The 3 common pitfalls that keep women caught in a never-ending struggle with food
Over the years of working with women, I’ve noticed a few patterns that almost always lead to a persistently painful relationship with food.
#1: The quest for the perfect diet
Have you ever noticed how there’s a million experts touting the perfect diet with scientific proof and anecdotal evidence to back it up? The truth is there is no one perfect diet that works for everyone at all times, and just because an expert has found a way of eating that works for their particular body, does not mean that same way of eating will work for yours. Your perfect diet will change depending on the season, your age, your life phase, your beliefs, etc.
Also important to note, is that many diets work really well…but only up to a point. So many clients that come to me are in a world of pain because the diet that once worked really well for their body is not leaving them with constant cravings, low mood, energy or immunity, or an increasing weight. I’ve seen paleo converts that suddenly started binging on donuts on the weekends, keto followers who suddenly can’t control their sugar cravings, or vegans who now find that their immune system is always on the fritz. Listen to your body’s wisdom and learn to honor cravings, symptoms and behaviors as an opportunity to slow down, get curious, experiment, and dive deeper. Rather than overriding your body wisdom in order to follow someone else’s rules, learn to honor and trust your body above all else.
So how do we know what diet is best for our unique body, mind, and soul?
There is wisdom in all dietary theories. Rather than taking the rules of any particular diet at face value, we can extract out the wisdom that really hits home and experiment with it, allowing our body to determine how we can nourish ourselves best in this moment of our lives.
Are you trying to follow a diet that is no longer working for your body, mind and soul? Do you keep failing to follow the rigid rules you’ve set for yourself only to fall into patterns of self-punishment, food fixation, and all or nothing thinking?
#2: Black and white thinking around foods.
The mind is dualistic in nature - this food is good, that food is bad. So when we approach nourishment from the mind, rather than experimenting with an attitude of curiosity and openness and letting the body guide the way, then it’s inevitable that we fall into black and white thinking around foods. But the truth is that a food’s affect on the body, is determined by so much more than just its nutrient value. Foods that create pleasure catalyze the relaxation response. And the physiologic relaxation response is the state of optimal healing, repair, digestion, assimilation and metabolism. It’s important to remember that all foods can have their place when we approach them with love, curiosity, and presence. When we fall into black and white patterns of either taking supreme care of the body, or trashing the body, being “good”, or throwing all caution to the wind, theses oscillations between deprivation and excess can be a form of self abuse. And as with all things, the dose makes the poison. Let food take its natural place in your life. Learn how to have a relationship with food that allows you to feel free and happy and to experience vitality, pleasure, creativity, and the fullest expression of your power and purpose.
When you choose to indulge, how can you maximize the experience of presence, pleasure and relaxation?
#3: Thinking it’s all about the food.
Our issues and challenges with food and body have very little to do with food and body. Food can be used as a false substitute, a strategy for numbing and checking out, or a way to create a sense of calm and safety within. These challenges are doorways to more profound and compelling issues. Be willing to take the deep dive. Every symptom, dis-ease and unwanted behavior has a cosmic message, a whispering that contains powerful insights for our personal growth and evolution.
In order to find out where the REAL action is, a good question to journal on is: What do you think life will be like when you have the perfect body and health. Who will you be? What will life look like? What will you be doing, feeling, or experiencing? Notice what you’re really hungry for. As you become who you’re supposed to be, your body will become what it’s supposed to be.
I hope this has opened up some areas for deeper inquiry. If you need more support in finding peace with food or feeling more confident, sexy and at home in your skin, please reach out! It would be my honor to support you!