Food is tricky. There are so many enticing foods out there. Food is often used as a motivator, a treat and a reward. So how do we tease out eating well, intuitive eating and being our best and healthiest versions of ourselves? This is super complicated and that’s what I am going to talk about here, so read on!
When you respect yourself and your body, you consider what you eat a part of the process of respecting yourself. While I DO NOT recommend any sense of restriction (dieting mindset) or withholding foods that you enjoy from yourself in any way that causes any feeling of deprivation, there are some useful guidelines to help you make the best choice possible in the moment when the decision relates to what you are about to eat.
Here are a series of questions to ask yourself to and about the foods you are choosing to eat. Before you eat, ask your food: “what do you have to offer me?” Ideally, we want our food to offer nutrients: fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, health fat, and carbohydrates in order to give our bodies the nourishment it needs to build healthy cells and tissues. Nutrients are the ideal answer to this question!
You then want to ask your food, “are you desirable and enjoyable to eat?” This is super important as well because if your food does not offer some form of pleasure, that may be placing you at risk of feeling unsatisfied. When you are feeling unsatisfied by a meal, you may end up mindlessly grazing other foods in order to feel a sense of pleasure and satisfaction. This contributes to the negative cycle of emotional eating.
Before you eat you also want to ask yourself, “am I actually hungry for this food?” If the answer is yes, you will most likely eat the food! If the answer is no, you can ask yourself “do I want to eat this food for any reason other than taste and nutrition?” If the answer is yes, ask yourself, “why do I want to eat this food?” This is where it may get interesting. If you want to eat this food for comfort, to avoid feelings, to fill the time or to fill any other void you may be experiencing in your life, this is indicative of emotional eating.
Emotional eating is eating for the purpose of numbing out or disconnecting from uncomfortable emotions. Here are some common examples of emotional eating: eating when lonely which causes food to become your friend, eating when you are bored which causes food to become something to do to fill your time, eating when you are anxious which causes food to become a way to calm yourself down, eating when you are tired which causes a sugar rush for energy, or eating when you are sad which uses food to help escape the sadness. You can read more about how to heal emotional eating on my post: 6 steps to finding freedom from emotional eating.
These examples of emotional eating are not healthy reasons to eat. When you eat emotionally, you are essentially demonstrating a sense of lack of self-respect or honoring your emotions and your internal experiences.
Offering yourself empowerment when it comes to your food choices allows you to move away from a deprivation mindset. A deprivation mindset is: “I can’t have that” while an empowered, Inner Strength based mindset is: “I choose not to have that because it does not serve my health and wellness goals.” This mindset demonstrates a form of self-respect.
This is how you build your Inner Strength over time and prepare yourself to manage your emotions in another, healthier more empowered manner. You can read about this on my blog post: 5 Stages of Awareness. Emotions offer incredibly valuable information about your experience of the present moment. When you learn to become present with them, food can be just food, and this is where your power lies!
One way to begin practicing healthy eating as a form of self-respect is to go through these questions each time you make a choice surrounding food. Allow yourself to make empowered choices, listen to your intuition and your body and you will feel uplifted by your food choices.
If you are in need of support for your emotional eating, know that you are not alone. I encourage you to reach out! My Finding Freedom from Emotional Eating Online Group Coaching Course begins October 28th! Click here for more info. It is designed to get to the root of your emotional eating and offers a step-by-step approach to heal your relationship with food as well as yourself. I hope you will join me!