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What Part of You Is Hungry?

What Part of You Is Hungry?

Who among us hasn’t reached for something to eat at the first inkling of hunger, even when it isn’t our body that needs to be fed? While encouraging healthy approaches to eating, the driving force behind What Part of You Is Hungry? is that physical food cannot satisfy the hungers that propel many women into conflicts with their bodies and struggles with their weight. To truly succeed in maintaining a healthy weight, a woman must determine if her hunger is coming from her body or her life. What Part of You Is Hungry? shows her how.

Two guiding principles shape my work and the ideas I explore here. First, arriving to a healthy relationship with food is best understood in the context of the greater whole: a healthy relationship with yourself. The extent to which your body, mind and spirit are in a harmonious interrelationship with each other is the wellspring of your life. Dieting, by itself, too often separates you from your life.

Second, feeding your mind and your spirit well is as fundamental to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight as healthy eating is for your body. When you can figure out if your hunger is coming from your body or your life, you’ve mastered the art of feeding yourself.

Fine-Tuning Your Health

 

The feat of riding a bicycle all by ourselves for the first time is a milestone in childhood. It is not merely a physical feat. Certainly, all the right neurons in the brain must engage and our body must be physically able, but the mind’s will and the spirit’s courage make it all happen.

In the same way, reaching and maintaining our optimal health, wherever we are in our lives, is an extraordinary achievement. It involves more than wise choices in food selection, preparation and maintaining an acceptable weight range. The key to being truly healthy is complex and requires we stay vigilant and inspired to maintain a well-balanced, systematic approach in nourishing our bodies, minds and spirit. We must love ourselves that much.

We each have an innate sense of knowing when we are in harmony with the rhythm of our lives and when we are not. The proportions and priorities of life keep changing and all the fine tuning is left for us to adjust as we go along Balancing the collective resources of our body, mind and spirit with our needs and the world around us is the foundation of the continual healing process that defines a truly healthy life. Our excesses and deficiencies are there to balance us, not to diminish us.

Establishing balance in the care and feeding of YOU does not happen all at once. Real change is best achieved gradually, as an understanding of food and your needs as a woman deepen. Trying to change too much or too abruptly is a set up for failure. Change and balance must go hand-in-hand as you master the art of feeding yourself. The best diet in the world must include healthy foods for every aspect of your being – Body, Mind and Spirit.

 

 

Beyond the Diet

Being on a diet can be a terribly lonely experience. Involving others is important for successful outcomes. We must look to people who are available to provide us with positive feedback and encouragement. It’s also important that they know how to listen, respect our goals and avoid imposing their own beliefs.

You can heal your struggles with food and eating. Food is not the problem; it is the solution. Identifying the source of your hungers takes you out of the diet mentality and initiates your healing. Starting on a stringent diet is actually much easier than identifying underprivileged, underfed aspects of yourself.

Discard the old diet mentality and bring bold nourishment to every forgotten corner of your being – Body, Mind and Spirit. This is a singularly profound accomplishment. If you have difficulties getting started or need support during a rough time, ask for help. Involve those who know you well and care about you. It gives up none of your authority- It enhances it.

If circumstances allow, work with an experienced therapist, professional trainer, nutritional counselor, physician, or spiritual leader—someone who knows and values their own truth and is respectful about yours. Anyone who does not work with you in caring, safe and beneficial ways is not useful to your process.

Women can form special alliances. We often make an instant connection to a total stranger, someone we know casually or have yet to meet who was once where we are now.  We make deep and abiding bonds to other women who are also searching for their answers and their truth.  Our greatest ally is often another woman. Sometimes someone comes along or is already in our lives that we can confide in and trust to help us.

 

“Fattening Relationships”

 We thrive in a mutually healing and gratifying experience. When that dynamic is unbalanced or missing, we can be left achingly hungry. Sometimes we may expect too much from someone and other times, we may not seek enough. If a relationship has become tedious or unhappy, we are faced with another opportunity to heal.

Using food as an analgesic can numb the pain but also blind us to the beauty in life. Without realizing it, we put food between ourselves and certain toxic relationships among family members, collogues and friends. Sometimes, we believe we can’t live without someone even when we no longer like being with that person. Other times, our reasons for coming together no longer support staying together.

Acts of self-healing are possible at any time. We open to healing every time we make a healthy food choice, rest when we are tired, tell the truth or correct our course and act bravely on our own behalf.

The Scale: Tyrant Or Tool?

imagesSCE3MP10Remember it is your behavior that determines your weight, not the scale. Think about how you use your scale. Or, does it use you? Does it tell you how to feel, what to wear or what to eat? Do you weigh yourself as frequently as you floss your teeth? Standing on a cold scale is the second thing many women do every morning. Others haven’t been near a scale for years. You are too savvy to compete with an appliance but you may have become dependent on one. Please, don’t give up any of your power to a number.

If the anxiety of not weighing yourself at your usual frequency is too high, reduce your dependency on the scale by skipping a weigh-in” whenever you can. Deciding not to weigh yourself this morning may be the first step you take in healing your relationship with food.  Healthy weight loss involves reconnecting to your body and yourself in different ways.

The process of discovering a healthier weight can be a time for continual growth. You can’t rely solely on what the scale “says” when it comes to gauging your knowledge, beliefs and attitudes about what being healthy means for you. That the scale does not register an expected weight loss at a particular time does not reflect the beneficial changes taking place on a physical, emotional and spiritual level as you are making changes in how you eat to be healthier woman. Your best weight may be very different from the number in your head, on a chart or how much your best friend weighs.

“A Binge Is A Binge….”

untitled.png emotinal eatingThere is a wide spectrum of unhealthy eating among women. Removing most of the cheese from a slice of pizza is not quite the same thing as purging the entire contents of your stomach after a meal, but the two behaviors may be related.

Going on a very low calorie diet for a month to “look decent” in last year’s bathing suit is not the same thing as developing a total aversion to food, but they can also be related. Some women consider having an order of French fries with their lunch a binge and others may binge by consuming an unimaginable large quantity of sweets throughout one evening. The truth is a  “binge” is a binge.

Compulsive, obsessive and addictive eating behaviors are all symptoms of something that needs our attention and needs to heal. Besides compromising our health and well-being to lesser and greater degrees, we still put ourselves at risk with routinely unhealthy eating patterns. It is important to find out what the real problem is and be open to appropriate medical and psychological interventions when needed.

The issues we face in feeding ourselves can be giant clues about what we need to learn in our lives. They are to be explored, not avoided. Resolving issues we think are weight-related can help us to be emotionally and spiritually fit enough to live deliberately joyful lives.