Part 03: Food as a Gift (Are you treating it as one?)
You think you know what food is, but do you know what it means to your body? Spoiler: Its job is not to change your body. Learn the real role and how to use food as a gift to your body.
Did you miss the first two lessons and action items? Check them out below.
You are so much closer than you know.
I don't know where you stand in your health journey or in freeing yourself from the confines of food. But no matter where that is, I need you to hear me say this: You're not that far away from freedom.
When I was in the thick of my own health crisis, these were the words that changed my diagnosis from a life sentence to a temporary chapter in my journey.
I don't know that I fully believed it when I started speaking these words over my life, but on some level, I trusted it was true. In the process, these words become a lifeline to stay in it. To live consistently and to show up daily.
While I know my body did the healing, I can't deny this simple shift in my perspective played a part. A perspective that has changed my relationship with my body, food, and everything about health.
As you learned in the previous lessons, a simple perspective shift can make a world of difference in your health. It changes how your body responds, which is the most essential element in determining the outcome you experience.
That's why today I want to help shift your perspective about food. I want to liberate you from its confines in your life and get back to its intended design.
I want you to understand food for what it is meant to be, not what you have made it to be.
That begins by understanding food is good.
I'll repeat that because we don't often hear it, let alone grasp it in a world that has placed such a strong moral code on what you eat. Leaving you believing food is the problem when it's not. Just because you've used it as a scapegoat does not mean it is the problem. It's generally just a distraction from the problem.
The truth is, food is good, and it's vital to your survival.
It plays two major roles in your life that must be understood to create food freedom.
In this lesson, we will talk about the nourishment aspect of food. In the final lesson, we'll dive into food's role in connections. They're both interconnected, but to better understand them, I will separate them. Not to confuse you but to help you see food for more than what it does to your body but how it can help support your life.
That support happens through the intersection of nourishment and connection.
Let's get started with nourishment.
Food As Nourishment
Nourishment includes the vital nutrients necessary to thrive. That consists of everything from proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, energy, and even carbohydrates. All of them, and more, are needed to help support the body.
Of course, we all understand this. We know we need to eat healthy.
The problem isn't always knowing. It's doing. But you don't do it because you don't fully grasp the potential of nourishment. You've never experienced it, making it hard to understand.
That's why I want you to know and experience the power that happens when you nourish yourself at the cellular level.
Nourishment is the difference between forever struggling with life and thriving within it.
A lack of nourishment could be why you binge or feel pulled to deprive or whether you let your emotions get the best of you, leading you to eat another whole bag of chips. It's not perfect, nor is it the sole reason you do these things, but it impacts them profoundly.
That's because nourishment determines the strength of your structure and what you're capable of withstanding. It also indicates where you'll give in.
The intended design for nourishment is not to keep (or make) you thin but to make you strong, powerful, and capable of thriving through all seasons of life.
That's why change requires nourishment.
To get to the nitty gritty, nourishment contains the building blocks that build your body's strong, resilient, and thriving structure. This structure provides stability inside your cells to produce a shell of regulation.
Through this, you become more regulated, not just physically but emotionally, as your biology works hand in hand with your mind and soul.
It might not seem profound, but internal cellular strength makes it easier to walk by your coworkers' desks without picking through their candy. It will also make it easier not to need that pint of Ben and Jerry's after a hard day.
That's because nourishment helps maintain a sense of balance no matter how much life pulls you out of balance through creating safety in your inner biology. Because of this, nourishment becomes one of your best regulators.
Nourishment is one of your best regulators.
But when nourishment fails or falters, so does your structure.
That can look like muscle turning to fat. Healthy cells become sick, and an overall decline not only in how you look but in how you function. It leaves you stuck in survival, taking action based on your immediate situation, fighting life all because you don't have the resources to see the bigger picture.
A lack of nourishment weakens the body and opens the door to threats that aren’t really threats at all.
Think of nourishment like the sun and dysregulation as a shadow.
When the sun is at high noon, what I consider balance, you can stand in it without any shadows. That's because the light surrounds you. The same is true inside your biology. When nourished and balanced, you become protected from being consumed by the shadows.
But the more that nourishment falls (in any category), the larger the shadows become, following you everywhere. In some cases, the shadows can become larger than you. That could look like becoming easily overwhelmed by your emotions, others, your health, or life itself, leaving you with no other option but to use the easiest thing you can to help you become regulated.
For you, that might mean binging and purging. Or maybe you attempt to take control by jumping on another strict diet. There are many ways you use food or your diet, but most of them are to help regulate what has become dysregulated.
Unfortunately, the less nourishment you have, the easier it is to become dysregulated.
I know this can be really hard to see, especially when the shadows are looming over you. Perhaps you can't even see the sun at all. But that doesn't mean it's not there. It's always possible to re-nourish your body because that's how it was intended.
Just as the sun rises daily, your body can be nourished back to health. But this requires you to trust it even when you don't see it. Sometimes, you have to nourish your body without an expectation because you know it's the right thing to do.
Trusting that the more nourished you are, the smaller the shadows (your problems, vulnerabilities, and fears) become. And through this, it changes your 'need.'
Shift Your Perspective of Food
As surprising as it may seem, this may be one of the hardest lessons of all. It forces you to confront all of the mistruths you've believed. Plus, it relies on the previous two lessons- the ones that are too easy to skip.
Unfortunately, the typical approach to health has been to jump all in with food. But when you don't understand food, you tend to abuse it. Eating at the wrong times, for the wrong reasons, and with the wrong mindset leaving your body to respond in more unhealthy ways. In the end, this reinforces the idea that food is the problem.
That's why you must shift your perspective of food.
You can't believe food is the villain and expect it to be used as a gift.
What you believe and your perspective will always change what your body does with what you provide.
First, you have to change your perspective. Then, eat for nourishment and protection, not quick regulation. To consume the vital nutrients needed to build the armor of protection that can withstand all the uncertainties of life.
Eating is about supporting your body.
A process of collecting the building blocks to thrive.
It's the same need we have with breathing, falling and staying asleep, or getting a hit of sunlight and fresh air. They all work to provide your body with the basic building blocks to support your cells, creating the energy to help you get out and live.
To make that practical, eating for nourishment means eating foods with the highest nutrient value, grown from the earth with the least amount of processing.
Eat clean. And do so with a healthy perspective.
In the upcoming podcast series, Health School, we'll discuss how to build healthy internal cellular structures and what foods help support this. Stay tuned, as that kicks off next week.
For now, I want to encourage you not to see food as good or bad but based on how it helps support you. That doesn't mean you won't eat foods void of nutrients, but I hope you'll aim to eat more foods your body needs. You'll eat to fill your body with the nourishment it needs to feel safe and, in the process, move you into a thriving state.
Of course, this is all easier when you combine a reward with eating well. Stay tuned for the final lesson, where I will explain why food is needed for connection and how connection creates the ultimate satisfaction you seek from food.
Remember, food is a gift to your body. How can you consume food today so that it becomes one of your best gifts?