (and kindness!) I learned to realize that I am often “emotionally hungry”. When I’m emotionally hungry cookies don’t actually satiate me. Sometimes, I need a hug. Other times, I just need to huff. (You too?) Remember, emotional hunger is real and deserves nourishment--just not from a plate!
Practice, acknowledging your emotional tenor before you dig into a meal. This only takes a moment but can ground you long enough to assess your physical hungers. Then, responding kindly and with nourishment.
2. Break Your ‘Rules’. All Of Them!
There are so many rules and diets and suggestions out there that it's hard to not feel compelled to listen! Except, what exactly are we listening to? Again and again, it’s proven that one diet does not (cannot!!) fit all. And, in my experience, when we take an outside source’s intuition over our own, we build a mistrust in ourselves we don’t deserve. Period.
Feel hungry even though it’s not your scheduled mealtime? Chances are you might be! Allow yourself to be yourself, hungers and all. And, stop the shaming!
I fully believe we digest and assimilate better when we are eating joyously. Not out of a container. Not in front of the computer. Let your meal (and snack) times be a refuge in the day. Sit down. Chew. Smile.
Remember, you have all the time (and permission) you need to nourish you!
Bonus: Repeat (for life).