Photo by alleksana on Pexels.
I don’t think I know one person who does not have a traumatic story to tell when it comes to food and eating habits.
On the one hand, this might seem natural, as our lives depend on us getting enough food, but none of the people I’m thinking of ever had to struggle to survive because there wasn’t enough nutritious food around.
The complicated relationship most of us have with food comes from a complicated relationship with nourishment and care, and this shows in how we now care for ourselves with food.
As with everything, the overall picture is always visible in every detail.
You can very easily tell how much a person loves themselves and how they care or not care for themselves by looking at the way they eat.
Overcoming Emotional Eating Habits
However, no matter what our personal food story is – food and eating are an essential part of our lives and take up a good part of each day: we need to buy or grow what we want to eat, prepare it and then consume it. But how do we do this?
As I see it, we have two choices here: we can do this in a way that is fun, easy and healthy.
We can nourish our bodies, energize ourselves and fuel our brains and actions with our food, or we can see food and eating as something difficult, something that overwhelms us, something we feel insecure about, something stressful.
Or we might be somewhere in the messy middle. But a little complicated is still complicated.
Where we are on this spectrum depends on the stories we tell ourselves about our food.
I’ve opened the CREATRIX School because we all face the same obstacles in one way or another. At some point in our lives we need to look at what we eat and how, and check if our eating habits fill us with joy and keep us healthy, or if we want to change something to make it so.
In the CREATRIX School, we look at a different topic each month and in March, the topic is food.
Like with every other topic, we start by taking a look at our current eating habits and find out what we’ve accumulated over the course of our lives that we don’t need any more, what doesn’t serve us any more.
With food, more than with anything else, I feel, this requires looking at the stories we tell ourselves about food and about our eating habits.
In her wonderful book, Mother Hunger, Kelly Mc Daniel writes:
“When a baby is hungry or lonely, she cries. While crying, she experiences a rapid increase in heartbeat and release of adrenaline. Adrenaline, or epinephrine, helps start nature’s fight-or-flight response. In adults, this looks like driving to a restaurant, foraging in the refrigerator, or calling a friend to talk.”
More often than not, we try to soothe ourselves with food, we use food to compensate for the difficulties we experience in life or the pains we feel.
We can use food to punish ourselves, or treat ourselves because, like the crying baby, we equate food with love. We create adrenaline when we are stressed, but we produce serotonin when we eat and nourish ourselves.
Which is why it is so essential to bring this to our awareness. If we want to change the way we eat, we need to bring to light to how we feel about ourselves and our food.
To quote Kelly McDaniel again:
“When we are helpless infants, hunger pains drive us toward our mother. She is our relief. Completely dependent on her care, we “talk” to her with our whole body—we squirm or whimper or cry. This is nature’s way of bringing Mom close. When she responds with milk and warmth, all is well. Milk and mother bring pleasure, and we learn that a full belly, our mother’s touch, her voice, and her smell are the same. This is how human connection gets associated with pleasure so that we want more of it. Hunger and bonding are inextricably biologically linked.”
But there is more to it than that.
Apart from using food as a substitute for love and human connection, which we can easily change once we become aware of this and learn to ask ourselves: “Am I hungry or am I craving something else?” – food can also be a means to silence other emotions.
Often, tiredness can also feel like hunger. In the CREATRIX School, we look at all the other emotions that might be hidden behind feeling hungry. (And which will never be resolved if they are not seen, but simply silenced with food)
Some people eat more than is good for them, other people withhold food or censor themselves when it comes to food, but no matter what our food story is now, we can overcome it if it does not serve us well, if we take a look at it and begin to resolve it and allow for the real issues behind it to surface.
Changing Unhealthy Eating Habits
Most of us also struggle with a lack of knowledge or feeling overwhelmed when it comes to making the best food choices.
Keto, vegan, vegetarian, high protein, high fat, low fat, Ayurveda, Mediterranean diet, etc. – the options seem endless.
