How food can inform our relationships & experiences

 
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When we talk about ‘getting healthy’, often our mind goes straight towards images of salads and gym gear. We see accessing health as a distinct endeavour that we choose to pursue or neglect. Rarely do we fully consider our health and wellbeing as something that is inherently woven into everything we do.

 

All the elements that make up our self and our life – from our own thoughts and emotions to our external world – form one whole, interconnected system.  

If we compartmentalise, we set ourselves up for imbalance. If we see health as something ‘over there’, our career ‘over here’ and our relationships and other aspects of life as tidy little sections, it’s easy to find ourselves either prioritising one thing over another or getting exhausted from energetically feeling like we’re spinning endless plates. 

If we’re really happy in one area of life, and really miserable in another, we can only register this as ‘separate’ within our logical brain. 

Our body tells another story.

Stress and negative emotions are held within the body. We feel it. We can’t persuade our body not to process something. We cannot say ‘look over here!!’ towards the area of our life that most brings us joy, while we expect the situations that are worrying or draining us to conveniently go unnoticed. 

Every single experience creates our health and reality. So how can we nurture a lifestyle that nurtures our overall wellbeing? How can we develop all aspects of the self while still focusing on specific areas we particularly want to expand?

It’s all about balance.

This doesn’t mean we have to split our focus and consider everything, every single moment. It’s about cultivating a lifestyle that recognises that we are multi-faceted beings and that life cannot be squeezed into a set of neatly labelled boxes. It’s about accepting and cherishing that life is more like a garden than a commercial farm, where plants and crops grow naturally, not contained in lines and structures.

 

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holistic health starts (but doesn’t finish) with the food we eat

Eating is rarely just about fuel. As humans, the food we eat also creates or informs experience, emotions, connections and the way we look at and feel about our body. It can be a source of comfort and one of shame. One of indifference and one of obsession.

It varies for us all. Why? Because the manner in which we feed ourselves is a form of relationship… it’s what I call our fundamental relationship.

What do I mean by this?

The way we engage with food and our body will manifest relationships and experiences that mirror this dynamic.

If we consistently feed ourselves a diet void of nutrition, love and consciousness, and regularly berate and criticise ourselves, we are steadily inputting messages into our body and psyche that tell us we’re not good enough.

This rhetoric can easily play out into every aspect of our life, potentially jeopardising opportunities and relationships and stopping us from fully reaching our life’s fullest potential.

Conversely, if we are obsessively counting every calorie and never altering from a path of strict health-based regimes, we are signalling to ourselves that control, force and rigid consistency is the recipe for success. This can lead us to seek control in other areas of life, and cut us off from fully experiencing support, release and joy.

When we address our food as a powerful relationship that’s connected with everything else, we can go past dieting and short-term fixes and instead get to the core of our eating habits and nurture a positive connection with our self and our body.

If you suspect that your relationship with your food isn’t fully serving you, here’s a simple exercise that you can do to seek more awareness.

  1. Start bringing more consciousness to this area of your life. Whenever you think about food, prepare it or eat it, notice (without judgement) what thoughts and feelings come up.

  2. Note them down. Everything is relevant – whether seemingly positive, negative or indifferent.

  3. After a couple of days or one full week, take a look at what you have written. Map out the key themes that these comments bring up. Now write down how these messages could potentially impact other aspects of your life. Don’t be surprised if you discover parallel patterns in seemingly unrelated areas.  

While our relationship with food can bring up negative emotions, awareness is the first step. Remember, we cannot change what we cannot see. Holding on to guilt or shame will only keep us stuck. 

Take a moment to congratulate yourself for seeking deeper insight and consider what steps you can take today to change this relationship for the positive. 

Seeing things written down can be a very grounding experience. Let’s explore what surfaces together! I’d love to know what you gained from this exercise. Drop your findings in the comments below or reach out privately by email.

 
Heidi HauerComment