Post On: January 2, 2020
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Hey friends, I'm really excited about this month's topic, but before we dive in, I just want you to consider that you are only ever five steps away from a sustainable solution for any life situation when you approach it using the principles of a gap year mindset. And it's my hope that you'll come and visit us at thegapyeargirls.com to learn more!
So, now with that wonderful sponsor info out of the way…
I'm your host Celeste, and you are listening to Episode #6, Your Relationship to Food.
It is going to be so fun to explore such a juicy topic with you all today. After contemplation and research for the ways we are going to dive deeper into these concepts in our membership site for The Gap Year Girls, I really want to share with you some of my own personal insights from spending several years applying our core principles to completely transform my own relationship with food. I was actually drawn to the whole world of personal development in the first place because of my desire to become more self-empowered around food since it used to be an area of my life that I really struggled with. Now that I have become a certified health and life coach, and done the inner work on this myself, I want to spend this podcast highlighting some alternative perspectives that are available for us when it comes to food, to help you see more clearly how much choice, and therefore power, you really have to create change.
Sound good? Awesome. Let's dive in.
Food is fuel; there are causes and effects on your body. Do your research. Trust your personal experiences.
What's best diet for me?
When you begin to start observing yourself and your relationship to food, one of the first aspects that you might notice yourself stressing or suffering over is simply deciding what the best thing to eat is at any given point in time. If you are someone who is always looking outside of yourself to try and find out what you should or shouldn't be eating, you are likely going to end up really confused, real quick. There is SO much information on the internet about food, and with everything that has been published, so much of it appears to contradict each other, making it hard to distinguish the truth. It can be a real head spin if you don't have the tools to stay empowered in pursuit of finding answers and clarity to things that seem presently unknown to you. But that's why you're here, and I'm so glad you are.
It's a bit silly don't you think, that humans seem to be the only creatures on the planet that have THIS much of a struggle and debate over what the best kind of food [fuel] is to run the machine of our body efficiently and effectively. I mean, does a dog stare at its dog bowl and second, guess his instincts? Does a panda bear out in the forest spend its time looking for books to validate his hunch that he would thrive by eating bamboo? Of Course not. But humans do! So many of us are so disconnected from ourselves without an opinion of our own, so we allow other people's opinions to weigh heavily on our minds when it comes to making a decision about what to eat ...and frankly, it's exhausting. At least it was for me. What does my doctor say I 'should' eat? What does that heath vlogger making 'what I eat in a day' videos say I 'should' eat? What does my mom say I 'should' eat? What does that new diet promotor say I 'should eat? What does that celebrity say? ...Who cares!
The only question that really matters is what do YOU think you should eat based on you paying attention to your own body. Because here's the thing, if you are a person caught up in a web of confusion right now: let's get you back to ground zero. Before making any big changes, first, learn to look at food with a neutral perspective. Food is simply FUEL. What I mean by that is, when you peel away all the emotional human stories, you can attach to food, whether you've labeled something like an evil temptation, or a coveted family tradition, at its core, food is simply fuel that causes different chemical reactions to take place in our body whenever it's consumed. Sometimes the result of those reactions is something that serves us; other times, it is not. But either way, the process itself is neutral, and it is only your thoughts about it that start labeling food into categories like 'good' and 'bad.' Once those categories exist in your mind, then and only then can you start creating stories about food that might have you justify rewarding yourself emotionally for eating one thing, and punishing yourself emotionally for eating another. A toxic trap that I was certainly a victim of for a long time and have seen others do as well.
But do you see how all of those stories get built on top of a neutral chemical digestion process that by itself is neither good or bad? Is it just nature?
Having a true awareness and understanding of food as fuel outside of any story you might attach to it on top is a complete game-changer when it comes to reclaiming your personal power with food and ultimately rewriting your experience as a whole to be what you want it to be.
Neutral is what helps you move from desperate to patient.What's the best diet for me
Now, with that said, if you still feel like food is an area of your life that is full of unknowns for you, then it's important to start asking empowering questions that will help you get on track to finding your own answers. The questions you ask will be reflective of the kind of state you are in and the perspective you have.
