Your Food-Story Can Have a Happy Ending

sunrise-1634197_960_720This morning I was listening to a message by Barbara Brown Taylor which had nothing to do with eating. She made a powerful statement that got my attention:

“Sometimes we have to start telling a different kind of story before a different kind of future can unfold.”

BAM!!

That sums up our journey of liberated eating beautifully.

We are telling – living – a new and very different kind of story from the one we were telling ourselves during our old miserable dieting days.

We who have struggled with food, weight and body for far too long want a different future. Desperately. The old story of restrictive rule-following did not take us to the future it promised.

Not even close.

The future we want requires a story of hope and help that actually works – for the long haul. We’ve gotta have an answer that’s big enough, strong enough & flexible enough for real life.

Nothing else will do.

The good news is there is a different kind of story – a trustworthy one.  It’s a life-sized solution that’s about so much more than just losing weight. It’s built on science and wisdom instead of empty diet industry promises.

It’s about living peacefully with food through weekdays and weekends, on vacation and at home, at birthday parties and restaurants – and even when we’re stressed.

Here’s a recent example of how this different kind of story played out in my real life…

Bob and I went to Tasty’s Fresh Burgers & Fries after a fine day of kayaking; we were hungry and happy from a day spent outdoors. We both ordered a cheese burger with the works, hold the onions, and split an order of tater tots.

MY OLD DIETING STORY would’ve sounded something like this in my head:

“I should NOT be eating this fattening food!!! [it’s sooooo heavenly delicious…I can’t resist] I’m being so bad! [maybe I exercised enough today to balance things out] But… if I’m gonna be bad I might as well go ahead and blow it big. I’ll start again tomorrow […or maybe Monday].”  Then I would eat it all, quickly, completely missing much of the goodness, paying no attention to what my body was telling me, and leave feeling stuffed and guilty and defeated. Again.

MY INTUITIVE, MINDFUL STORY can now play out like this:

“This looks delicious and I’m so grateful for it! I want to be sure to show up and slow down so I can enjoy each satisfying bite…I wanna be connected to all the goodness in this meal and moment. That’s a gift I can give myself.”   No guilt. No “shoulds” or “should nots”. No drive to overeat compulsively or shamefully or quickly. Because of this freedom I can stop eating when I’m not hungry anymore. I can easily leave food behind and walk out feeling very satisfied indeed.

Developing this kind of food-peace is a journey* anyone can take.

Our old diet story, driven by deprivation and hyper-control, made food an emotionally charged substance and drove us into all-or-nothing behaviors and beliefs.

It was frenzied and small and crazy-making.

The story of liberated eating, so different from dieting, allows us to choose from an authentic place, eat from a connected place, and live from a peaceful place – which works together to allow a different kind of future to unfold…the one we’ve wanted all along.

So, yes Friend, no matter how crazy you may feel right now, your food-story can indeed have a happy ending.

*to learn more about this journey check out my book, The Liberated Eater, or email me at cindy@theliberatedeater.com.

The Story I Just Can’t Forget

sunsetA friend told me a story recently I can’t get off my mind.

A missionary was living in a small African village. She asked her friends and their chief if they would introduce her to the people who lived in a nearby village. Early one morning they began their trek. She was excited to meet new people and was eager to get there. They walked awhile, then found some shade and sat down, she assumed, to catch their breath. After more walking they sat down again – they chatted, sat peacefully, then walked some more. In time they sat again. This happened several times and she was getting more and more antsy each time they stopped.

Finally she got up enough nerve to ask someone why they were stopping so often and he said,
“So our spirits can catch up with our bodies.”

Wow – what mind-jarring, life-recalibrating, much-needed ancient wisdom.

How often do we Westerners feel we’re meeting ourselves comin’ and goin’? How often are our crazy-busy minds out in front of us – on to the next thing before the last one is done?

These wise villagers knew well what our western research is spending lots of money and time to discover:

We humans are in need of quiet – of down time. (click on blue for more)

Our brains are not built for a constant flow of information.

We now see more information in one day than our ancestors processed in a lifetime…

Our minds, bodies and even our eyes suffer from the overload.

As a mindful eating coach I spend my days helping people slow down and re-connect with their bodies, to re-remember how to stop and experience the joy of eating and moving again.

The simple practice of chosen-mindfulness changes us.

We begin to awaken – to feel more fully and deeply alive.

And not just at the table.

This is something all of us can do – and – no one can do it for us. Each of us must accept the responsibility for the stewardship of our own mind and soul. In our distracting world, peace will need to be intentionally cultivated – it’s not a given.

You are the only one who can make the space and time to sit in quiet contemplation.

What are you doing right now to relax, to allow your spirit to catch up with your body each day?

Here are a few ideas…you will find your own:

  • Quietly read, pray, meditate
  • Play, stroll, exercise, stretch, yoga, walk, etc.
  • Art – draw, paint, color, finger paint, etc.
  • Music – listen or make your own
  • Play with children, ride a bike, swing…
  • Enjoy your pets, a garden, a hammock…
  • Deep breathing, biofeedback, massage, muscle relaxation

There are so many ways to feel anchored peacefully in yourself again. Find your way.

Especially in the 21st century, unless you move to a village with no wifi, you will need to be fierce for your own peace, for finding your way of allowing your spirit to catch up with your body each beautiful day.

