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  • Mel Strunk

Food: A Loaded Subject

Food. It's such a loaded word. It's deeply connected to our lives. Food is there to celebrate with us during our happiest moments, comfort us during times of loss, and symbolize a time of togetherness with those we care to share our lives with. Food is everywhere. We need it. It's unavoidable. Food is a constant.

Sadly, food has become a torture for a vast majority. A mind trap of what you're allowed to eat, how much, how little. Going out for dinner becomes a source of extreme anxiety for so many and can impact the way in which you engage with your company. Challenging rigid views about food that you've had for a long time can feel impossible. The judgements, the guilt, the not deserving, restricting, indulging; much of what the diet culture teaches us to do. It seems as though it's easy to forget that these messages are something that we can internally fight back against. Why should someone else decide what your portion should look like, which foods you choose, or that you should or shouldn't be "allowed" to eat certain food?

Food doesn't have to be the enemy. It's actually much easier and more enjoyable when you don't treat food as good or bad. Our bodies are meant for feelings of hunger and fullness. If we practice listening to these cues and honoring what they are telling you, you may find some freedom. You don't need to earn food, make up for it, or somehow try to compensate for what YOUR body is telling you that you need. It takes time, practice, and patience to unlearn some of the negativity, but it's also a great opportunity to incorporate self compassion.

Meals can connect us in ways that nothing else can. I use food in my own life to connect to my husband and my children in what I am cooking for them. I had a conversation with my mom earlier about what meals we were going to have when we're together in a few weeks and how we can get creative together in the kitchen. My dad passed away last year and every time we spoke on the phone, we would talk about what we made for dinner and share food recipes. Cooking is a way that I continue to feel connected to him even though he is no longer here.

So I guess what I'm saying is let's try and stop the negative self talk about food. Let's stop judging ourselves for something that our bodies are made to have on a daily basis multiple times a day. If we shift the focus on how food serves us, connects us, and nourishes us, it may lead to a more fulfilling life with less anxiety. I invite you to take the opportunity to be kinder to yourself and view food on how it can enrich your life and nourish your soul.

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