Relax–It’s Just a Meal

Have you ever thought about who you are as an eater? We all eat every day—there’s not much of a way to get around it. What is that like for you? Do you savor the time or stress about it? Are you relaxed or do you gulp? Are you happy to be eating or wishing somehow you didn’t have to?

Back in my days of relentless dieting, losing and gaining weight in cycles, food was a constant stress to me. I love to cook, and to eat good food. But I used to have tremendous guilt and loathing about it. My main dietary belief at the time, one of the many diet strategies we are fed in our culture, is that fat makes you fat. Of course the reality is we need healthy fat in our diet—it is essential. To me fat was the enemy, but also something that I craved. I would look at a lovely, nutrition packed salad and see fat—fat in the dressing, and perhaps the little bit of nuts and cheese that might be on there as well. I would instead eat some processed food product because I knew how few grams of fat and calories (or points if I happened to be doing weight watchers) it contained. It didn’t matter that it tasted gross—I got used to the tastes and convinced myself that I liked them. It didn’t matter that it didn’t fill me or meet any nutritional requirements. All that mattered to me was that it did not contain much of my nemesis—fat.

As you can imagine, this style of eating I had was not relaxed. Even though I have never been a fast eater, my eating was laced with guilt if I went outside of the “acceptable fat parameters”. I would also adopt the last supper mentality—I shouldn’t be eating this now and I better not eat it again for a very long time, so I might as well eat too much of it. With this combination, what was the case at the end of the meal? I was stuffed with guilt. Not only is that a shitty feeling, it also inhibits our digestion and metabolism, hence our ability to assimilate nutrients. It’s a lose, lose situation.

I’m sure I have said this before, and I will say it again. One of the best things I have done in my life is to make peace with food. I worked through my false dietary beliefs that kept me in a prison of angst. And then through adding in the fresh vegetable juice I have been able to get my nutrition and digestion back on track so my body can communicate to me what it wants/needs to eat. I know it is telling me the real deal because I don’t have it loaded up with processed foods that trigger cravings for more of the same. I can trust my body and its wisdom.

The best thing about all of this—I can enjoy a relaxed meal with friends or family. I can taste, savor and share food with others and delight in that time. I can finish the meal and not be stuffed or regretful. I can finish the meal and feel truly nourished by the food and the company. Especially coming into a stressful holiday season that can bring up lots of stuff food related and otherwise, that nourished feeling is my wish for all of you.

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