[Image via @brianagardener]
Are you able to allow yourself to eat freely without feeling guilty afterwards? can you relax and indulge a little because you’re in good company, or simply because you’re on your own in the bath..?
It took me years to allow myself to enjoy a lot of foods without it being followed by the all consuming feeling of guilt, without the fear that I would gain weight, and the need to obsess over the meals that followed in order to feel better about myself. to feel back in control!
A couple of years back I got tired of all the mental space this loop took up. Of all the self obsession, and also, a part of me knew it wasn’t the real path toward obtaining a sense of meaningful worth… So I committed wholeheartedly that no matter what my waistline measured, I would catch my harsh inner critic when she showed up, and would always choose to send myself the message of gentle care rather than buying in to her bullshit!
I decided to eat what I wanted, what I felt my body would approve of.
I had noticed a pattern, that when I was highly stressed about food, feeling self critical and in the need to control it all – I would actually gain weight! The rigid regimes and fear factor would cause me to hold on to body fat, which was the very thing I was trying to quite literally run away from.
My critic is only interested in power, perfectionism, and loves getting validation from external cues. When she is in charge, she takes away from feeling any sense of inherent worth, or inner peace… she’s all head and no heart!
When I am gentle, and generous with how I eat and move, my weight normalises. I digest food better, I feel motivated to exercise, and stretch, and meditate… all that self care stuff comes easily, and I can be in my heart (which knows my true worth). When I let go of the food control, my whole system feels back online and working in harmony.
So many of us feel discomfort and discontent about our appearance, and a lot of what triggers us in to harsh self judgement is sparked before we even step out of bed in the morning… like when we choose to wake up by scrolling image after image of Instagramable abs (when we say we don’t have time to meditate) or by jumping on the scales to see how close we are to the number we have decided means we are our most attractive and worthy!
The way we feel about our self is far more important than our looks, in fact, to an extent, the way we feel about our self, determines our attractiveness.
In my opinion, the most juicy, attractive and appealing people I have ever come across are those who simply own who they are and are comfortable with what they have got. They aren’t size 8 models. They emit straight up confidence, and a deep sense of self respect that turns heads.
I find it to be worthwhile reflecting on and journaling what the cost of control is…
How does your life flow when you are orchestrating what you eat so meticulously?
Does restricting your diet give you some sense of control or power in your otherwise chaotic life?
Do you pine for a chocolate croissant to dip in to your zero calorie long black? And low and behold if you cave in to the temptation, do you sit and relish in all it’s flakey buttery holiness? or do you inhale it with a guilty gut?
Does your relationship to food affect your connections or connectedness with your children, friends and/or partner?
Have you ever known a time when you’ve felt free with your relationship to food? How was your physical health and heart then?
I have this beautiful memory of getting up in the middle of the night with my first boyfriend and cooking fruit toast at the kitchen table all sleepy head canoodled up with my love, before rolling back to bed. It was the sweetest, most cuddly, yummy little midnight ritual we used to have, and if I was being rigid Candice, I would have never had that experience which gave me so much.
Is it time you gave yourself a little more (head)space to enjoy food and began looking at all the beauty in your life… the outer and more specifically the inner? Start with something small and easy, and work your way up!
The trick is, we don’t need to try so hard to let go (that’s control too), we simply need to witness and allow and then choose another way moment to moment, one ever so gentle, compassionate step at a time.
Food is connection, it’s nourishment, it’s culture, it’s love, it’s life giving, and we should always appreciate the food we consume, rather than guilt our self for what we put in our mouth.
Your body hears everything you think, and responds accordingly… be gentle. and eat well, rather than less!
P.S I recently stumbled across this 7min clip of Dr Joe Dispenza touching on this topic in relation to the first and second Chakras, which summarises the way we relate to food (and lovers) on an energetic and metaphysical level so well. You can watch it here!