Friday, November 23, 2012

Day Seven – Food, Part 3

Give yourself permission to eat...unconditional permission.

You do NOT have to earn the right to eat food.  It doesn’t matter that yesterday was Thanksgiving.  That was yesterday.  Today is today.  It doesn’t matter if you ate a lot more than you are used to.  It doesn’t matter if you ate “bad” foods or not.  Are you hungry?  What are you hungry for?  No conditional penance eating either.  Example: while you are eating that left-over pie, don’t think it’s okay that you are eating pie now because tomorrow you diet.  No.  We don’t need no stinking diets.

Believe it or not, food is more than just food.

Food can intellectually nourish:
During a meal, we nourish our minds by sitting around the table and talking to people.  We get a chance to share stories and hear about the lives of other people.  We use our brains to cook and bake yummy things.  Eating gives you brain power.  If you skip a meal, you skip more than just the energy needed to move your body; you skip out on intellectually stimulating your mind and your social skills.

Food can spiritually nourish:
During a meal, we nourish our souls.  We pray before we eat.  We thank God for the gift of food.  Meals are really very spiritual and scripture based.  There are incredible teachings centered on food and meals in the Bible if you stop and think about it.  For example, the Passover, Manna from Heaven, the Last Supper, the Wedding Feast at Cana, the Feeding of the Five Thousand, the Eucharist, just to name a few.  If you skip a meal, you miss important spiritual nourishment.  Chew on that the next time you are in adoration.

Food can emotionally nourish:
(Emotional eating is not good – I am not talking about that.)  But eating IS a very emotional experience.  Everyone remembers their favorite things to eat as a kid.  Lasagna is so nostalgic for me that eating it can bring me back years and years.  Food can be associated with traditions.  Can you say, “Birthday cake”?  Root beer floats, Friday night treat night, bike rides to the tasty freeze, and “slapping” cheese.  I won’t explain why all those foods have meaning to me beyond just nutrition.  I would run the risk of overloading the inside jokes to poisonous levels.   And I am sure ya’ll have your own stories about childhood and food.
{Photo courtesy of}
This Holiday Season, you can change the way you view the abundance of food.  Start by asking yourself what you are really hungry for or what you are really craving.  Allow yourself the permission to eat unconditionally.  Remind yourself that if you don’t eat all your favorite foods today, you will still be able to eat them tomorrow.  Eat slowly.  Don’t make food choices because of what other people are eating, what you think is healthier, or what you think you “should” eat.  Trust yourself.  Your body is not a Tasmanian devil waiting to be released.  Remember, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

This might take some time.  So don’t get too discouraged if you find yourself reverting back to your old ways or feeling the old guilt trip after eating “sinfully delicious” desserts.  Be kind to yourself.  Give yourself a break.  And remember, food is not intrinsically evil.  Food cannot be “sinful”.  This concept is a fabrication of the modern media via commercials and women’s magazines.  Okay, I’ve stepped off my soap box, finally.

Uber-Hard-Challenge-of-the-Year:  Give up commercials, and women’s magazines, and diets, and that stupid Pintrest crap about looking a certain way.  This is a hard challenge, I understand that.

Maybe somewhere to start would be to become more aware of how body image affects your life.  A more realistic goal, or first step, would be to take note of how often you encounter a negative body image during your day and how often it affects your actions.  Just being aware of your environment will help you make better choices in the future.

When you die are you really going to think, “Gee, I am so glad I spent all that time trying to be thin”.  I doubt it.  Think about your ultimate goal.

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