July 5, 2011

Food Obsession & Overeating: 11 Steps to Food Freedom.

Yes, I know the topic of overeating or under-eating has been an obsession for decades. And it is still a major issue. Like any other issue, until the problem is embraced with compassion, understanding and forgiveness, we will be stuck in the infinite, abusive cycle.

Just last week I was out for dinner and observed my little mind at work. As I was sitting across from my beloved, enjoying a sumptuous piled high organic salad filled with arame, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary walnuts, falafel balls made from nuts, seeds and spices; I found myself consuming quite fast. I took a gander at my feeling sense. I was anxious. Why? My mind was telling me that if I put my fork down for even a moment, my beloved would scarf down my food. So I better keep eating whether I am satisfied or not. I don’t have time to decide if I am full or not. The anxious feeling was reminiscent of the days of yore while growing up with 2 older brothers. “He who eats fastest, wins” was the motto. So today, even though there is no truth to my mind’s greatest fear of my food being taken from me, the voice still exists.

We all have our personal rendition of the fearful voice around food consumption be it not having enough, eating too much, emotional emptiness, our mental distortions of health, our desire to feel nurtured, a need for energy, boredom or for social reasons. The list goes on. Whatever the reason how can we get healthy and balanced? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Prior to eating anything, have a glass of water. Most of the time we are dehydrated. Once you have water your taste buds will be clear.

2. Ask yourself the question, “Am I hungry?” no matter if the clock says you should be hungry or not. If yes, tune in to your body’s true needs and consume delicious mineral-rich, organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables, protein & good fats. Begin to tune into your natural biorhythm’s by eating when you are hungry. Avoid snacking unless you are hungry. Drink water instead. If you are still hungry, only eat to fill your stomach ½ way. 25% should be water, 25% air, 50% food. If no, breathe deep and notice how you are feeling. The other day I was watching a movie and I began to want something to eat. I wasn’t hungry. As I breathed and felt sensations, I noticed I was anxious. I discovered my desire to eat was for the purpose of sedating my energy. I laid down, breathed and relaxed. I no longer had the desire to eat.

3. Ask yourself: “How is this food going to make me feel in a few minutes, and in a few hours, and tomorrow?” Think about how you want to feel and make the healthful choice, knowing that as you do, you are raising your level of well-being.

4. We walk away from our meals dissatisfied, which is often why we overeat . The food may taste good but our nutritional needs have not been met. We may not even be aware of what those needs are. Raw & whole food nutrition is infinitely superior to your old diet of cooked foods–there is far more nutritional, health-promoting value in one apple than in a seven course meal of cooked food.

5. When we are tired, our primary need is for rest, not food, and food cannot digest well when we are tired. Eating when we are tired will only lead to a worsening of fatigue, lethargy and digestive issues.

6. Eat slowly and practice being aware/mindful/conscious and present in your body while you eat.

7. If you are feeling strong emotions, choose to accept, feel and be with the emotion. Allow it to dissipate, or expand, to flow through your body. Take time to explore & inquire within with compassion. Make the choice to stop covering up your emotions and to release emotional contractions and you will begin to feel nurtured by the love that is always present within yourself. The need for food as a tool to nurture will no longer be necessary to fill up the emptiness or push away the anger, fear, sorrow or loneliness.

8.Develop enjoyable, purposeful and healthful activities away from the food or kitchen. What inspires you and makes you happy or at peace?

9. Choose to act healthfully and be in your power–choose to take the best possible care of your self at all times. Are you eating something because you think you should vs. because you don’t want to offend someone? Who are you really offending when you put less than nutritious, quality food into your body? Ask yourself if it is really worth it. Would someone really want you to be hurting yourself?

10. Accept and love yourself as you are, and understand that by living and eating well, your body is receiving the love and respect your body deserves. You came into this world as a pure being of love and light and continue to be. It is only the mind that has taken on the lie that you are not.

11. Exercise to get & stay physically fit. A strong spine and fit body translates into a strong nervous system, self-esteem, will-power, and keener physical awareness so that you can discern your true needs for nourishment.

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