[Note: this is Day 9 of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition. I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join in as well through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]
This whole food-thing is definitely not getting any easier. At least not yet.
I again, spent all day yesterday putting off eating and then grabbing the most readily available thing. Well, I did eat real food for dinner… but only because my husband insisted on us cooking. Left to my own devices I likely would have just snacked on crackers all evening.
Speaking of my husband, he was watching some Byron Katie videos on youtube and I remembered how useful I have found her process of inquiry in the past.
I have a lot of deeply ingrained thoughts regarding food that might be helpful to examine. So, that is what I’m going to do today.
This is the thought I’m choosing to play with today:
I will never know what I want or what truly nourishes my body.
Question #1: Is this true?
In this moment, it feels true.
Question #2: Can I absolutely know that it is true?
Well, no. I can’t absolutely know that it is true. Some things do change.
Question #3: How do I react when I believe this thought?
Well, my chest feels constricted. There is this hardness throughout my chest. It is difficult to breath.
I feel hopeless and helpless. Depressed and exhausted. I just want to eat a whole bunch of sugar and wheat and not give a f*ck about anything. I want to give up. Not just on trying to eat better but on everything.
If I can’t feel what my body wants for food (the most basic self-care practice), what’s the point of any of my self-care practices? I teach self-care skills based on listening to my body and I can’t even hear what my body wants for nourishment. I’m a fraud.
Question #4: Who would I be without the thought?
I would be a person who is doing the best she can in this moment. I would be a person who is deepening into one aspect of her ability to listen to her body.
I would know that just because this aspect of my self-care practice isn’t where I want it to be, that this one not yet being highly refined, does NOT negate all the other ways that I DO know how to listen to my body.
I would give myself a bit more compassion. I wouldn’t put so much pressure on myself to have it all figured out. Right. This. Minute. I would relax a bit and approach it all with more curiosity and less judgement and self-deprecation.
Hmmm.. I’m also noticing a ‘should’ in my original thought. When I say that “I will never know what I want or what truly nourishes my body” I am implying that I should know. And, I don’t know.
So, I guess without this thought I would accept myself a bit more where I am, as I am, a person who is learning more about what nourishes and supports her on a daily basis.
The turn-around (the opposite of the original thought):
I always know what I want and what nourishes my body???
Is that thought as true or truer than the original thought? Find 3 reasons why it is true.
Wow. I feel rather panicked just starting to think about reasons why the turn-around might be true. Pressure/constriction though my throat, tension in my solar plexus, more difficulty breathing…
Ok, let’s see… can I come up with 3 times when I did know what I wanted and what nourished my body?
1) Two weeks ago when I went out to the woods and gathered nettles and made the most wonderful, deeply nourishing/satisfying nettle soup. That was awesome.
2) Refusing to eat quinoa for the past year even though I have no idea why I don’t want it and think that I should want it.
3) The times when I poach eggs and steam some veggies with Parmesan for breakfast. Mmmmm. So delicious! And, my body feels really happy eating it!
Whew. I did it. That is 3. Damn. That was difficult.
And yet, these are 3 shining examples of me knowing what to eat. Of me knowing and honoring what deeply satisfies and nourishes my body.
What I’m realizing right now is that, just like with movement, being present is the key.
And, I’m still rather terrified by the thought of being present enough to know what my body wants in the present moment regarding food. There is still stuff to untangle and fear to be met there.
However, it is very clear to me that, like exercise, diet is a very fluid thing for me.
It is NOT a matter of determining some specific foods that I eat (or don’t eat). Rather, it is a matter of checking in and seeing what brings that sense of relaxation and openness to my body when I present her with various food options.
Ah! Here is another piece. I just received some insight into the fear piece.
I’m afraid that if I check in with my body, she won’t want these things that I so love. Like black tea with milk and sugar. What if my body wants herbal tea every morning? NOOOOOoooooo!
Ok, and now I’m laughing.
I guess herbal tea isn’t so scary. And, if I find black tea with milk so comforting, there are probably times when my body does as well. We do exist together after all. And, if she were to really want herbal tea, for example, there is a chance I would really enjoy it as well.
So, onward. 🙂
Tomorrow is Day 10. Our final day!
For today, is there any thought interfering with your self-care practice that might benefit from the process outlined above? If so, I’d love to hear about it.
Emma McCreary says
I had a tea moment. Last night I was feeling happy, and then I wanted ice cream. And I realized that I don’t just want sugar when I’m sad and in pain and wanting to avoid it. I also want it just because I love the way it tastes. I love all the crazy yummy things you can do with sucrose. What a wonderful little molecule! So many possibilities! Ok, so it’s not great for my body, theoretically, but I actually don’t generally *feel* bad if I eat it as long as I’m also eating real food, and not binging to suppress things I need to feel. Wheat/gluten is different, I feel that when I eat it. But, say, ice cream…mmmm it is so good. It is a Good Thing. It is a Marvelous Thing.
So I have to strike some kind of balance. I want to eat real food because my body feels better, and I will have the energy to do the things I want to do. I want to eat gluten really sparingly because it’s not really worth the way it makes me feel. But I also still want to enjoy certain sugary foods because they actually make me happy. Like my butterscotch ice cream. Sooooo delicious.
I think if I’m eating real food, dealing with my feelings in some kind of healthy way, and having some self-awareness around what I’m doing, I should be able to eat some amount of ice cream or treats each day.
TV is like that too. I genuinely enjoy some of the shows I watch. Others I only watch when I don’t want to feel something. I don’t have to throw out the good ones just because I sometimes abuse the bad ones.
I have a sweet tooth. That’s just true, it always has been. It runs in my family. Yeah, I’m blaming my DNA. 🙂
So I guess I want my relationship to sugar to be like a love affair. I want it to feel good, make me happy, and make me feel alive with all the possibilities. If it’s starting to feel unhealthy, I need to take a step back and examine what’s not working. But that doesn’t mean we have to break up. 🙂
Larisa Noonan says
I love your tea moment! And, it sounds as if you are really entering a new relationship with sugar – one that is about balance. And listening. And love. Yes, love! How amazing.