Doesn’t this sound FUN! When I hear the words whole body eating, I envision my whole body enveloping food….quite comical. Whole body eating…what does it mean? How can it help you to reach you goal? How can it help you improve your relationship with food?
As you know, food is a convoluted topic. There are many facets to our relationship to food. It provides nourishment, connection, satisfaction, comfort, and healing. Food is ever-present and is a big part of our life. This makes it imperative that your relationship with food is settled, comfortable, non-judgmental, and satisfactory.
When the body is looked at in an investigative fashion, you see that it gives us signals and is a great source for nutritional information. Do not underestimate the power of the signals. The body tells you when you are hurt…right? Then why wouldn’t the body tell you when a food doesn’t sit right, or when a food makes you feel lethargic, or maybe that it needs more iron rich foods, protein, no grains…etc… The body sends information of what it needs.
The human tendency is to ignore it, to be stubborn…but then guess what happens? The body will begin to break down. Instead of waiting for a health crisis, take control now. Pay close attention to the body and its signals, it never lies and will not mislead you. Learn to work WITH the body as it’s needs change from day to day.
Nourishing Wisdom, a fantastic book by Marc David, describes that there are 5 steps to Whole Body Eating. I highly recommend this book. It brings a fresh perspective on the body and how to truly nourish it. It’s not just the food…it is so much more! Here are Marc’s 5 Steps:
Make a conscious choice to eat.
Ask yourself these questions before you eat:
- AM I hungry?
- Will food satisfy my hunger?
- What would truly nourish me in this moment?
- Do I choose to eat?
When you choose to eat, eat without resistance and punishment.
The tendency is to eat on autopilot, when driving, while watching TV, reading a book…you fix a plate of food, take the first bite, then all of a sudden you look down and it’s all gone. Where did it go? Do you remember eating any of it? Do you remember the taste, the feel, the smell? Pay attention to the food and the nourishment it provides; the nutrients, the connection to the earth, the enjoyment and satisfaction of the taste and scent, the decision to choose life, the love that prepared the food, the source of the food, grateful for the provision of food, etc…
2. Ask your body what it wants.
Consciously choose what to eat. Allow yourself to tune into your body and see what it needs. Listen closely and be willing to experiment. Remember that “it isn’t a matter of choosing the “right” food as it is enjoying the food you choose wholeheartedly.”
3. Eat with awareness.
If you don’t quite understand what eating with awareness is, go back and read my blog post on eating with awareness. Engage all your senses into the experience; the ambiance, the conversation, the aromas, the people you chose to eat with. Take it all in!
4. Listen for Feedback.
Take 5-10 minutes at the end of your meal to reflect upon what you have eaten and how you have eaten it. Breathe deeply 5-10 times. Learn from the meal; how is it sitting in the tummy, did it satisfy you, would you eat differently next time…Slower, faster, did you overeat, what would make your meal more complete? Relax and don’t punish yourself if the answer isn’t to your liking, just make note of it.
5. Release the Meal.
Be Free. Engage wholeheartedly in the next activity. Take time to assimilate it by taking deep breaths, listen to music. Have you ever finished a meal and found you self thinking about food and wanting more? You feel food obsessed. Know that you can release food and not think about it anymore.
These steps will help you receive the most from the food you eat. Your relationship with food will begin to repair and once again you will be friends not enemies. Remember, each time you eat, you are choosing to live. So engage yourself in the food choices you make; how you prepare the food and how you eat it. And simply ENJOY!