Part 03 Action: Fall Out Of Love With Food
I'm challenging you to fall out of love with food because it really can't give you what you want it to. You can love food without loving food. Learn how inside.
Did you miss the first two lessons and action items? Check them out below.
I love food.
Making this lesson feel somewhat hypocritical on the outside.
But I find the need as we round out this mini-series on Food Freedom to clarify the difference between loving food and loving food.
You can't see it yet, but the two are very different. Your connection to food influences how and why you eat and, more importantly, what your body does with it.
As you've learned, the most important factor of health is understanding what your body does with what you provide.
It's not up to you to decide how your body will change.
That role is solely devoted to your biology. But you can support your body and, in the process, influence how it changes, which hopefully, in its own way, creates a sense of food freedom.
Understanding food is more than what you consume. It is the connection that food has in and surrounding your life. And that connection changes you because it changes your biology.
We've already discussed that food matters, as does your perception of food. But I also need you to know that food offers more than nourishment. It provides the ability to connect more deeply with others.
Food wasn't only intended for nourishment.
It was made for connection, becoming a bridge that brings people together in celebrations, grief, and the everyday mundane.
The fact is that eating with others completely changes your biology. Studies suggest your well-being is determined by your connections.
Yet, this information explains why so many people live confined by food. Not because food is the problem but because you've failed to find what you are looking for in others. So, instead, you turn to food.
This is really important to understand.
Your external relationships with others and God are changing and shaping your relationship with food.
Arguably, it could be the very reason you have so many food issues to begin with. Not because you wanted them, but it's what you had to do to survive.
Every human has a deep need to be seen, known, and loved. This need is born out of our dependence. Humans were not created to be alone; we are all interconnected and, more importantly, connected to God.
Yet, in our brokenness, this has become messy. It's become more difficult not only to feel loved but also to give love. Giving way to the reasons we've developed such a love for substances like food.
Not because you chose it but to fill a void that had developed from the brokenness of relationships.
Take my client Roxanne, for instance.
Roxanne (I've changed her name for her protection) bounded into my office looking for what everyone had always wanted - a quick fix to their weight problems that could be solved within the typical 30-60 day time window.
Roxanne gave me 60 days. The exact amount of time before they set off on their anniversary cruise.
After getting to know Roxanne, I decided to fulfill her request. Not because I thought it would work. I knew most people never followed what I created. But at the time, I hadn't figured out that most people's weight problems didn't have to do with what they were eating but with the relationship they'd built around food, health, and even themselves.
That's why I gave Roxanne what she wanted, at least at first.
But things quickly got more interesting.
As Roxanne came barreling back into my office, she started spewing why she couldn't follow the plan even before she had time to sit down.
Everyone made the same promise. They believed things could actually be different. But I knew they never were. The same patterns existed with a hundred other clients, and my morals were starting to get the best of me. I had to try something different.
I decided to push Roxanne in a different direction.
As we talked, I challenged her to stop worrying about what she ate and start paying attention to where she ate it. From her intake, I had gathered that Roxanne struggled to sit down to eat, even when her friends invited her out.
There was something there. I just couldn't see it. What I thought was an easy request (much more straightforward than attempting to change what she ate) gave way to the reasons she had never been able to change.
Sitting at the kitchen table struck a nerve in Roxanne. Immediately, her usual 'full-of-life demeanor' vanished. She told me she couldn't do that.
I challenged her, not knowing the extent of the trauma she had experienced and why what I perceived as such a simple request felt impossible to her.
We didn't unearth it right away. It took time, and there are many layers I won't get into here. But eventually, I learned that the kitchen table held some of Roxanne's deepest pains.
As a child, the dinner table was where her dad would have fits of drunken rage. Some nights, he took it out on her mom. Other times, it was her sister and her. But most nights, she turned to food, finding love and safety in the stash she hid under her bed.
Yet, if we're not careful, we'll mistake the problem as the scapegoat we use to cover up the problem.
