Do you believe certain foods should be off limits? Are you afraid that if you eat these ‘trigger foods’ you’ll end up head first in a vat of Nutella?
Fear of food is a Big Problem when it comes to peaceful eating – because fear and peace just cannot co-exist!
Avoiding certain foods is due to fear. There are some instances where this fear is helpful. For example if you are a celiac sufferer, you would likely fear the consequences of eating gluten – which can be dramatic and painful. Or, if you’re anaphylactic, you will likely fear death, if you eat nuts, or perhaps eggs or shellfish. Those are fears that will protect you, and are worth heeding!
But I’m talking about other sorts of fears about food, like:
- If I have just 1 piece, I’ll eat the whole thing
- If I start, I’ll never be able to stop
- Sugar is poison
- I’m addicted – one is too many and a hundred is not enough
- Carbs make me fat
- Fat makes me fat
- Sugar makes me fat
- etc – you get the picture
This kind of thinking sets up a food fight within your own head. One part of you tells you you shouldn’t or mustn’t have whatever it is, and the other part gets rebellious because it suddenly wants it.
Have you ever noticed telling a child he absolutely must not touch the remote? What does he want to touch more than anything…?
It’s the same with food. We don’t like being bossed around – not by others and not by ourselves either.
The way to stop the fight, is to make peace instead.
And this is how you do it.
Instructions on how to make peace with food
- Make a list of all the foods you fear.
- Choose one.
- Buy it in large supply. Buy enough so that there’s no way you could eat it all in one sitting.
- Now take a breath.
- Take another breath!
- When you hear the thoughts flood in, about how you’ll eat yourself out of house and home, and how you’ll end up as large as a house… just notice them as thoughts. Say to yourself ‘these are just thoughts. They are not true, it’s just old thinking.’ In other words, observe the thoughts without getting involved with them – that means you don’t resist them or try to fight them… we’re making peace, remember?
- Now, sit down, with as few distractions as possible.
- Breathe. Nice and slowly… watch your breath – in and out through the nose.
- Arrange some of the food out nicely on a plate.
- Look at it. Really take it in. Look at it with beginner’s eyes. What does this food actually look like?
- Now lift it to your nose and smell it – with your eyes closed. See if you can experience the aroma without using words (it’s quite difficult!).
- Breathe some more. Notice any tension or anxiety – excitement maybe, and just allow those feelings to come and go.
- Savour each bite. Really taste it. Do you still like the taste as much as you thought you would?
- Keep eating, until you have had enough.
- Any thoughts about ‘this is too much,’ ‘you have to stop now,’ or ‘we’ll try this for a little bit, but if I put on weight we’re stopping this shit’ – just watch them float by – they are just thoughts, remember?
- Replenish what you’ve eaten next time you go shopping.
- Do this with this one food until you feel you’ve made peace with it.
- Then choose another one on your list, and repeat.
Sound like fun?