It always interests me to hear about how my family has handled food so differently across the generations. In my mother’s family, children did not graze throughout the day or stare at a full refrigerator and say, “there’s nothing to eat”! She and her siblings ate at mealtime and ate what they were served. Period. She didn’t even think about entering the kitchen to look for food if she were hungry. She just waited for mealtime.
In my generation, there wasn’t nearly the awareness about calories, sugar, fats, etc. as there is today. Food was just beginning to become produced for high profit and companies were beginning to learn the perfect combination of fat and sugar to make food addicting. My mother just assumed we would eat what we needed. She wasn’t aware of the number of times I went into the kitchen for something to eat. Juice was fruit and therefore it was good for you. Having a healthy appetite meant you were healthy. We cleaned our plates because we were taught to eat until it was gone, not until we were full.
Now I am raising my daughter and I often have a fear that she will not learn healthy eating habits. I fear that she will struggle with the simple act of feeding herself. I fear that she will be conned, berated, disempowered, and disrespected. We, as a society, have taken something so basic and primal and turned it into a nightmare. We have millions of choices at mealtime. We have opportunities to eat at every moment of every day. We celebrate every tiny milestone with food. We snack to keep ourselves motivated or awake or to help us wind down and fall asleep. We drive through, eat while we drive, and then feel driven for more. We drink sugar and caffeine to keep ourselves high and then wonder why we feel down or depressed or unmotivated when we crash.
After eating or dieting or obsessing, we weigh ourselves. We punish ourselves for not looking right or feeling right. We push ourselves at the gym or we think about how we “should” go to the gym. We berate those that make “poor” choices or who aren’t able to lose weight. We judge those that are “fat” as lazy or ugly. We judge ourselves for all of the poor food choices we’ve made or for not making more “progress” towards some ideal.
It is very difficult to lose weight once you have gained it. The more you gain, the more difficult it is to lose. Our bodies are actually designed to hold onto fat, not to let it go.
I can’t tell you the number of people that I have met throughout my career whose self-esteem is almost completely wrapped up in their bodies. If they are overweight, they cannot forgive themselves. And this lies beneath every interaction and every breath they take.
All we have is this moment. Nothing else exists except this moment right here, right now. We cannot change the past. We cannot control the future. We can influence the future with only the present moment.
What do you imagine your life would look like if you were able to stop obsessing about your body? What would it look like if you were gentler with yourself? If you walked because it’s good for you and it feels good, not to “lose weight”… if you ate peas because they are good for you not because you are “on a diet”… if you stopped beating yourself up for doing the best you can in a society that wants you to be fat for their profit.
I am giving you permission to do the best you can.
What would it feel like if for just one moment each day, you thanked your body for continuing to take breath after breath, for continuing to get you to where you need or want to go? Your body is just your body is just your body is just your body. Your body is not YOU.
If I can do it you can do it!
“. . . hell is wanting to be somewhere different from where you are. Being one place and wanting to be somewhere else . . . . Wanting life to be different from what it is. That’s also called leaving without leaving. Dying before you die. It’s as if there is a part of you that so rails against being shattered by love that you shatter yourself first.” ― Geneen Roth, Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything