It’s rare to find someone who eats joyfully and mindfully. This means having a hearty appetite—an appetite for foods that are calming and energizing, that help focus the mind, are easy to digest, and have pleasing tastes. Joyful eaters savor the flavors and textures while engaging all of the senses. They chew thoroughly in order to enjoy every last morsel.
Joyful eating means receiving and eating your meals in the spirit of gratitude for nature, the farmers, the food distributors, the retailers, the cook, and for yourself. The first stage of eating begins in the mind. Your attitude towards food determines its effects on your body.
Most importantly, joyful eating means no guilt, no fear, and no food phobias. Many people worry about and fear food constantly. These toxic emotional and mental states have far greater impact on the effects of the food than the ingredients themselves. The food you prepare and eat receives your energy and your consciousness, then returns it to you. Hence, you become what is most like your thoughts, and often, that’s overweight, unhappy and unhealthy.
Your cells are thinking mechanisms that communicate with each other and respond to your thoughts. Your attitudes penetrate your cells, and your body responds to your mind at a cellular level. You become what is most like your thoughts. So, if you’re calling yourself fat and waging war on your body, it will respond by being fat and unhealthy and giving you more to fight against. Guilt, fear and food phobias give you the same result.
Relax about food and learn to stop giving your power (to create what you do want) to any food. The moment you judge or criticize you give more power to food to create the opposite of what you want. Lighten up. It’s not the end of the world if you’ve eaten something on your personal prohibited list of foods. The lighter you feel mentally, the lighter your body will be.
How You Eat Matters
What’s your eating style? Do you eat on the run? While standing, walking around the house doing chores, working, driving the car, or talking on the phone? Doing so will inhibit digestion and assimilation and you will never be satisfied, always looking for more.
Creating time to sit down, relax, chew and enjoy your meals enhances the positive effects of the food on your body. You’ll metabolize more efficiently, be more satisfied, and feel nourished physically, mentally and emotionally. Giving thanks further adds to the positive impact as does taking 3-5 long, slow deep breaths before eating. Create your own pleasant rituals around eating, and you’ll discover that doing so enhances overall wellbeing and helps with weight loss. Do this even if you’re eating what you label a bad food.
How You Think Matters
Stop Calling Yourself Names –” binge-eater”, “food addict”, “compulsive overeater”, etc. Each time you think and speak these labels about yourself you reinforce their power over you and your body. Your body always obeys the instructions of our mind (even when you’re not aware of your thoughts), and if you’re calling yourself names you are keeping yourself in bondage.
Reality and thoughts are not separate. Giving your attention to these negative labels enhances their effect on your body. One of the most effective actions you can take toward losing unwanted pounds is to create some new labels that are positive, empowering, and make you feel joyful when you use them. Think and speak them daily.
Food Judgments and Labels
While it’s important to exercise discernment when making food choices (any choice for that matter), it’s counter productive to make food good or bad. The reality is there is no good or bad, only choice, and the effects of your choices. The effect comes to a large extent in response to the judgments you make about the food, and how you feel about your choices. When your mind is truly aligned with a healthy, fit body, you simply will not want anything that opposes it. This requires consistent inner work.
What labels do you put on food? Here’s some I’ve heard: These foods get me into trouble; this is sinful, fattening, or off-limits. I just have to look at that pie and I gain weight. This is bad for me. I’m not allowed to have this. I’m going to “cheat” and eat this. I’ve been good, so I’m going to eat this banana split. Jot down some that you hear yourself thinking and saying.
- How do you feel when you hear yourself thinking and making these statements? Every time you criticize, defend or justify your choices/actions, you disempower yourself. It’s another way of saying something is wrong with your choices. That attitude will keep healthy and overweight.
- Can you soften the judgments? Can you cultivate a positive, feel-good attitude about all of your choices? You could say things like, “everything I eat turns to health, longevity, and beauty”, or “I’m not keeping this particular food in my house anymore because it’s not really something I want”; or “I’m choosing not to eat this because I don’t want it”. Work on your internal conversation.
- If you do choose something that you feel opposes your goal of a healthy, fit body, then please enjoy it. Say something like: “this is delicious and rich and sweet and a few bites really satisfy me”. Or, “these salty chips are just what I seem to need at this moment”. Or simply, “I’m eating this because I want to.” Sit down, chew and savor, stay present, and let go of the judgments.
- I know a woman who says she’s decided to be good all week and then eat whatever she wants (or be bad) on the weekends (her therapist suggested this). This way of thinking is antagonistic and opposes health, happiness, peace, satisfaction, and contentment. You’ll experience these qualities by making everything you eat what you want to eat. Start saying that to yourself—no matter what you’re eating.
Telling yourself you are going to allow yourself to have something you believe to be bad for you occasionally is self-defeating and unhealthy. When you stop making it bad (in your mind), the food will lose its power over you and you probably won’t want it much anymore. This takes practice and awareness.
Effective Practices for Health and Happiness
- Let go of the idea that there is good and bad food. There is not.
- Adopt the idea that there is only cause and effect. Align your thoughts with the effects you want and make choices that will cause those effects (your vision and goals).
- Let go of the notion that you blew it if you ate a few cookies or chips. You did not.
- Find your balance point—what makes you feel light, free, alive and happy.
- Food cravings are a helpful guidance letting you know what you need for balance. You don’t need excesses of sugar, salt, fat, or protein. Get help figuring this out.
- Understand how guilt is paying you. Does it allow you to continue to prove how unworthy you are? Think about this and figure it out.
- If you’re eating certain foods because you’re stressed, depressed, anxious or upset, ask yourself how you feel after eating those foods. Do they make you feel calm, peaceful, relaxed, centered, grounded, and empowered to find solutions to the emotions?
- Become fully aware of why you choose what you choose; how you feel about your choices; and how your choices make you feel.
- Eat mindfully no matter what you are eating.
- Make a very big deal out of all the positive choices and changes you’ve made—every day.
- End every day by reflecting on how far you’ve come and all the choices of thought, word and action you’ve made that reflect what you really want. Do NOT think about all the things you haven’t done.
Permanent success in creating good health and weight loss will be a long, slow, tedious journey unless you work at the level of mind, emotion, and spirit. Your body is urging you to do so. If you need help, take advantage of some of the resources listed below. Your success is waiting for you to claim it.
Consider some professional guidance for the right nutrition and customized holistic health plan for reversing your health and weight issues, and removing the degenerations that cause them. You can greatly improve every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health with a customized holistic approach. Schedule a Holistic Health and Nutrition session with Deborah Barr, 35-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor. You’ll be on your way to better health.
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