I talk a lot about all of the pieces of taking care of your health that have nothing to do with calories and cardio; like learning how to take it easy and receive and why it’s a good thing when your iPhone winds up in the toilet. I do this because if you don’t free yourself from the emotional blocks that keep you shackled to the suckfest of self destructive behavior, diets and exercise plans are just crappy band-aids that won’t work.
I know, though, that sometimes you need something a little more tangible than “Love yourself!” and “Practice great self care!” on the road to releasing the glowing, healthy woman that I know you’ve got inside. This is a big part of why I include recipes on the blog, to take this whole pie-in the-sky stuff back down to Earth and give you something real you can hold in your hands that will feel good when you eat it.
Let’s take it even further than recipes today, shall we? Let’s talk about how you can stop relating to food like that toxic girl you know who always flirts with your boyfriend and makes passive aggressive digs about your hair, and instead turn it into your sweet friend who always tells you you’re not crazy and makes you feel like you can take on the world. I know that the food and eating psychology path can be murky, so I’m gonna un-murk it with concrete practices that have you enjoying food like all those freaks you know who don’t always clean their plates and actually feel satisfied after a few bites of dessert.
Learn to cook
Though I’ve been on this journey for a long long time now, the way I relate to the food I eat changed drastically once Jonny and I got together. Cooking went from something I sort of knew how to do-ish, to a deeply beloved hobby and a way to express love to my special people… including myself!
When I used to binge eat, it was never on an elaborate meal that I’d lovingly prepared. Sometimes I’d overeat on those things because they were so good, sure; but I’d never secretly stuff myself sick. Whenever I did that, it was always on packaged crap; whatever I could get my hands on at a convenience store late at night.
For this reason, I highly recommend becoming a kitchen-loving gal as a path to healing. The food you’ve spent time chopping and sauteeing and mixing will just not be as appealing to blindly eat at breakneck speed. Preparing your own food is so constructive and satisfying that it just doesn’t align with getting whatever you can down your gullet. Also, compulsive overeating is so frantic and addictive – it’s about the urge to numb what you’re feeling immediately. In the process of food preparation, you automatically give yourself time to think and feel, which puts a buffer between you and that addictive urge.
On a more practical level (not that food or emotional issues are logical in the slightest), you won’t want to waste all your hard work by polishing it off in one shot, without taking the time to savor it or share it with someone else.
Get your food from a source you respect
Jonny and I recently joined a CSA. Do you know about CSAs? If not, learn more about them here. While I’m asking you questions, have you seen Food, Inc? If not, get it here, and get ready to be blown away by all the bullshit in the American food system and experience a total shift in the way you think about the food you eat.
Anyway, back to our CSA. We get our weekly veggie share from Golden Earthworm farm on Long Island and I am so amazed by how different it feels than just picking up whatever at the grocery store. Eating food that is seasonal, organic, and helps support a local farmer rather than some bloated, maniacal corporation that cares nothing about nourishing my health and everything about feeding their own greed has connected me to my food in a whole new way. As I eat food that the Earth was ready to produce based on the time of year, it’s much easier to connect to my own healthy intuition, which always knows when to eat and how much without thinking about it.
The fact that a farmer who I’ve met pulled my food from the ground recently makes me want to respect and honor it, find delicious ways to prepare it, and eat it in moderate quantities rather than giant heaps.
Learn what satisfies you
This part is really fun! We’ve all got our sweet spot in terms of combinations of flavors and textures that really do it for us. Once you figure out what yours is, you can figure out healthy ways to indulge those cravings. I’m not talking about a bunch of nasty faux foods that taste like styrofoam-infused versions of their counterparts, I mean nutritious foods that contain the same flavor profile and truly satisfy you.
For example, I love:
- Sweet and salty combinations – like Miso Honey Glazed Fish
- Creamy foods - like Creamy Avocado Pasta with Shrimp, Coconut Shrimp Millet, and Goat Cheese Quinoa with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Zucchini
- Starchy foods – mashed cauliflower usually does the trick. To prepare, just boil the living hell out of some cauliflower and throw it in the food processor with your favorite mashed potato trimmings.
I’ve also found it incredibly worthwhile to invest in some high quality condiments. Right now we have black truffle oil and lavender balsamic vinegar in our kitchen, which cost enough to make my frugal self break out in hives but my food-and-health-loving self knows that a little bit goes a long way with these high end goodies in terms of flavor and the treat yo’ self factor.
Deprivation is NOT the answer. You are so worth taking the time to understand your preferences and finding feel-good ways to honor them.
You can do this!
Whenever you’re ready, you can change the way you connect to food from something that makes you feel guilty and gross into the thing that strengthens and nourishes you so you can live your life. Next time, I’ve got some awesome recipes for you that fit into everything I’ve talked about in this post… so you have some good stuff to eat on your way!