The right nutrition for your body type is vital. But even the most brilliant eating plan, healthy diet or weight loss regimen won’t work if you don’t follow it. And you won’t follow it, if you’re not addressing any underlying mental, emotional and sometimes spiritual issues that drive disordered eating.
Embodied eating, or what some call intuitive eating, means you’re eating based on your body’s signals—not from boredom, or sadness, or stress. It means eating only when you’re hungry (not just because it happens to be dinner or someone brought pastries to the office, or because someone said you should always eat breakfast).
And it means choosing foods that support your body, mind and emotions—not because you’ve read somewhere that gluten is bad and kale is good, but because you’ve learned to feel what works for you. Ultimately, it means freedom from guilt, anxiety, judgment and shame around food.
All Worked Up: Our obsession with food. For the most part, we Americans are just impossibly worked up about food. We’re seduced by its flavor and aroma, dazzled by its health-giving properties and wistfully smitten by its rumored ability to make us wrinkle-free, toned and lean, 10 pounds lighter by Labor Day and possibly immortal. It can “blast fat” and protect us from cancer, and a cheesecake is worth dying for. We are alternately tormented with food porn and then chastised for eating it. But is our obsession part of the problem, or part of the solution? Read more
The Yoga of Eating: Holding the edge. In the practice of yoga, when we arrive at a difficult posture, one that causes discomfort, we stop carefully and notice it. We don’t flinch or jerk back, but we don’t shove forward either. We bring awareness to the sensations we’re experiencing in that posture, and either gently back out, or relax into it. This concept of moving back and forth along the rim of discomfort, called “holding the edge,” holds great wisdom. And it applies to all areas of our lives—especially eating…Read more
Afraid To Eat. Last week, I read six articles on the good-versus-bad-food theme. Good food? Bad food? We attribute moral properties to what is, essentially, a glob of chemicals in a tasty package. Eating is supposed to provide nourishment and pleasure. But in our diet-obsessed culture, we have attributed to food a sometimes-sinister quality…Read more
The Pleasure of Eating. What brings you pleasure? Real pleasure, so rich and deep that even thinking about it creates a visceral response? Right now, see if you can list a dozen things that bring you shivers of excitement or delight, elicit little mmmmms of satisfaction or make your lights burn a little brighter. More likely than not, food is somewhere on your list. Nothing wrong with that… until there is… Read more
Food Cravings? Listen to your body. Marion Woodman, the famed Jungian analyst, says “The longing for sweets is really a yearning for love or sweetness.” If cravings really are that transparent, why are we so frequently at their mercy? Usually because we just don’t take the time to listen to where the craving is coming from. What part of our Selves is doing the craving—the body or the mind? We don’t pay much attention to our Selves from the neck down. In our culture, the head is where the action’s at; it’s the part that’s sexy and loud and bright, and we’re completely at its mercy. Meanwhile, we drag the body around like a dog on a leash...Read more
What We Want From Food. I spent last Thanksgiving in the Santa Fe State Penitentiary. It’s not what you may think; I left after a couple of hours, having gone there as an invited speaker to lead a talk. Our topic: what makes us feel nourished. And though I expected the answers to be vastly different, they were heart-warmingly similar. Family. Love. Rest. Nature. And, not surprisingly, food. Read more
Chronic Dieting: Who’s the you that wants to lose weight? What would happen if you investigated your weight loss desires, using this technique? The first question to ask: Who is it that wants to lose weight? Who is the “you” that’s dieting? Another way to ask this is, who are you, inside your body?… Read more
Send Your Body the Right Food Messages. Every time you deny your physical needs—you stay up just a little longer when you need to sleep, or work right through the flu, or “hold it” when you really have to pee–you send the message to your body that it’s not important. We do this all day long with food; we shovel down breakfast on the way to take our kids to school, or we rush through lunch so we can get those last few emails sent, or we skip dinner because we’re dieting. Then we expect the body to perform for us, like a dog doing tricks. You must make yourself be a priority, if for no other reason than your desire to eat better and/or lose weight...Read more
Out of Your Mind: Be there when you eat. Think about your last meal. Were you actually there, tasting your food, smelling its aroma, feeling its texture as you chewed and swallowed? Or were you in your mind, mentally lining up the next thing on your to-do list, fretting over an argument with your spouse, or counting calories and grams of fat? Sometimes, being in the body just isn’t as interesting as being in the mind. It’s quieter in the body. There’s less noise, no drama. The mind, however, is much more flashy; it’s cunning, clever and persuasive, and tells a fabulous tale.But you can learn specific practices that will take you out of your mind…Read more
Be Nice. How many times have you criticized yourself in the last 24 hours? Stop for a minute and really think about it. If you’re having any doubts that you’ve been anything but complimentary, think back to when you got dressed this morning. What exactly did you say to the image in the mirror? “Look at that stomach! Your thighs are enormous! You’ll never fit into those pants you got last month. You need to lose 20 pounds. You look terrible!” Read more
Emotional Holiday Eating: What’s really eating you? The holidays are emotional. We’re pressed for time, short on money, and either overburdened with family responsibilities or feeling the pang of loneliness. Certain dishes bring back happy memories of past holidays. And all those high-carb, sugar-rich holiday treats temporarily boost levels of serotonin, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitter – which makes us crave more…. Read more
Intuitive Cooking: Get in touch with your inner chef. We love cookbooks. We love recipes in magazines, and articles on how to choose and prepare the healthiest food. At some point, though, it’s inspiring to rely on an internal compass rather than external directions. Cooking and food preparation is the most natural, instinctive activity in the world, right up there with nest-building and baby-making… Read more