I am a huge food-freedom advocate. We are all free to eat what we want, when we want, and in whatever quantity we want. But if you’re anything like me, then you know there’s always a reason for why you eat. Hunger? Sure, sure. But the way we eat can often be a dialogue. Maybe a strong statement to our childhood adults-in-charge, or a dialogue we are having with the people in our lives, and most definitely a message to ourselves.
Who are we if we don’t eat this way? It’s in the gaps that we find who we are. It’s in the silence, the moments without stuff, and in the stillness do we open to listen.
I’ve come to respect that the way I eat is always a barometer for me that alerts me to pay attention. For some, their ‘thing’ is work, or the gym, or spending money, or whatever – for me, it’s food.
Actually, not the food itself, but the eating of it. It’s never about the food. But if I eat a certain way, I need to listen to it.
If I’m not willing to stop, and I feel I have to eat right there, right then, no pausing – then I know that there is a fear under the surface. A fear of stillness. I don’t have to fix this, it’s not a problem. But I need to hear it. Emotions and messages from the deep will rise up and knock on the door – we need to open the door, and to paraphrase the Sufi poet Rumi; we need to 'welcome them in and make room at the table'. Otherwise, they get bigger and bigger and a bit scary. The less we listen, the more we are sticking to our story that’s not serving us.
Sometimes we don’t want to change what we do – it’s what we are invested in, for whatever reason. But who are we without ‘our ways’?
We have a right to be heard, to be respected, to say no without justification, to change our minds, to leave things go. These are our rights no matter how we are using food as a communication tool.
So if you are sticking to a story about yourself and even subconsciously trying to send a message to those in your life – are you really free to eat what you want?
One of my recent stories has been, 'I’m an anti-diet coach, therefore I can’t have any issues with food anymore!' — oh, how I laughed when I clocked that one (not really, cried for hours). Because that was the story I was now invested in, I couldn’t listen to myself when I ate fast, quickly, no stopping. Nope! I wasn’t listening! I’m all fixed thank you very much – no problems here!
It’s a freedom to realise that you are you no matter what you eat. You are you no matter how you eat. If that’s the case, we can let go a little. Relax a bit. It’s okay. You’re okay, and you will be fine. You will slowly be able to open up and hear – doing that is a huge act of self-trust. You can hear yourself, honour yourself and that’s enough.