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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.

I Would Be Happy If I Could Only lose Weight….”

410950321Diets fail because they are an offspring of control. They are disguised attempts at manipulating our external environment to achieve a change that must come from deep within ourselves. Following someone else’s rules and setting arbitrary limits about everything we put into our mouth cannot possibly harness the power of our own healing.

Most “diets” come to predictable ends. They are subject to boredom, disillusionment, impatience and lack of joy. They keep us hooked for a while on achieving an outcome that may have been unrealistic from the start. Any diet based on the common belief “I would be happy if I could only lose weight” leaves us feeling miserable, if not a little brokenhearted.

Even when we lose weight, if we still think about ourselves in the same, old ways our food issues continue to be a domineering force in our lives. We still think that “thinner is better.” We still talk about losing “five more pounds” even after we reach a more satisfactory weight range. We still stand in front of the mirror trying to decide if we are still fat.

Succeeding on a new diet or healing your relationship with food can both result in achieving an ideal weight. Whether the amount of weight lost is the same or quite different, it is only by their permanent outcomes can you tell them apart. When you go off the diet, if everything returns to the way it was and nothing else in your life has changed except the number on the scale, it’s very unlikely that number will remain where it is.

When you heal your relationship with food, your life is transformed. Weight loss is easily maintained because you have gained insight about your old behaviors and reframed your thinking about food and hunger.  Inspiration comes from the desire to be healthy, not wanting a smaller body. You have learned how to live a more satisfying life with a more enlightened relationship with yourself.

Food Problem?

body-mind-spiritMany women keep their food choices and how they eat a secret. Others distrust food and are overly cautious around it, irrespective of what they weigh. Some are so preoccupied with their hunger that they understand it as a disease, a source of guilt, or mistakenly associate it with shame and fear. And what about all those women who are unfailingly conscientious about eating well, yet never feel quite satisfied or full?

Our weight is often a major concern in our lives. Whether we are within a normal weight range or decidedly overweight, the underlying issue is often about starvation, not food. The pain surrounding how some of us eat is not just about our food choices or what our bodies look like but about an essential aspect of ourselves we keep failing to recognize is always starving.

An important need is not being met. A ripe potential is not being realized. An old wound may be crowding out some of the joy and purpose in our lives. Our food, in its broadest sense, is the source of our healing. Our hungers help us to understand and accept who we are.

How you feed yourself involves far more than the choices you make every day about the substances you put into your body. Your mind needs constant nourishment and your spirit can be ravenous. The body, mind and spirit are fluid and intrinsically interrelated. Their “appetites” ebb and flow. Every aspect of you experiences hunger, needs feeding and has its unique food requirements.

Only you can recognize where your hunger is coming from so you can choose from the most appropriate “foods” available to satisfy that hunger. Keep in mind that whatever nourishes your body, enlivens your mind, or expands the reach of your soul is food. Some or all parts of you are clamoring to be fed all the time.

Don’t Feed A Starving Heart Bread

untitled.png nnSometimes, there is longing so deep and so wide that discerning desire from need or need from hunger is impossible. Until you find a better way, using food to feed that chasm inside continues….When was the last time you ate food because you missed love? You may feel forsaken and alone, wanting only to wolf down whatever food you can get your hands on. But you can’t feed a starving heart bread. It will always miss its mark.

The next time you have a sudden, irrational urge for eating, think about your heart. Truly, it may be your heart that that needs food, not your body. Your heart is a bridge between not understanding and knowing. Just thinking about your heart feeds it. And when you feed your heart, you are living “in the moment.” Each moment is complete and does not need the next moment to fulfill it.

The more time you spend in your heart, the less it starves. The more time you spend in your heart, the more sensitive you become to your spirit’s appetites. The more time you spend in your heart, the more you discover what nourishes your spirit. The more time you spend in your heart, the more time you will spend in your heart.

On Hunger

Hunger verifies a reality; it expresses a truth about you. You may indeed need to eat something, but not always. If you can stay with the truth of your hunger long enough to let it unfold completely, you may see that there are many different kinds of hunger. Right now, yours may not be about food for your body…..

As essential as food and water are for your body, so are the spiritual and emotional necessities that shape every aspect of your being. You have the ability to move past the assumption of physical hunger and grasp the truth of your longings and needs. Ultimately, eating cannot satisfy you when you need comfort and have no one there to comfort you. No food can love you when you feel unloved. Food on a plate cannot fill you with soul-engaging beauty if you haven’t created anything beautiful in your life.

Knowing the truth about what your hunger means empowers you to seek what is missing in your life. Some hungers let you know when you don’t have quite enough of something important and embolden you to pursue or create what you want. When your hunger allows you to envision the kind of love you need, you can better identify where to seek that love.

Anytime a hunger moves you to invest in more understanding about a remote emotion or a monstrous pain, you can renew meaning in your life.   Once you truthfully articulate your hunger and give it a name, the promise of feeling full and whole is within your reach.

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Healing and Weight Loss

pyramidLOGO_blueReaching a healthy weight and maintaining it is about making your life better, not taking it over with a diet. Feeding your mind and spirit with deliberate and thoughtful regard is as fundamental to lasting health and a life well lived as healthy eating is for your body.

From a body- mind- spirit perspective, every aspect of your being experiences hunger, needs feeding and has its unique food requirements. Some or all parts of you are clamoring to be fed all the time.  Understanding that hunger is not limited to your body is the first step to healing your relationship with food and bringing awareness and acceptance to every aspect of your being.

Today’s drama and confusion about our weight in the throes of an obesity epidemic makes it hard to reframe the meaning of hunger and food in our lives and make a more compassionate shift in how we take care of ourselves. Whether swift and urgent or persistent and enduring, your hunger is an invitation to heal and food, in its broadest sense, is what heals you. Healing your relationship with food must begin with healing the relationship you have with yourself, on every level of your being.

Don’t believe that changing your diet and your weight will make you a “new woman.” That’s not a realistic goal. Seeking to open to everything you are is the real motivation for any change you want to accomplish in your life. Weight loss is too small a goal to sustain when you don’t feel good about yourself and have a hard time understanding your body as a sacred aspect of your being. As you learn how to make benevolent connections to the foods that feed your body, mind and spirit, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight falls into place.

Succeeding on a new diet or healing your relationship with food will both result in achieving a healthy weight. It is only by their permanent outcome that you can you tell them apart. When you go off the diet, if everything returns to the way it was and nothing else in your life has changed except the number on the scale, it’s very unlikely that number will remain where it is.

When you heal your relationship with food, the weight you have lost in the process is easily maintainable because you have reframed your thinking about the meaning of food and gained insight about your old behaviors. The real breakthrough is never about the diet but about understanding your hunger and knowing where it is coming from. Limits are set wisely, but not when it comes to living with freedom and joy.  Your life is transformed.