Is your sudden interest in food because you are desperate and looking to find a quick fix solution to losing 10 pounds before your best friend's wedding next month? Or has a close loved one passed away, and you are now committed to finding genuine, credible, scientific-based research to help guide your food decision-making towards a sustainable lifestyle of holistic health and well-being?
Remember this: Diet fads thrive on selling short term solutions to desperate people. So the first thing I want to ask you is this: if you are out there feeling overwhelmed or confused about 'what' you should be eating in the first place, I want you first to take a moment and pause, and check-in with yourself to see if you are looking for a quick fix for the short term or a sustainable solution for the long term. It could be for weight loss, healing a chronic illness or your skin complexion, etc. There are lots of things that might have someone feeling desperate for change and lose their patience for the process, but I want you to remember that depending on where you are coming from, it will highly skew the kind of information you end up finding because of the way you are asking your questions.
You can use the internet to find "what is the best way to lose weight fast?" versus "what food supports human beings to live long healthy lives?" is going to take you on two completely different research journeys.
The thing is, when we become desperate, we also at the same time become super vulnerable to all of these sales schemes and diet fads promising us that their unique and proprietary system of restriction is your golden ticket to quickly attaining the result that you are appearing to be suffering without about presently. I certainly bought my fair share of meal prep containers and diet pills when I was in this state of feeling insecure and unhappy years ago.
I want you to remember that being desperate or being patient, is completely a choice, based on your own thinking about whatever situation you are currently in. Not the circumstance itself. The only reason we become desperate for quick fixes around food is that we are buying into a story about how terrible our current situation is, and imagine that our lives will become so much better 'if only' our circumstances changed.
But I've got a secret for you: the way that can you shift out of all that anguish and frustration is something so simple yet so powerful that the entire diet industry would collapse if people actually did, which is this. Accepting yourself as you are. Accept yourself as you are. If you accept yourself as you are, even with extra weight, or a health condition, or cystic acne, or flaky elbows or WHATEVER your current circumstances may be, all of the marketing from the diet industry or even the pharmaceutical industry that tries to stir up the feelings of fear and desperation for you to find a solution to 'fix' you NOW simply wouldn't phase you. Because you would know the empowering truth in your heart: that food is FUEL and that you are in no rush to find answers, and that the only thing that will truly satisfy your yearning for change, is going to be a foundation of well-researched information, genuine understanding, and direct personal experience to support your journey of discovering what works best for you to create the results you most want in the long term.
Once you are patient, you can start finding long term solutions. The life-long experiment begins.
Now that you understand the process of consuming food is inherently neutral, and that you have the power to approach your present circumstances with acceptance and patience, then you become free to view your whole transformational journey as one big personal science experiment of your own design. A life-long process of learning to listen ever more deeply to yourself, that's going to involve research, discernment, experimentation, and reflection.
When I decided to explore veganism 4 years ago, I went down the rabbit hole of researching all about other people's experiences of switching to a plant-based diet. I had to learn how to use discernment big time because I quickly realized that if someone's livelihood is dependent on selling any given food... that you can bet they will have an angle and be motivated to convince their potential customers that what they are selling you is good, and what other people are selling is bad.
Which is understandable, it's the nature of competition within a marketplace. But what isn't fine is abdicating responsibility for our HEALTH to the research studies being paid for by a food industry that is motivated by their short term profits, not your long term well being. That's their business. But your health is your responsibility. So when you do your research, follow the money! One of the all-time greatest resources I have ever found on the internet for quality, reliable, well researched, and unbiased nutrition information is on nutritionfacts.org, a nonprofit site created by Dr. Micheal Greger. I've read his book "How Not To Die," and he's got another one out there called "How Not to Diet," and watched tons of his bite-sized informative videos to educate myself on the healing power that food has to prevent, and in some cases even reverse major diseases. Everything he shares is backed up by studies that are linked directly to his videos as resources. It's fantastic. I know so many people who have been deeply ill, and after changing their diets, have healed on a deep cellular level to not only restored their previous health but, in many cases, surpassed it.
So I encourage every single person to allow their relationship with food to evolve from a place of CURIOSITY instead of judgment. Get curious, what are the health benefits of... garlic? Blueberries? Spinach? Cacao beans? Did you know that research shows turmeric can be used to help you fight inflammation in the body? Or that pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C to help strengthen your immune system and fight the common cold?
