surrendering the power we give food

Oh, the power we give our food.  If only this ice cream cone knew the potential it had to make or break our day! I want to write a quick post on one of my favorite themes as of late… surrendering.  Ahhhh.  (you may now exhale).  I often talk about how certain foods + lifestyle habits can help reduce inflammation in the body and how other foods + habits can exacerbate inflammation.  But what if I told you our thoughts can add fuel to the fire?

“nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – william shakespeare

I do an exercise with my clients with the above Shakespeare quote (why yes, I can be philosophical :)).  While this is not necessarily 100% completely true in life, our body CAN be convinced otherwise.  Meaning – our physical health is a manifestation of a multitude of factors, including our beloved thoughts.  So the physical act of eating the slice of pizza or ice cream cone doesn’t have to be causing internal chaos, but if you are expecting it to, that negative thinking pattern can be creating more inflammation than the actual food itself. (+ the reverse is true – the act of mindful eating, especially when enjoying beautiful food in it’s colorful, unadapted form, has the power to heal our body one meal at a time – if we are cognizant and therefore intentional about the health benefits it is providing).

Do you sometimes (or maybe even everyday) find yourself labeling foods as “good” or “bad?”  I admit these thoughts slip into my mind on occasion.  Our culture has unfortunately thrown this idea on us as the “diet mentality” continues to thrive.  I have a thought.  What if we decide to get rid of these food labels and just eat what we want, making the choice to not think any longer about having “eaten the bad food.”  We hear stories all the time about people going on vacation and “giving themselves permission” to eat whatever they want – lo and behold they return without any sign of weight gain or detrimental health outcomes – quite possibly the opposite!  A relaxed body + mind digests + assimilates food more optimally than a stressed and frantic state of being.  Think: rest, then digest.  This particular focus is on resting the mind.  Relaxing.  Chilling out.  SURRENDERING. 

Releasing the power we give our food can be sooooo freeing.  Choosing to spend the little energy we have on things that are actually important in our life – like actually experiencing it.  Not ruminating over every little detail, in this conversation, specifically our food. Considering another life-giving mantra of “not sweating the small stuff…” (including that donut you had for breakfast!).  At the end of the day, if balance is what we are after, what fun is it to be pessimistic or feel shame or guilt about what we have eaten that may not look like that “perfect diet?”  That is not balance!

“When you ruminate, stress sticks around in the body long after the reason for the stress is over.” *  (stress = inflammation)

The beauty of this all is that surrendering and relaxing a bit can actually naturally push you closer toward the direction of healthier choices.  Optimism creates space + momentum: optimism leads to healthy thoughts, healthy thoughts lead to healthy actions, healthy actions lead to…your unique version of health!   We can reverse how we think about our food with a little practice.  Deciding what to put in your “20%” is first step.  What is it you love to indulge in?  Cookies with your kiddos?  Ice cream on the weekends?  (or Wednesday’s like it happens at our house!  Not sure how that works…)  Pizza night?  Burgers + beer?  Happy hour with friends?  There you go.  Giving yourself permission is the first step to freeing your thoughts surrounding eating that food.  This hopefully leaves you feeling more relaxed around it, which in turn creates less chaos. #foodfreedom

So jump into your weekend with something that brings you joy, releasing the power you once gave that treat and open your mind and heart to only…JOY! 

*quote excerpted from “The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer” by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel

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