“Ugh, I shouldn’t have ate that.”
You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it.
And then you wonder, “Wait, should I have eaten that?”
You go out for dinner and your friend barely puts a dent in her plate, while you’re about to eat your arm off and enjoy every bite. You didn’t give it a second thought until you saw her still-half-full plate.
And then you feel guilty and begin telling yourself why you shouldn’t have eaten it all, even though you’re happily satisfied. And now you feel bad.
Or you eat that cookie without hesitation, until your friend starts talking about how she is going to workout extra hard the next day to burn off those cookie calories. And now maybe you should too.
Should you drink that second glass of wine? Why is she ordering a salad? If I finish this entire plate does that make me gluttonous…or just hungry?
Food comparison and food shaming. It’s damaging to everyone. So how to we overcome it and start to associate food with nourishment, joy, and something to share with those we love instead of something used to condemn ourselves and others?
We stop looking at food as something to control and manipulate and instead view food as a gift from God..graciously given to us so we can nourish our bodies well. Given to us so we can thrive. And given to us so we can have the energy and passion and ambition to be who we were fully created to be.
My Nutshell clients can initially find it challenging to eat more and not compare what they are eating with what others [specifically women] are eating. We live in a culture where there is a sense of pride and accomplishment associated with eating less and not giving in to your hunger. That you somehow have more willpower and self-control because you can resist the urge to give you body what it’s crying out for.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve had several women tell me that they feel a sense of guilt or shame when they are eating more than those around them and wonder how to overcome those feelings. Well, you stop associating how much or what you eat with your worth or character.
Because food is just food. It’s meant for nourishment and to be enjoyed and it has nothing to do with how self-disciplined we are, or how much willpower we have, and it certainly has nothing to do with our identity and worth.
Sometimes we might just simply be hungrier than the person we are eating with, and that’s okay. And in a culture where it’s normal to eat less and restrict more, eating three balanced meals a day with plenty of snacks is no longer necessarily mainstream. That’s a shame.
Somehow we’ve misconstrued what a “normal” amount of food is, analyzed what we should be eating, and then convinced ourselves we should only eat such and such calories. And consequently, we’ve lost sight of the real purpose and beauty of food. It’s meant for nourishment, and to give us energy and strength and vitality, and to an extent…bring us joy. It’s how we celebrate with those we love and it’s a way to bring people together.
So when you shame yourself for eating something or when you compare how much you’re eating to how much the person next to you is eating, it’s damaging to everyone involved. In reality, nobody really cares how much you eat or how thin you are or how much you can resist your hunger.
I think when we get so wrapped in up in ourselves and our body image it’s actually ourselves getting wrapped up in our own egos. And when we begin to think not less of ourselves, but of ourselves less we can fully become the person we were created to be. There is freedom in that. We can start focusing on serving others, loving people well, realizing and living out our passions and finding joy. Because ya’ll…comparison is the thief of joy.
A green smoothie + a bowl of pumpkin oatmeal with almond butter and coconut oil gets your metabolism revved and gives you energy to embrace the day.
And a nutrient dense lunch will allow you to be fully present in the moment and to think clearly.
Salad with avocado, walnuts and olive oil + crackers + apple + some brazil nuts because I was still hungry.
And lots of afternoon snacks aren’t something we should feel guilty about, but rather something we see as nourishment to get us from one meal to the next without becoming irritable or tired or distracted.
Like a banana with Justin’s HB and carrots with sunbutter and pumpkin chia pudding!
Sometimes you might be starving by dinnertime and sometimes you might not be as hungry, but eating a satiating dinner full of good-for-you and tastes-good-to-you foods will allow you to sleep soundly and get that much needed rest.
Spaghetti squash with vegan alfredo, mushrooms, broccoli, and zucchini + kale salad with avocado + spelt flat bread dipped in earth balance [obsessed with these right now, do doughy and soft!]And sometimes, or more like all the time, a nighttime snack just simply makes us happy.