From Food-Focused to Life-Focused!

babyBabies are very intuitive creatures. They sleep when they’re sleepy. They poop when they’re poopy. They eat when they’re hungry. They stop when they’re satisfied. Babies are very intuitive because no one has had time to convince them to over-think things yet. They do what comes naturally.

Eating intuitively causes them to flourish. Because they’re prompted by their body’s messages, they have plenty of energy and time for the important things – like non-stop discovery. Babies are life-focused!

We were born eating in this relaxed way too — and we can live that way again. This way of living is freeing. Once you get used to it you’ll wonder how you ever lived any other way.

Think about this: what are you focused on when you’re dieting? Food. What are you focused on when you’re overeating? Food. But, when you’re eating intuitively you are free . . . free to focus on life – on  peopling, playing, creating, exploring, thinking, and doing that thing you’ve always wanted to do.

This is way more fun than thinking about your next snack.

Liberated eaters are free to get on with living because we’re learning to trust our bodies to tell us when to eat. It’s like having a trustworthy alarm clock. You can relax and sleep, trusting it will tell you when to get up.

So, how might this change happen?

  • By daring to relax and trust yourself
  • By adopting a set of core principles that work
  • By rediscovering the intuition you were born with
  • By reclaiming your autonomy
  • By embracing full responsibility for your own health
  • By mastering proven tools that can get you through tough eating situations with confidence
  • By accepting and making peace with your Immovables
  • By designing your own personal blueprint for eating – one that fits you
  • By finding the support you need and staying connected with it as long as its needed

If you’d like to explore this in more detail, take a look at TLE Workshop. The 12 chapters will guide you gently, yet solidly, out of the old food-focused diet mentality into a lifelong journey of freedom.

Yea Baby! Let the adventure begin…

Dieting vs. Liberated Eating : A Comparison & A Parable

Tortoise and hareDieting is a tough competitor because it promises quick weight loss and dramatic results. There are few things we like better than quick and dramatic!

Diets also give us extreme steps to follow which can feel exciting (for a while at least) like hyper-strict eating rules, the latest detox, fat-eating pills, metabolism-boosting shots, special combination of foods, etc. It feels like we’re doing something serious and productive about this “problem”… after all, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Liberated eating, on the other hand, promises no such things. In fact, mindful, intuitive eating promises slow weight release (so it will last), moderate measures (so they will last), and no special diet foods (so we can last).

Now I admit, this comparison makes dieting look a lot more exciting, kind of like comparing the flashy hare with the boring tortoise, but let’s take a big step back and look at the long view…

If a solid lifetime solution piques your interest, here are a few more comparisons to consider:

  • Diets focus on what you eat.
    Liberated eating focuses on how and why you eat.
  • Dieting is based on will power (which inevitably wears down).
    Liberated eating is based on trust between you and the inner wisdom you were born with.
  • Dieting depends on obeying rules that press from the outside in, overriding your personal autonomy (a powerful basic human need).
    Liberated eating focuses on authentic lifestyle change from the inside out, honoring your personal autonomy.
  • Diets are “one size fits all.”
    Liberated eating is about discovering what fits you.
  • Dieting focuses on weight loss.
    Liberated eating focuses on vibrant health, with a comfortable weight thrown in.
  • Dieting focuses on quantity of food.
    Liberated eating focuses on quality of food.
  • Dieting is rigid and restrictive…very difficult to take on vacation.
    Liberated eating is livable and flexible and can go anywhere with you.
  • Dieting turns food into a dreaded enemy.
    Liberated eating reveals food as a good gift.
  • Dieting makes you feel crazy around food.
    Liberated eating brings deep peace and gratitude.

In short, comparing liberated eating to dieting is like comparing the tortoise with the hare.

Just remember who won the race.

2 Powerful Mindset Shifts That Squelch Overeating

pleasure imageI don’t know about you, but I dieted more years than I like to admit. Those of us who did now know that dieting backfired in many ways. The compulsion to overeat (especially “forbidden” sweet treats and comfort food) and the tendency to eat quickly are two of the lingering consequences.

Click here for 7 reasons dieting never worked.

The good news is that we can undo this damage and regain our sanity, our peace and a comfortable weight. Let’s look at two powerful mindset shifts. People who never dieted know these things intuitively…

1. More food does not equal more pleasure.
Instead, more experience equals more pleasure.

Pleasure and overeating are not the same thing. This may seem like a no-duh to those who’ve never dieted but for those of us who have – we have to stop and chew on this a while…pardon the pun.

True eating-pleasure comes from slowing down and connecting with our eating experiences: eating food you enjoy, taking time to fully taste, smell, chew, and feel the deep satisfaction of being truly nourished.

One of the best ways to glean real pleasure from food is to wait to eat until you’re physically hungry.

2. Wait on physical hunger before you eat.
Food really hits the spot when you’re hungry, because there’s actually a spot to hit.

We can’t experience the good gift of pleasure if we’re eating on auto-pilot, gobbling our meal while driving to the next thing, taking big bites and swallowing after a few cursory chews. These mind-numbing habits set us up to eat right past “full”.

I know MINDFULNESS can seem like a wimpy little word – but it’s powerful indeed. As we begin to wait on true hunger before we eat and focus on getting full pleasure from our eating experiences, we naturally eat less. And of course that means we end up weighing less too.