Good food tastes amazing, smells divine, feels like silk in a woman’s mouth. It gives us energy. It grounds us when we are light-headed. It is a social lubricant when eaten in good company (or maybe bad company too). Feeding ourselves and one another is one of the ways women have been nourished since the beginning of time.
It is also true that what once made us content, can also make us feel depleted. When we eat too much food in one sitting, our body produces large amount of heat to digest it. Over-eating and inability to fully digest is the basis for many illnesses. It seems that we begin to use food to fulfill every need. When we are happy, we eat. When we are anxious, we eat. When we are lonely, we eat. When we have a big day ahead of us, we eat. It is as if we have found that food works to manage our emotions, our energy level and our thoughts. We choose food as the all-purpose manager of our lives. We can never go wrong with food. We find that what started out as something nourishing, has now become a drain on our system.
Sadly, when we try to diet because our weight has crept up, we realize that we cannot follow the diet plan. We become confused and think, “How can this be? I am a competent woman who can organize her life so well, and yet I cannot stay on a nutritional plan!” It is so frustrating.
There is a simple explanation. Too many other parts of our lives are dependent on being managed by our food intake. When the habits around food change for the better, everything else begins to fall apart. How will we manage our emotions without the help of diet coke? How will we manage our energy levels without caffeine and sugar? How will we reward ourselves after a long day of work? How will we comfort the insecure little girl inside of us that needs to be held? This does not even take into account that we need to find time to shop for nourishing food, cook it, and clean up afterwards. It is no surprise that all hell breaks loose when we try to count Weight Watchers points. It has little to do with the food and much to do with the behaviors that we have used food to manage. So we give it up and go back to our old ways. In the end, we mentally and emotionally punish ourselves for eating. Eating makes us feel anything but nourished. It is the way that we abuse ourselves.
Ideas for Self Nourishment: Admit to yourself that you are going to need to find some other ways to nourish yourself, besides eating. Make a list of ways that you can nourish yourself.
1) Smell essential oils
2) Light candles or a fire
3) Take a bath
4) Read a good book
5) Ask for a neck/ back rub
6) Listen to amazing music
7) Spend time with your pet
8) Put on snuggly pj’s and slippers
9) Connect with God
10) Get some movement/ exercise
11) Drink warm liquids and soups
12) Meditate or do yoga
13) Sit quietly and practice taking long exhalations
14) Count the things you are grateful for
15) Get a hug
16) Ask for some empathy from a friend (one who knows how to give empathy)
17) Put massage oil on your body and sleep in it
18) Watch a funny movie
19) Listen to an inspirational podcast (like on Hay House)
20) Spend time in nature
21) Write in your journal
22) Ask for help with chores
23) Leave the dishes in the sink and get in bed
24) Always keep a healthy snack that is ready-made from nature (fruit/ nuts/ string-cheese)
25) Know at least 2 healthy options for fast food on the route home from work/ school- and only use them in an emergency
26) Keep healthy foods at home that you can eat the minute you walk in the door- a list of them on the refrigerator.
Click here for a an online workshop series called, “Yoga and Emotional Eating.”