Three Ways to Find Peace with Food and Your Life
Peace is a practice, a commitment. It is not a gift bestowed upon the special or lucky, but a choice you make. To find inner peace, you must practice peace in every aspect of your life.
Geneen Roth wrote in her book, “Women, Food, and God:” “No matter how developed you are in any other area of your life, no matter what you say you believe, no matter how sophisticated or enlightened you think you are, how you eat tells all.”
I believe that healing your relationship and finding peace with food injects that peace into the rest of your life. For me, there was no way that I could live in peace unless I healed my relationship with food, and there was no way I couldn’t heal my relationship with food as I sought to live a peaceful life.
There was a time I was living in my own personal hell. I was a slave to my obsession with food and to the scale. The cycle of deprivation, guilt, worry and anxiety infected everything I did and prevented me from truly living.
I found myself consistently giving my power away to some point in the future, a magical moment in time when all was right. I didn’t realize I was doing this, until I was under the grip of a very intense, overwhelming feeling of guilt. I watched the words I was saying to myself jump across my mind and in seeing their absolute ridiculousness my authentic voice finally screamed “Stop!” loud enough so I could actually listen.
I finally understood that nothing outside of this moment, or myself, would ever provide me the happiness I was looking for. The kind of peace I was searching for only comes from within, and exists in every moment — and when you find that, nothing outside of yourself will ever be able to take it away.
The following are three powerful ways you can begin to heal your relationship with food, and find peace in all areas of your life:
1. Allow pleasure into the eating experience.
You may be thinking, “Pleasure?! But pleasure’s the problem!” We believe this to be true, so much so that we no longer know how to experience pleasure without experiencing intense guilt. We eat, yet feel “bad,” so we need to eat more because we are never truly satisfied.
That’s why I say allow. Allowing yourself to experience pleasure while eating automatically releases you from the guilt, worry and stress around the eating experience and lets you feel satisfied by what you ate. Often, what we are craving is the pleasure of eating, not the food itself. So, give yourself what you deeply desire and allow some pleasure into your life, for goodness’ sake!
When you start allowing pleasure into your relationship with food, you can’t help but ask yourself where else you deny yourself of pleasure. Start allowing yourself to experience pleasure in all facets of life. Let yourself feel deeply satisfied by life’s enjoyments and it will severely decrease your cravings — and make your life a whole lot more joyful!
2. Stop counting and honor your body’s wisdom.
True peace with food gives you the freedom from the obsessive need to count calories, or be on a “diet.” By building trust with your body’s source of wisdom, you can always eat in peace because you know it will always ask for what’s best.
My advice is to let go of the madness and make the commitment to stop counting and dieting, now — cold turkey!
I understand how foreign this can be for you. There was a time that I did not know how to eat unless I was on a diet — when I would take days off of my “diet,” I would binge, so I lost trust in myself. I thought my cravings and desires were betraying me, so why would I listen to them?
I promise, they are not there to betray you. When you eat with pleasure and without guilt, eat slowly, and fully experience eating, you will be able to hear and respect your hunger cues much easier and your drive to overeat will reduce dramatically. Make it a practice to ask your body what it wants.
By becoming more and more in tune with what your body is asking for, you are becoming more connected to that intuitive power inside of you. When you can hear your body’s wisdom, you can hear your inner guide, which always knows where to lead you. Peace is found in trusting that your inner guide and the Universe has always got your back.
3. Invite spaciousness around your cravings.
Unless you are truly, physically hungry, your cravings are telling you something beyond the physical. Cravings are windows into our emotions and deepest desires. By grabbing the first piece of food we see when we having a craving, we’re not listening to what our cravings are saying.
When you feel a craving coming on that is not a physical craving, give yourself a few moments to breathe or journal. What emotions are you feeling? What desires are you feeling around those emotions?
When we start feeling our feelings and fulfilling these desires, our cravings have less of a power over us. We realize that we don’t need to grab the first piece of food we see because there is nothing to fear if we don’t!
By seeing where you use your cravings to numb out every time an emotion pops up, you are able to see what other behaviors you use to do the same thing. Do you check your email or Facebook incessantly? What emotion or desire are you trying to cover up by doing that? By bringing these things to light, we can once and for all release the stuff that ties us down and begin a practice of fulfilling our heart’s desires.
And this is where the magic happens.
Jackie Vecchio is a holistic health coach and founder of Peace in Every Bite, where she helps women end the food insanity and make peace with themselves.
Photo credit: Matt Katzenberger