What if instead of being afraid of food or trying to control food or yourself, what if you made friends with food? What if he who was once the enemy became your friend?
If you have an eating disorder, you probably notice that a lot of what you deal with is fear. Fear of food, fear of parties with food, fear of being out in the world, fear of what people think of you, fear of how you look or how other people see you, fear of being liked or not being liked, fear of being good enough, fear of pain or emotional hurt, fear of gaining weight, fear of losing weight, fear of fat, fear of eating, fear of not eating…
But what if you disempowered the fear of food by making friend with it?
The other day, a client of mine was telling me that after every public speaking event that she speaks at, she sits down alone and eats an apple because she is so revved up and the apple helps her calm down. She said, “I know it’s just an apple, but still, I’m using food to dampen my feelings…” But here’s the thing. Food IS nurturing. It keeps you alive and nourishes your body. I asked her what it would be like to smile at that apple and say, “thank you for sitting with me and helping me to decompress after my event,” and then enjoy the apple. We then took that a step further and discussed what it would be like to talk to her food all the time. Like say, “hey brownie, I really want to eat you, but I’m afraid you might lead to a binge…” and then listen to what the brownie had to say. Maybe it would say, “I think that today I’m going to lead you into a binge, so maybe you should just avoid me right now,” or maybe it would say, “Yes, sit down and eat me slowly, I’m not binge food today,” or maybe it would say, “Eat half of me now and half of me later!” Or whatever it is.
This is obviously another exercise in mindfulness and intuitive eating, but it’s a fun way to embrace your food rather than fear it. It’s a way to think about what you’re putting in your mouth and a way to learn to create limits and boundaries around food.
So, next time you are ready to eat, sit down and check in with your food, “are you what’s healthy for me right now? if not, what do you think I need?” Food is something that is here to sustain and love you. Your body deserves love and the food that you eat should be loving. Try it!