Our relationship with our food is as personal and unique as any other relationship in our life. It has the power to deeply nourish and sustain us or to be a source of suffering and misunderstanding. Part of finding our way back to feeling in balance with our bodies and our weight includes evaluating our relationship with food and giving it some love and care. It’s harder to experience deep fullness and satisfaction from eating when we are disconnected from our food and especially from our hunger. We can sometimes develop behaviors that hurt our bodies – like eating too much or too little to sustain us. It’s also common for all of us to substitute food for the things we are lacking in our lives because food means comfort and community.
In an age when we often suffer from isolation and loneliness, connection with food is an antidote. By slowing down before we eat, we connect inward to ourselves and our needs, and in doing so, we can provide real comfort to ourselves. Simply take a few seconds to stop and ask yourself: Am I really hungry? What am I really craving? And then listen for the answer. You have an internal wisdom, and when you take a moment to stop and listen, you will start to hear it.
By slowing down we also connect outward to our community and our world. We can think about all of the many hands who touched our food, from seed to table. We can imagine or explore all of the environmental, human, and animal impacts each type of food has made on the world around us and send our thanks for the nourishment before us. A friend of mine before eating, has a habit of holding her plate on each side and silently creating a blessing for the food she is about to eat. In doing so, she becomes more appreciative, more alive, and more in touch with each bite.
There are many habits and ways to explore more fully connecting with your food and your hunger. From planning your meals to planting a garden, to learning about the many different types of hungers (from eye hunger to heart hunger), the path to changing your relationship with food and hunger is full of spice and variety! This is not a reductionist approach…this is a way to be more in touch with who you are as an individual and as part of a worldwide community of eaters. Focusing on our relationship to food is an act of empowerment, an act of listening to and acting on internal cues to determine when, why, and what you eat. In the process, you will also develop the skills to listen for all the other ways you can provide for the needs in your life.
Please get in touch if you are curious to learn more about the many different types of hunger (saving for a later post), and how you can build a healthy and truly nourishing relationship to food.