Once you have gotten yourself out of the desperation trap by practicing acceptance for where you are, and committed to directing your energy towards building a long term foundation for sustainable well being, your motivation to do your research on food starts coming from a place of genuine self-love. We WANT to be healthy, we WANT to feel our best, and when we follow our curiosity, there is a whole world we can explore when it comes to learning about how the food that comes from the earthworks in harmony with our own human bodies to replenish our energy, heal disease and restore our health.
That being said, gathering information is only half the equation in this life long journey with the food you are on. The other half is YOUR experience! Really making a conscious effort to pay attention and value the feedback you are getting from your body when it comes to consuming anything.
If research says that sugar is addictive, it is prone to give people energy peaks and crashes, and therefore should be cut out from your diet. Don't just take their word for it- try it out and see for yourself! What is YOUR experience with sugar? Without it? When it comes to the food you eat, the most important thing at the end of the day is what something feels like for you in your individual body. Some people thrive on bread. Other people are crippled by it. Some people love peanuts, other people's joints get super inflamed by them.
When you empower yourself to use research and external information as GUIDANCE for your own expanding self-awareness for how you feel within yourself, then you avoid the widespread problem of taking on other people's opinions on food as dogma and adopting them into your own psychology without having a direct personal experience to validate their research claim as truth for yourself.
Remember, this is a long term game. You have your whole life to explore and experiment with different foods and the way you feel when you consume them.
YES, there is money to be made through marketing a need for health supplements, restaurants, fast food chains, packaged food, diet pills, etc. and OF COURSE they will all have their compelling message and story to try and convince you of their value so that you will validate them with the purchases you make with your consumer dollar. But the food industry doesn't have any power over you unless you give it to them.
Remember, this isn't about anyone else here. This is about you, your unique body, how you feel, and what you know deep down to be true from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. Remember, without the labels and the stories, food is FUEL. That's it. The organic non-GMO bundles of kale they sell at Whole Foods and the buckets of fried factory-farmed meat they sell at fast-food restaurants. What matters is what your body feels like when you feed it that fuel, and what you choose to do with that feedback once you receive it.
When you slow down and pause before making decisions that center around food, the longer the pause, the more power you give yourself to connect with the deeper desire that goes beyond just the quick fix feeling in the moment. Because what do you REALLY want? We want true health, we want freedom, we want to have the ENERGY to go out in the world and BE the loving friends, sisters, daughters, students, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, musicians, executives, and women of influence in that we deeply desire to be. In every moment, you have the power to choose, given what you presently know to be true right now from your research and experience, which food fuels me in the way you desire, and which food does not. There is power in that pause because when we take full responsibility for our relationships with food, we become free to question our old patterns of thinking and behaving and make new choices that are deeply in alignment with our hearts. Overtime when we show up with this intention, we will build healthier food habits that support our long term vision of sustainable health, happiness, and freedom.
When it comes to the New Year, I want to ask you: what do you want more? Do you want to pray for the willpower to follow a restrictive diet that at best helps you achieve a surface-level goal, and at worst, might actually harm you in the process?
Or, do you want to stop putting off the deeper work of learning how to build a solid mental and emotional foundation within yourself that would ultimately set you free to become empowered and capable of feeling as good as you want to feel about anything, especially food, for the rest of your life?
Because you can, by joining us, right this moment. As a Gap Year Girl, you can sign up to take The Intentional Gap Year Workshop, where we will walk you through the 5 core principles of awareness, acceptance, alignment, action and accountability step by step, and help you put all of these ideas into practice, and integrate them on a profound level into your own personal experiences.
The choice is yours, and it would be our greatest pleasure to guide you through the process of gathering all the tools you need to create the sustainable changes you desire most.
I hope these ideas have been valuable for you, thank you so much for listening, and I look forward to reading the comments that you leave below. To learn more about taking a deep dive within yourself to gain that inner foundation of self-awareness and acceptance that I've been referring to throughout this podcast, join us in The Intentional Gap Year Workshop, and you can begin your journey today. See you there!