Food was never Roxanne's problem. It's what she learned to use to survive the problem.
And in the process, food became a source of love for her.
While it is possible to experience love from substances, it's never the type of love you long for. It's not the intended design, but it is addictive. You long for love so deeply that you'll do nearly anything to feel it, no matter how unhealthy it may be.
That's why a meal plan was never going to work for Roxanne. Roxanne didn't eat to nourish her body. She ate to nurture herself in the places no one else had.
She was eating for love, belonging, safety, and peace, no matter how fleeting and temporary. Roxanne was eating emotionally.
Of course, the act of eating is emotional. Humans are emotional, making everything in our lives emotional. But food is not. The only reason it feels that way is because you've given it the ability to shift your feelings.
In some cases, food was the only thing there for you.
It was the only comfort you could find.
It was what helped you settle down at night.
It was what kept you alive.
In the process, you've created a relationship with food that appears like love, but it comes out in obsessive, controlling, and addictive ways. Or what is considered the near-enemy to love that is actually a form of co-dependence, attachment, and control.
No one binges on food, cleans up a pint of Ben and Jerry's, purges everything they ate, or weighs themselves incessantly because they want to beat their body up. It's what they've had to do to experience a shred of what they needed, not knowing it's actually doing the opposite of love.
This way of living has created a level of toxic love, giving you just enough of the feeling to keep you coming back but never leaving you satisfied.
If you live here, things will never change until you recognize that food cannot change you emotionally. It can't fix you in the way you think. But it can help you.
It can help you process the pains and hurts, and it can certainly help you heal relationships with other people.
Even spiritually, God used food to connect us with Him. Jesus used bread and wine as a symbol of remembrance for what He did on the cross for us. Food can be a reminder of love, a symbol, but it is not love.
Another example is the pan of brownies your best friend dropped off. The brownies themselves are not love. They were made from love. Love came from the action, the thought, not the food. The more you acknowledge where love is, the less you'll need to look for love at the bottom of the pan.
This conversation is deep. It feels messy and complicated, but only because we've allowed things that aren't love to be attached to it.
I want to help you see that food isn't love.
The only love related to food is the act of eating. It's the act of eating with other people. It's the act of love that goes into cooking for someone else and, more specifically, for you. It's the act of nourishing your body.
The more you nourish your body, the more you heal the relationship with your body, proving just how important the intersection of nourishment and connection is to your health.
Food is nourishment. Not love.
But the act of eating can help you foster a more intimate connection with yourself, God, and other people.
As we round out this series, I want to challenge you to understand where you find your love. If your sense of self is coming from food, binging, restricting, starving, or body issues, your problems with food will never cease to exist. They always will be because you've believed food is more powerful than it actually is.
But it doesn't have to stay this way. You can change your relationship with food by seeing it as nourishment, not nurturing. Learning to eat food to nourish your body and, from that, fuel yourself to connect with others. To find love in the places where love actually exists.
The goal is not to love food but to love nourishing yourself with food.
Here, you'll gain the energy, resiliency, and strength to get out and live.
That is always and only the intended place of food.
It's time to fall out of love with food and fall in love with nourishing your body- eating healthy food, enjoying it, and doing it in good company.
Things change here.
I know that won't happen overnight. You might even find yourself in the depths of another bag of chips or stuck in the diet cycle, hoping to get yourself out of what you are feeling.
Be gentle with yourself. Have grace.
Remind yourself that food can't help you, and then turn to what can.
Food freedom is grace and redirection that you consistently engage with. Over time, you'll find that things really can change!
If nothing else, keep going back through these lessons. Reinforcing a new belief and story that changes how you live.
In the coming months, we're diving into a new podcast series called Health School. Here, I will teach you more about your body and what it needs, reframing health to see your body as good. As for you. And doing nothing without reason.
Stay tuned as that kicks off next week.
In the meantime, I would love to know what stood out the most inside this mini-course. What is the best encouragement you found?
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