Our Relationship with Food: The Icing on the Cake
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
Health and wellness is such big part of my work and the Method™ that I use when assessing organizational and individual current state. I work with a variety of nutritionists, fitness instructors, and medical practitioners to create customized plans for my clients and to ensure what we generate will work for them because we are all a little bit different.
Health and wellness impact every part of our lives from our cognitive capabilities and energy levels to our physical wellbeing. Beyond the fact that it is the lynchpin to our quality of life, health and wellness is personal to me because it was the hardest phase of the Method™ for me to work through and in full disclosure I had to move through this work a handful of times before I reached my goal state. There are many components to our health and wellness work, however, the part that I struggled with was building a better relationship with food. This relationship began when I was very young and became one of control or lack of throughout my life. I knew that if I could learn to manage my relationship with food that anyone could, so I took a deep dive into the Method™ that I built to see what would happen….
“The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, and transformation,” Geneen Roth
The three components of the Health & Wellness phase are stress management, movement as medicine, and rebuilding your relationship with food + self. The work began with a healthier mind-body connection which was something that had to take place before I restructured my relationship with food. Once I had established this, I was able to move into the final phase which was my relationship with food + self. This step was the icing on the cake, no pun intended. I now had a deeper link to my body and what it needed and through consistent practice felt at peace with my ability to work through stressful thoughts by reworking my language. Now, I needed to put that all together and rebuild a connection to something that was external. Admittedly, I worked though this last piece many times before I got it right.
First, I allotted myself one cheat day a week and set the intention to be extremely healthy every other day. I love having something to look forward to and can be very disciplined when I know there is a reward awaiting me. However, it did not take much for a trigger to push me to eating an unhealthy meal mid-week, whether it be that I was tired from a long day or merely bored with the foods I had been eating. So, I tried something else, I decided that I would allow myself whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it, but with moderation and respect for my body. I did eat in moderation but many of the foods were not healthy perse and I ended up consuming significantly more calories during this period. I attempted counting calories, only purchasing healthy foods, and many other trial by fire options, nothing worked. But one of the things I have learned through this transformation process is that nothing is a failure, it is only a learning lesson. Through this I realized that there were pieces of everything that I had tried that did work so I put them together.
Here is what worked:
-Purchasing colorful foods and preparing them myself
-Sunday meal prep for the week
-Producing a playlist of my favorite songs to listen to while cooking
-A habit to only eat on the first floor of my house
-Instituting family meals 7 days a week
-Creating special moments & experiences around food
-Reading 1 health related book every 2 months
-Tracking my food throughout the day
-16 or more hours of fasting
-Expensive and extremely delicious chamomile, lavender tea as a nightcap
I made the decision to purchase organic, whole foods that made me feel joy. Grocery shopping turned into an anticipated trip, where I spent quality time picking out my foods for the week. I had never gotten into cooking and based on past attempts did not have a lot of confidence in producing a gorgeous 4 course meal, however, there were some pretty basic things I knew I could do, like roast vegetables. I made the time on Sundays to prepare vegetables for the week and learned to use different spices to create flavor; during this time, I poured a glass of wine and played Angie Stone or Erykah Badu to create an easy- flowing chill vibe. I assessed that a lot of my snacking took place in my upstairs loft area where I liked to watch movies or read magazines, so I instituted a no food policy on the second floor. That way, when I wanted to reach for an unhealthy snack on a Friday night during a movie, I had to inconveniently walk downstairs, eat in the kitchen, and pause the show. This quickly became a pain in the ass which was good because I cut out most of my snacking pretty quickly. What worked was that I had not prohibited myself from the desire, I had just made it really inconvenient, creating more disruption than delight.
Family meals created an experience with food rather than a food experience. I made a point to enjoy the meal and take my time chewing and eating while also listening and engaging in dialogue. The table is filled with delicious options from olive oil drizzled over roasted veggies to flavored quinoa and fresh fruit. One of my favorite takeaways has been the health benefits of different herbs and spices. I have had a lot of fun decorating food and adding flavor through the use of spice options that also provide an added health advantage. These meals have since replaced the last minute seamless order over Netflix or skipping dinner to only be ravenous the next day, leading to poor eating choices.
As an avid reader, I incorporated one health related book into my balance of monthly reads. This was a game changer because I began to learn about health and wellness rather than simply listening to someone else tell me what I should be doing. I have built a collection of knowledge and have an arsenal of content that allows me to advocate for myself and my body in different ways from a clearer understanding of foods that prevent disease to the specific diet I have chosen.
While some may disagree with tracking food throughout the day, this has helped me tremendously. A big piece of this work is knowing yourself and what works for you. I enjoy lists, journaling, and tracking, so taking everything I eat into account encourages me to think a little bit deeper about my food decisions. I also fast in between dinner and my first meal of the following day for at least 16 hours, this means I am usually finished with dinner by 5pm and then appreciating my breakfast smoothie around 9am. Fasting helps me manage my cravings and allows my body more time to properly digest food.
Lastly, I discovered a very pricey yet lovely tea that I enjoy so much. I have one cup a night before bed to bookend my eating patterns for the day. Many times, my sweet tooth kicks in during after dinner, so the agreement I have with myself is that I can have whatever I want after I have a cup of tea first. This usually curbs my craving and helps me to stay on track.
This plan is mine and works for me. It will probably be different for you. I encourage everyone to make time and observe what does and does not work for them; it takes a creative perspective and a willingness to learn from failure rather than punish yourself. You will be more aware when you try different practices, and you will see things that you may have not noticed in the past. When you practice awareness and full body connection you start to realize that there are triggers that are specific to you and practices that you can put in place that will work. You have to be gentle and patient with yourself because it takes time and the beauty of it is that you will create a program that is customized to your needs rather than a transient process attached to a superficial promise of change.
If you are interested in learning more, please connect with us @ OUR METHOD | The Bond Consulting Group