I love the beginning of the year; there is a sense of renewal and of new opportunities floating in the air. Then little by little, I start to hear everyone’s new year’s resolutions and I realize that there is a sense of our dis-ordered thinking among us. Especially as it relates to eating and food.
One after the other, there are these self-imposed rules about what, how and when to eat. I hear things like, “I won’t eat any sugar this week,” or “ I won’t eat until after noon,” or “I’m only eating protein.” These are all indicative of dis-ordered eating habits. Usually in a striving for befitting a certain body ideal that is dictated by our culture at large. What if we make this year a year to stop all of this dis-order and reclaim our natural born right to enjoy food, find pleasure in the abundance available to us and feed ourselves fully. To live our life in alignment with how we want to feel in our bodies, which I think for many of us includes strength, vitality and vibrance.
The path to getting to that vitality is different and personal for all of us; it is not a one-size fits all, but I do believe it is not from a path of restriction or dis-order but rather, in creating a powerful alignment to what we inherently need and want to live with in our lives. It starts by taking an honest look at how we are feeding ourselves: how we are feeding ourselves emotionally, spiritually and nutritionally?
There is a difference between Power versus Force. All of the dis-ordered rules are ways of forcing us into a set of behaviours that we believe will lead us into certain outcomes (a slimmer frame, losing weight that will then lead us to being happier, or fill in the blank here on whatever myth you’re buying into, etc.). We are forcing ourselves to follow through with shaming, guilt-ridden and inevitable failures if we didn’t follow through on the self-inflicted “diet” behaviours, leading us into destructive patterns of thoughts and self-flagellating behaviours.
Let’s question the entire structure that we are placing on ourselves. Now imagine finding clarity in how you would like to feel—strong, vital, powerful and beautiful in your body. Full of energy upon waking and being in the flow throughout your day where you feel invincible. I think that is how many of us imagine we would like to feel. There is power in choice when you choose the things in your life that will activate that for you. The power rests on when you are in alignment with yourself, the true part of yourself that yearns to feel a certain way for you and within you.
The things can include adding nutrient-dense foods to your regimen, to listen intuitively to what your body wants and needs throughout the day, to work with yourself so you recognize the patterns of when you are tired, stressed, emotionally eating and not aligned with the elements that make you feel your strongest. Noticing when you are craving something, to discern what emotional need that craving is based on. Alignment also means getting better quality sleep, to move and exercise in a way that feels good to your body, to feed your soul with meaningful practices that make you feel connected to yourself, and to eat from the full abundance of what’s available to us.
Speaking of abundance: in Peru there are more than 4,0000 different varieties of potatoes grown (in every imaginable color and shape), in the local ICA grocery store you can today find tropical fruits like Rambutan and Mangosteen (fruits that I grew up with in Thailand that couldn’t be found outside if Asia in the 80’s), these are now readily available, and we know more today about superfoods like Chia seeds, Cacao, various Algeas and Chlorophyll filled Wheatgrass and Spirulina, than we did twenty years ago. When we realize all of the incredible flavors and abundance of options out there, why are we settling for the same boxed pity-panna or any processed foods that are prepared in industrial complexes? When we claim we don’t have enough time to source healthy foods and cook, maybe we need to get honest with ourselves about the amount of time we are choosing to look at Netflix or spend on social media. Rather than buying the cheapest and most readily-available packaged foods, we could take some time to honour how incredible our living bodies are and make them a priority—bestow the very best you can find unto yourself. For me this means organically grown foods free of pesticides and herbicides, local and sustainably raised and farmed, where possible.
Step into your power and celebrate yourself, fill your daily with life’s little luxury: the incredible flavours and abundance of food on our planet. With creativity and enthusiasm for what you can create out of the alchemy of cooking. In celebrating how your taste buds can come alive and you can fuel your body with the most incredible simplicity of humble ingredients. It doesn’t need to be as complicated as we make it. There is a simple gorgeousness to listening to your body’s needs, eating intuitively and feeding yourself with real food. But there is a choice to be made about the approach that will serve you, honor you and empower you to live in that abundance. Why choose anything else when you can choose power over force? When you can choose vitality over restriction? When you can choose yourself above all else, so that you in turn can be stronger to support the people in your life. Release the disordered eating for clarity and alignment. I wish you a wonderful and delicious new year!
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.