Food Is More Than Just Fuel for the Body

Food Is More Than Just Fuel for the Body

Food is more than just fuel for our bodies. It’s an essential ingredient in the recipe of a meaningful and enriched human experience. Beyond its nutritional value, food plays a major role in our ability to connect, explore, and find comfort. 

Throughout our lives, we as humans experience a variety of emotions. Whether they are comfortable emotions such as feeling powerful, inspired, happy, or heavier emotions such as feeling insecure, overwhelmed, or disappointed, food can be a powerful way to find connection throughout it all. 

I want you to think about the happiest day of your life. Was it a celebration of a personal achievement? A wedding day? A notable day exploring a new city? How did you celebrate? While answering these questions, it is very likely that food was a memorable part of your experience. Whether it is because of the emotional connection, sensory experience, or cultural significance, food is a major aspect of a holistic approach to our daily lives. 

During times of hardship, it’s also common for food to be served as a way to find connection during burdensome times. Funerals, job loss, breakups, and hard days are all examples of moments where food is used as a token of encouragement, love, and unity. We use food as a way to honor, support, celebrate, and empathize with others during all phases of life.

If we limit our food intake, what are we actually limiting when looking at the bigger picture? Our ability to adventure, show up for others, find community, and regulate the large scale of human emotions. Food elevates the human experience. By limiting food, we put limits on our ability to live freely. 

I challenge you to think about how you can use food as a tool to enrich your human experience. 

A Letter to My Body

A Letter to My Body

Throughout the past year, my body has carried me through many life-changing experiences. She has carried me through grief, joy, connection, and has provided me the opportunity to grow in ways that I previously doubted possible. 

As I reflect on the ways that my body has shown up for me throughout it all, I am filled with comfort knowing that I can count on her to continue putting one foot in front of the other even when things feel unpredictable and vulnerable.  

The postpartum experience has given me the opportunity to find compassion for my body in ways that I had previously yet to experience. Writing a letter to my body allows me to process these physical changes while identifying both positive and neutral experiences within the adjustments. 

A letter to my postpartum body:

Thank you for showing up for me with a lens of connection and love as I navigate changing roles and challenge fears related to the unknown. 

Thank you to my soft belly for safely housing my babies and then providing a safe place for them to cuddle. 

My tired yet strong arms for holding and caring for the two of them even on days that I didn’t think I was capable. 

My powerful legs that supported me in moving forward through the hardships, grief, and joy. 

My weary eyes that fought to stay awake throughout the many sleepless nights.

My lips for the countless kisses, asks for support, and I love yous said. 

My mind for enduring all of the changes that have occurred, physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

I am proud of you. Thank you for walking through these changes with hopefulness. Your adaptability brings me comfort and peace. 

I challenge you to engage in this exercise and allow neutrality to become a part of your life experiences, too. 

How to Stop Obsessing Over Your Physical Appearance

How to Stop Obsessing Over Your Physical Appearance

As I reflect on past years and growing up with unrealistic expectations regarding my body, I have realized how much time we as women often spend thinking about our physical appearance. Thinking about what we could change, how to be “prettier,” or how to be valued by a society that objectifies our bodies on an extreme level. Many of us allow our physical appearance to impact our worth, both positively and negatively. We are consumed with being only a body to be viewed rather than holistic individuals worthy of love and success without having to meet unrealistic beauty standards to do so.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How often do I allow my energy to be focused on how others perceive me? 
  • How much energy am I putting into my physical appearance or allowing that to take from other aspects in my life? 
  • How often do I conform to societal expectations so that I can be more physically pleasing to others?

If we could let go of this recurring, unrealistic pattern, what would we spend our time doing instead? Who would we be able to connect with, serve, or inspire? Where would we travel, learn, and grow? What if we could allow ourselves to be as we are, without expectations of physical change what-so-ever? 

One of my favorite ways to challenge unrealistic expectations regarding my physical appearance is to identify a list of things that I am drawn to about my friends and family. Do I spend time with these individuals because of their clothing size, hair color, or height? Absolutely not. I spend time with my circle of people because of their values, sense of humor, our ability to connect, etc. With this in mind, it becomes clear how redundant focusing on my own physical appearance is, when it is such an afterthought to anybody who truly loves me unconditionally.

If you are constantly aware of your own physical appearance, I challenge you to identify what characteristics you are drawn to when connecting with others. Reflect on the difference between what you assume others value, such as physical appearance, vs. what they actually value. Regardless of where you are with your relationship with your body, we have all been in the position to fall victim of this mindset. As we move towards living a life that is focused less on physical appearance and more on the qualities that we value within our relationships, the quality of our lives and our relationships will dramatically improve.

Eating Recovery: Learning About Grief

Eating Recovery: Learning About Grief

Have you ever heard of the term disenfranchised grief? Disenfranchised grief is the act of grieving something that is not socially acceptable. This applies to the loss of relationships, jobs, dreams, or even an idea. The quote, “It’s okay to grieve the life that you thought you would live,” stands out to me as I have worked with many individuals who grieve aspects of their life before eating concerns were present. Grief symptoms can be heavy, surprising, and potentially isolating at times. However, knowing the grief process can bring awareness and normalcy through the course. 

The Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle consists of five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Although many people experience all five stages as they process through their grief, there is no specific route to take in effort to grieve the “right” way. I often refer to the grief process as a rollercoaster ride, full of sharp turns, unexpected loops, and seemingly ongoing without end. With awareness of how disenfranchised grief can impact recovery, we can choose to honor the process, and disempower the symptoms that continually show up. 

As you navigate recovery, you may grieve life before feeling as if your relationships revolved around recovery needs, how it felt to connect with friends when food was present, the ability to engage in meals without feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, or what it felt like to be comfortable in your body without always identifying ways that you wish it could be altered. It is essential to allow yourself time and space to grieve and seek support from family, friends, or a therapist. Over time, as you come to terms with the changes, you can begin to adapt to your new circumstances and find meaning and purpose in your current life. 

Expecting and Accepting Body Change

Expecting and Accepting Body Change

Throughout our lives, our bodies are meant to change and adapt. Body changes are a natural and inevitable part of life, but can be distressing when they transpire. It’s common to experience a range of emotions when you notice changes in your appearance, whether they are stigmatized as positive, neutral, or negative. These emotions may be based on societal standards, fears of the unknown, feeling out of control, attachment to familiarity, and/or comparison. And although body changes are expected, the emotions attached may be abrupt. 

My body has gone through many changes in the past few months being pregnant with twins. And although I am so grateful for the experience to grow my babies, I have been surprised at the comments made by others as they notice my changing body. There have been so many individuals who have made unhelpful comments regarding the size of my growing belly. Some say, “Wow, your belly is huge!” and others comment, “Your belly doesn’t look big enough to be growing two babies”. Comments of varying opinions have made me question my body’s ability to adjust “appropriately” without understanding what an appropriate adjustment would even look like.

Throughout this experience, I have learned that all I can do is trust that my body will adjust exactly how she needs to, unrelated to any other bodies or expectations others have set for me. 

Trusting my body requires me to let go of expectations set by cultural norms, media representation, my upbringing, or personal fears. My body is worthy of change, and I have made the choice to accept her exactly as she is through all of the unknown and changes that will continue to occur. My hope is that you, too, will find trust and acceptance of your body exactly as you are now.