If you struggle with your relationship to food or eating, chances are, you’ve attempted all sorts of strategies to heal it. You may have spent countless hours reading books and articles about the issue that challenges you, or you might have gone through a seemingly endless series of special diets, only to end up feeling frustrated and stuck.
When you’ve tried every method that’s out there and you’re still not happy with how you eat, maybe it’s time to look inward, instead. In this inspiring new video from #IPEtv, Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, offers a straightforward method for tuning in to your own body’s wisdom and letting it guide your choices.
If you practice these five simple steps, we guarantee you’ll change your relationship with food for good!
Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Hi! I’m Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Today’s topic: Whole Body Eating – 5 Simple Steps
Are you interested in a simple way to work with any eating challenge that can give you some much wanted results or breakthroughs? So many people feel stuck in their unwanted eating concerns, and simply need a strategy to help them see some daylight. Let’s dive right in to the five steps of whole body eating. Use this approach with your friends, clients, loved ones, or yourself.
STEP 1: MAKE A CONSCIOUS CHOICE TO EAT
Many of us eat on automatic pilot. We’re driven by habit to eat when we are not hungry or not to eat when we are hungry. In the first step of whole body eating we perform the most basic act of the eating process. We look within to see what we are hungering for. We make the conscious choice of whether or no to eat.
Before you put anything in your mouth, ask yourself:
Am I hungry?
Will food satisfy my hunger?
What would truly nourish me in this moment?
Do I choose to eat?
Once you’ve asked these questions make the choice. And remember: whatever choice you make, accept it fully.
Let go of second-guessing yourself.
By making a conscious decision to eat, you may feel as if you’re claiming your body as your own for the first time. Can you think of a better person to be in charge?
STEP 2: ASK YOUR BODY WHAT IT WANTS
Once you’ve decided to eat, consciously choose what to eat. In fact, go to an expert authority for advice: your body. The body has an intuitive wisdom that goes beyond words and explanations. Dancers, healers, yogis, athletes, and others know this. You know if too: You just may not know that you know it.
Before you reach for any food, sit down, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let yourself be empty of expectations. With a quiet relaxed mind, ask your body what it hungers for, and ask it to be specific. Allow yourself to connect to the body’s intuitive wisdom, the part of you that naturally knows the foods, which would best nourish.
You may be surprised at the answers that come, or you may feel as if the answers are “just right.” If there’s any doubt in your mind, simply allow the doubt to be there. Trust that by experimenting in this way, you’re entering into a learning process where you will make a few mistakes and enjoy a few successes.
Many of us mistrust the body. We believe that if we let our body do what it wants to do, it will go wild and eat sugar all day. Yet it’s not really the body we fear. We mistrust ourselves. We mistrust the wisdom of life, and the way that it can work through us. The key here is to move beyond fear to a place where we are willing to experiment.
If you’re concerned about asking your body and getting the “wrong” answers, remember that choosing the “right” foods is less important than eating whatever you choose wholeheartedly. We eat what we eat regardless of whether we tune into our body wisdom or not, so why not just enjoy it. It’s perfectly fine to make mistakes. Welcome to the human race. The more we practice the better we become.
STEP 3: EAT WITH AWARENESS.
Be there when you eat. Receive the fullest experience of your food. Taste it. Savor it. Pay attention to it. Rejoice in it. See how it makes your body feel. Take in all the sensations.
But don’t just eat the food. Eat with ambiance. Eat the colors. Eat the aromas. Eat the conversation. Eat the company sitting next to you. Eat the entire experience.
Have you ever really eaten? Many of us haven’t had a “pure” experience of food. We eat but are “out to lunch.” We are busy with something else or drifting off in fantasyland. The fundamental inattention to the meal often leaves us starving for more. We may eat a nutritionally complete meal yet still remain undernourished.
We don’t have hunger for food alone. We hunger for the experience of it – the tasting, the chewing, the sensuousness, the enjoyment, the textures, the sounds, and the satisfaction. If we continually miss these experiences, we will naturally want to eat again and again, but will remain unfulfilled.
Eating with awareness is the most important and powerful tool to transform your relationship with food and the body. Once you begin to practice it, it becomes a lifelong habit. There’s no goal or ideal to strive for. All there is to do is eat, observe, and enjoy.
STEP 4: LISTEN FOR FEEDBACK
Now that you’ve eaten your meal, take a few minutes to relax. Learn from the meal by reflecting upon what you have eaten and how you have eaten it. You’ve already fed the body. Complete the circle by letting it feed you – feedback.
Sit down quietly after your meal. Take five to ten slow, deep breaths. Then listen carefully to your body. Did you pay attention to the meal? Did the food satisfy you? Would you eat differently next time? Slower, faster? Consume more food, less food, different food? Did you overeat? Do you feel heavy? Are you still hungry? What would make your meal complete?
Experience the sensation of having food in your body. Can you feel the effects of your meal? You may have a warm, satisfied feeling. You may feel anxious or sluggish. Can you draw any connections between the “ingredients” of your meal and way you’re feeling now?
Take whatever information comes to you and simply note it. If you’re unhappy with how you feel or how you’ve eaten, try not to punish yourself. Relax. Use the experience as a teacher, as a way to improve how you eat next time.
STEP 5: RELEASE YOUR MEAL
Once you’ve finished your food, let it go. Forget about eating for a while. Forget about health, weight, and anything that looks, smells, or tastes like food. Go on to the next things at hand. Live your life. Be free. Do any of the million wonderful things you can do that have nothing to do with food.
The inability to release food is at the root of our most challenging eating habits. The mind may continue to munch on thoughts of food, dieting, body image, or optimum nutrition. Know that you can release food. And with that release comes a freedom to direct your energy as you choose.
Have you noticed how people often become reflective after a meal, how crying babies become happy, how couples “open up” to each other, and how relatives at a holiday dinner become a little less obnoxious?
You are a new person after you have eaten. Introduce yourself.
Thanks so much for your time and interest. Please email us at email@example.com if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you.
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