Food as Self-Care

Holidays, food, and loving yourself to health.

I thought doing a blog about food would be apropos as we recover from our Thanksgiving meals. As we all know, it is common to use food as a form of self-soothing…think of the cliche of eating a half-gallon of ice cream after a breakup. Or even to celebrate…think about grandmother’s holiday recipes.  

But what if we tried to stay connected to what our bodies actually need for fuel over the holidays?

First, a confession: I can be an emotional eater. As someone with addictive tendencies, food is my addiction of choice. It’s easy to see food as a “safe” addiction – it’s not alcohol; it’s not illegal…but that doesn’t mean I don’t need to keep a careful watch on it. Food can easily turn to self-soothing and, to a certain degree, can become destructive. 

When we indulge, we don’t need to shame ourselves. I used to say I’m going to shame myself lean…I’m going to get angry and tackle my extra weight…those are violent acts against my own body. This aggressive, rigid mindset attracts us to aggressive, rigid disciplines. 

Now, I say I’m going to love myself lean. I enjoyed Thanksgiving. I even enjoyed some leftovers the next day. And now I’m back to eating the foods that make me feel best. 

If you’re in a cycle of overindulging, shaming, then procrastinating about eating foods that your body needs and craves, let me just say: you are not alone. Maybe a good first step would be to shift your perspective away from feeling bad about those extra 10 or 20 or 50 pounds, and decide to love yourself back to health. Start with staying curious. Evaluate the mind/body connection to make sure they’re synching up. Listen to the internal question your body may be asking: What do I need to feel well? 

And for all my aging sages out there, there’s one more layer to this. What we want to eat and what our body craves and needs changes as we age. What I used to be able to eat in my 30s and 40s, doesn’t work for me in my 50s. So it’s important to keep evaluating how your mind/body feels. Too many of us are trying to get back to our 25 year old selves. Folks, it’s not gonna happen. I’m not 25; I’m 52. I’ve carried and raised two children and my body reflects that in the best of ways. I’m proud of what my body and I have accomplished. And I want to keep it working optimally as I age. More importantly, I am focusing on my loving WHY behind health. It’s about keeping my mind sharp as I enjoy living and leading in the last third of my life, and keeping my body energetic enough to take my grandchildren to Disneyland and wear them out first! This is my loving WHY behind my eating habits and choices.  

Find your loving WHY – and make sure it is bigger than just losing pounds. Let it inspire you!  

And as usual, I welcome your thoughts on this. Feel free to leave a comment below and tell me what you think and what experiences you’ve lived. Let’s keep the conversation going.

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