When Valentine’s Day hit this past week, how did you respond? Do you have any thoughts or opinions about the day? Does it bring up food fears and issues for you with the chocolates and desserts? Many of the people I am working with, as a therapist who works with food and body concerns, are trying to make peace with food. All of our holidays and celebrations seem to have food involved. Checking in with your body….being in tune with your body….listening and trusting your body….this is one of the major keys to feeling at peace around food, and it is also key to showing some love and respect to the body. Take this opportunity, a couple days after Valentine’s, to check in.
First, take a few minutes to get into a calm environment and take two or three deep, slow breaths, and ask yourself these questions. Maybe even journal your answers.
- Did I feel my inner voice criticize all the sweets and treats around me? How can I answer that voice?
- Did I feel my inner voice criticize what I chose to eat? What would I tell a dear friend struggling with this?
- Was I harsh or mean about my body in response to eating anything? If yes, how does that feel?
- Did I tell myself that all foods are allowed? ALL FOODS?
- Did I eat something I wanted to and enjoy it? If so, what was that like?
- Were there other things going on around the holiday that might be creating an inner critic voice, instead of the food? Does the holiday remind me of my relationship (or lack thereof)? Were there feelings coming up? What were those feelings?
- What do I need right now?
- Is there something I need to make peace with? (Be specific)
Checking in with our bodies is a good practice. Our bodies want to communicate with us. Our bodies are trying to communicate with us….through thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. It may seem so foreign to notice what’s going on, but taking a few minutes to breath deeply, in a calm environment and talk to our body and listen to the answers is such a huge value. These questions are just a few things to see how your body responds. Ask anything you would like, gently. Notice your body’s response. And bonus points for journaling any of the process.
If food and body image are things you struggle with, this practice can begin to open up something for you, where you will see that is isn’t about the food….or the body. If this is new for you, what I am saying may seem like a foreign language. But I promise you, there is something else underneath the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors directed toward the food and body. Discovering those is the journey. If you have a deep struggle with this, you would likely benefit from getting a professional (or a team of professionals) to help sort things out. There is no shame in getting counseling. I believe healthy people have therapists. Who is yours?
Celeste Smith says
I always love your questions and insight!!
Jamie English, LCSW says
Thanks Celeste! I appreciate your support 🙂