“The truth is simple. If it was complicated, everyone would understand it.” ~ Walt Whitman
The answers to life’s biggest questions are usually obvious. Yet, we tend to over-complicate things, typically because of some fear around the outcome or seeing the process through.
We want the truth, yet somehow we fear it. So….we ignore it.
I know I did. I leaned on everyone else when it came to what I should do to feel better, stop the headaches, lose weight, sleep well, have clear skin, etc.
There was a time when fitness magazines and the latest celebrity diet heavily influenced my food choices (green juice and hot yoga, anyone?).
One of the biggest barriers to health is how disconnected we’ve become from our bodies and how much we rely on others to dictate what is right for us when it comes to our health and our food choices.
Food and why we eat what we eat is heavily influenced by politics, emotions, spiritual and religious beliefs, group “think”, medical “think”, numerous social and cultural influences along with the more obvious things like our personal preferences, what we can afford, whether we know how to cook or not and the list goes on.
There was a time when the majority of these influences just did not exist and food was less sensationalized, less “cool” or “uncool”, less “good” or “bad”. Food was nourishment. We needed to eat to survive and our food choices were determined more by what was available (seasonally), foods were less processed and therefore less addictive. We didn’t eat food because it fit into certain criteria and we didn’t have the luxury of being too picky.
Now, our food options have exploded (a positive thing, no doubt), debates around what we should or shouldn’t eat are much more heated and everyone’s a diet and health expert.
Food has also become entertainment (for those of us who don’t have to worry about whether or not we’ll have food on our tables and don’t ever experience true hunger). We keep our kids “busy” with snacks. What’s a movie without popcorn? A wedding without a delicious spread or a staff meeting without something sweet to reward us for enduring it. We’ve got cooking shows and magazines. Instagram. Pinterest. #foodporn
We love watching people make outrageous dishes that we’d never make in our own homes and we start to value food more for how much it excites our taste buds and and less about the actual value it has as fuel and nourishment.
We are inundated and confused. In many ways, we’ve become food-obsessed. And food-stressed. To the point where often the last thing we want to think about or talk about anymore is…. food.
That’s when you know it’s time to disconnect from all that outside noise and reconnect with your basic connection with food – as nourishment, as stability, as energy. As a means to a healthy life.
This is where we need to be RADICALLY HONEST with ourselves.
I had to get really, really honest about the fact that I wasn’t healthy because I was actively ignoring all the signs my body was giving me.
Food Network and fitness magazines were not going to teach me about my own unique needs.
I looked in the mirror and saw bad skin, puffiness and water retention. I felt depressed, tired and incapable of thinking about anything but my health – what I was eating, whether I was exercising, if my clothes fit, if what I was about to eat would make me bloated, etc, etc. When you feel bad, it’s difficult to think about anything else.
What I really needed was someone to hold my hand and walk me towards my own truth, to help me be honest with myself.
But no one ever did that for me. That’s one reason why I’ve committed my life to helping others take an active role in healing themselves, helping them make the connections between their symptoms and the deeper causes. There really is no other way.
Lots of times, in our quiet moments, thoughts come to us. Our intuitive self trying to guide us to our truth. The real work (the radical honesty) is to NOT brush it off or decide that these “voices in our heads” are crazy. You can call it your “gut instinct”, your intuition, your higher self or God. It’s there, trying to guide you towards what you seek.
In fact, these thoughts (and many others) were there for a LONG TIME before I actually listened to them. Maybe there are similar thoughts popping up from time to time for you?
Why do we ignore this inner wisdom?
For me, there was so much shame wrapped around food. I refused to “go there” and I justified what I was eating in a million different ways:
“Chocolate is good for my heart! I don’t eat cheese all the time! I’m a foodie!“
When I actually listened and was honest with myself about my relationship to certain foods, I realized that there really is NO shame in listening to my body, it was just trying to help. I wasn’t wrong or bad or crazy. I was just having a human experience, something I needed to work through.
There’s no shame in honoring your body.
Now, I actually had something to work with. I could investigate a little more and see if there was some scientific evidence or explanation for why the foods I felt completely addicted to were also the source of my symptoms (eureka! there was!). Foods that trigger our symptoms also have an effect on our brains and nervous system, leading to a feeling of being addicted to the food, along with withdrawal symptoms when we remove the food.
So, this is what intuitive eating was all about. Bringing honesty into the conversation, really examining what my unique body is trying to share with me – without shame. Finding out what is true for me.
Sometimes the voices in your head are actually trying to help 🙂 Not judge or shame us.
The most amazing part of addressing my diet honestly and making gradual changes was that food doesn’t have a hold on me anymore. Sure, it took time, but now I know that one of the cues for me is that weird, drug-like pull towards a food.
If I don’t listen, I don’t feel well.
This is most often the case with my clients as well. Their whole relationship to food and their body changes.
I eat what I’ve learned works for me and I move on with my day. For me, food is not entertainment, it’s nourishment. I get my excitement elsewhere. I want my food to look and taste good, I want to enjoy it and feel satisfied. But, it’s not what I live for. The rest of my life is.
We’re all on a quest to find out what is true for us in this confusing and, at times, insane world of health.
When you let yourself be radically honest about what does or does not work for you, what is true for you?
This is most definitely a process and something that I help each and every one of my clients with. I hope that this helps bring you closer to your own truth. You can get there. And, if you need support, drop me a line.
Supporting your truth,