Someone asked me “how come you love food so much and you are able to maintain your weight”
The Answer: I feed my body with purpose.
Wait let me explain.
80% of the time when I eat I am feeding my body with intention and the other 20%, I’m responding to my emotions and giving in to what feels good to me at that time. By purpose I’m truly cognizant of how food influences my energy levels and my metabolism immediately and in the long term my health.
When I’m not eating with purpose in mind, I end up with constipation, sleep becomes a battle, I end up looking for what to eat to keep busy since I lack energy and brain focus to fulfill my days work. This means I eat amiss, constipation becomes deeply rooted from a sluggish metabolism, my energy goes south. I get mad at myself for eating amiss and my mood at those times neither serves me nor my purpose in life.
The crankiness spreads like crazy wild fire and reflects in my relationships and the people around me. I want you to pause and think at this point, can you relate?
It takes hitting the reset button and a few days of laser focused intention to get my life back. You see the thing is beyond nourishment, food is information you give to your body. Our life, our existence revolves around food.
For example I know that anything more than a slice of nearly burnt toasted bread is equal to disaster for me. I instantly experience bloating which is followed with constipation. Dairy milk also makes this worse so I stay away.
Rice rarely features in my meals for the main reason that I don’t like rice and maybe because I know that white rice is just sugar with no fiber. Which means slowed metabolism for me and we go downhill again.
*I hope you caught that fiber hack*
I eat more non-starchy than starchy carbohydrates. When people say they don’t eat carbs; what they commonly mean is that they don’t eat rice, potatoes and yams but these are just starchy carbohydrate foods. Legumes have starchy and non-starchy variants. So by non-starchy carbs, I am referring to mushrooms, asparagus, radishes and other root vegetables unique to Japan. Most of our common leafy vegetables contain carbohydrate as a major component but starchy carbohydrates make it easier to get the recommended daily requirement of carbohydrates. So basically I still eat carbs.
My taste buds overtime, through habit and a lifestyle change plus reminding myself of the purpose behind eating have found more pleasure in dark chocolates, a cup of raw cocoa sometimes sweetened with honey, chamomile and lavender tea.
When I go out with friends or on holidays, I eat nearly everything except I don’t like it. It is what you do 80% of the time that counts. If you live a regular lifestyle of intention, a few 5 pounds over the holidays will find its way out.
The real focus is in knowing that even if I don’t get to eat that food now, it will always be there and most importantly, how my body responds/reacts to what I feed it with guides my feeding decisions.
I encourage my clients to look beyond the meal plans and pay attention to how your body feels a day to 3 days after you eat. Notice what serves you, what is not serving you and what you really should do without.
Focus on nourishing and healing your body with every food experience rather than battling with what you can or cannot eat. Food is medicine, but embedded in food are experiences, relationships and connections. So as much as food is medicine for the body, it is also medicine for the soul. Food is not the villain.
You too can have a more positive relationship with food.
- Start with the practice of being present at meal times. Focus on the food before you. I’d say when you get to the table, drop every other thought before you take a seat.
- Express gratitude for the food you have, acknowledge what the food looks like and ask yourself if you need it and why you need it.
- Finally, take each bite cautiously purposefully and with intent.
- Go on an adventure with this meal.
- How does it taste?
- How do you feel while eating?
- What sensations do you experience as you eat? The burst of flavour, the texture etc
- Does it bring up memories? Good or bad?
- How did you feel after eating and 3 days later?
When we pay attention to our food at meal times, we are more likely to recognise the early signs of fullness and often; the fact that we are truly not enjoying the meal. You experience a deeper satisfaction with food daily and your cravings reduce. You notice how your body responds to food and influences your mood & energy levels.
Ultimately, you win the battle with food. You regain control over what, when and how you eat.
Note that this is not a magic pill, but an intentional way of living that gets better with practice; leaves you satisfied and less stressed/anxious. Will you fail some days? That’s for sure.
Just remember, that living with intention is not perfection. You can always hit the reset button and 80% is ALWAYS good enough.
Originally published at medium.com