How are we supposed to know what is the best way for us to eat well?
I’m excited to tell you that this is super easy, actually.
Studies indicate that we can live super healthy lives with many different diets as long as we stop eating processed foods, too much sugar and instead eat enough vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates.
What is much more important than what we eat is how we eat. Which is why our food stories matter so much.
I share all the exact details in the CREATRIX School, but I want to give you something to create healthier eating habits that you can implement to make your life easier right away.
Finding a way to overcome your emotional eating habits will take much more love and patience than actually creating a healthy diet.
With these three basic rules, your diet will be fine:
- Eat as little processed food as possible (especially watch out for processed vegetable oils, processed sugars and processed wheat flour, which is basically a sugar as well)
- No sodas or juices. Just don’t do it. Drink (herbal/fruit) tea and water during the day, and up to three or four cups of coffee or a glass of wine (less than 0.2 of alcohol a day). Sodas and juices contain much more sugar than we would ever be able to consume in a fruit and bring our whole system out of balance.
- Switch to a plant-based diet and make sure that you eat all colours in a day: Greens (vegetables), Reds (Berries), Yellows (grains).
If you then add the 80/20 rule to that (80% healthy, 20% whatever you want), then you’ve mastered the basics of good nutrition.
Of course, we should check that we have no deficiencies and that all our nutritional needs are met, but this really becomes very easy with a few simple tools and tricks, like a couple go to meals and snacks for each time of day, which I’ll also share in the CREATRIX School.
Again, studies strongly suggest that it is far more important what you think about your food and your eating habits than what you eat.
Our body is really fantastic when it comes to that, actually. Just remember that people, with a very well-trained mind, can actually drink poison without it having an effect on their body.
When we enjoy a yummy piece of cake, our body has no trouble metabolizing that at all, but when we feel bad about it and blame ourselves for it, it does.
So, what we really have to do is train our mind and become aware of what we eat and why, and then develop a loving relationship to food, the same way that we develop a loving relationship to ourselves so that we can begin to allow for food to become an essential part of our well-being and daily joys.
Which is what we do in March in the CREATRIX School.
And you are so invited to join. ❤️
On that note
My main aim with all my work is not to give you rules or plans to follow, but to show you how to meet yourself, to understand how your brain and body and soul are connected and how you can learn to bring this into balance and a state of thriving and coherence to live really well.
When it comes to food and the simple suggestions I’ve mentioned above, it could look like this:
If you eat a piece of cake because you really like the cake or the occasion, and it brings you closer to other people and you are having a generally good time, then I would say that is a fantastic thing to do and much healthier than denying yourself joy, or being with other people or feeling a sense of belonging.
If, however, you are eating the cake because you want to treat yourself because other parts in your life suck right now, then the cake will never be the solution or make you feel any better in the long run. In fact, this piece of cake, even though it might be the exact same one that I mentioned above, will most likely contribute to you feeling worse about yourself and therefore won’t be good for you at all.
The same goes for eating because of peer pressure, or because you can’t say no or because you don’t know what else to do with yourself, or just because it is there. That’s not healthy.
If you drink coffee because you’re not getting enough sleep – not good, if you drink it for pleasure – good.
And so on. Eventually, you will also establish a relationship with your body where you can ask yourself: is this good for me right now? And will receive an exact answer. Because your body already knows.
Especially with coffee, this has become a fun ritual for me: I can stand in front of my coffee machine and ask: “Should/can I drink another coffee?” and sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is yes but decaf and sometimes the answer is no.
But I know (because I tried) that if I don’t listen, I will feel bad, so I do listen and am very grateful, that my body knows so much better than I ever could from anything I’ve ever learned.
And you can find this knowing and communication as well. I can help you get there.
It makes life easy, keeps you in the flow, healthy and brings so much joy.💚
McDaniel, Kelly. Mother Hunger (p. 60+63). Hay House. Kindle Edition.