What are you eating for?
Today I had a client come to see me for a reiki session- and as she was leaving mentioned that she would be calling me in the new year for a set of conscious eating coaching sessions- as she wanted to start the new year fresh- but there was no sense in getting started before then- because she sure as heck wasn't going to skip her shortbread cookies and mint chocolate ice cream this holiday!
She was in such a jubilant mood after her session I just laughed, smiled and nodded and sent her on her merry way- of course vowing to send her healthier recipe alternatives for these delectables as soon as I got home!
What I had really wanted to tell her is that it doesn't have to be one way or the other- an all or nothing attitude that makes us judge food 'good' or 'bad' is part of what has gotten us into this mess in the first place! A change of attitude is what's called for. The most important key that I recommend to all of my clients is mindful eating. Just ask yourself- what am I eating for?
Biologically we eat to nourish ourselves so that we can continue to heal and thrive as we fully experience life. Emotionally, we may have learned to eat to bury uncomfortable feelings, or soothe ourselves from a hurt that we cannot deal with or express. Sometimes we emotionally eat simply because it chemically induces 'happiness' in our bodies and it is the most simple way we understand to experience or celebrate this feeling. So, simply, every time that you reach for a morsel, ask yourself "why am I eating?" Your goal initially isn't to change your behaviour, only to recognize it.
In my opinion, it is wonderful to fully and completely enjoy your food- it is beautiful way to experience all of your senses- however, we should celebrate why it nourishes us, rather than use it as a tool to hinder or distract ourselves.
We are also trained in our society to diminish ourselves as often as possible, so it is a regular pattern to eat to distract ourselves from an uncomfortable feeling, then berate ourselves after the fact for having no control, being weak, 'bad', etc. etc.
The way I see it, my clients have 2 options:
Feel guilty and 'bad' about their food choices with a black or white attitude, thereby hindering any progress they may have made by holding out for the 'right time' to diet.
Choose to 'healthify' their lives in many moments of the day, and give themselves credit for those choices, so that when the time comes and they want to choose an indulgent food, they may do so- letting go of the judgements they place upon themselves and being fully be present in the moment to enjoy their decadence. I think that the most wonderful thing about learning to mindfully eat is that it allows you become re- aligned with your body, so that you start to pay attention to how foods make you feel physically- whether they make you feel rejuvenated or further depleted- and you begin to make healthier choices naturally, with less resistance.
For most people, it is a transitional process from option one to option two- and even when choosing the second option it takes a while to settle into this new mindset. Be kind to yourself and gently allow this shift to take place. If you try to force it you'll just end up back at square one. Mindfully, with every choice you make, try to healthify- but more importantly ENJOY your life!
BUT in the meantime- have your ice cream and eat it too! Try this:
Mint Chocolate Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream
**Make sure to use BOTH gums. Xanthan thickens the ice-cream, and guar gum makes it creamy. So, if it’s too thin, add more xanthan, and if it’s too icy, add more guar. It may take some trial and error, but you when you get it right, the texture should resemble soft serve ice-cream.
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Ariel Richards, R.H.N.