Lighten Up

Isn't it something how many of us humans use eating/food as a tool to comfort us (emotionally) rather than to fuel our bodies? While we all (unless you're a breatharian) need to eat good, healthy food in order to maintain life in our bodies, we often use food for other purposes. Regardless of if we’re underweight, at our ideal weight or overweight; I find that many of us are emotionally eating.

In brief, my Weight Loss Jump Start Program is a food elimination/re-introduction and lifestyle program in which the common food intolerances and allergenic foods are eliminated from the diet and then re-introduced. When foods are eliminated even for short periods of time, the physiology becomes very sensitive when re-introduced. Sensitivities become known through this process and one becomes more aware of the right fuel sources for them. In addition, the program consists of four different organic, whole food, high quality nutritional supplements made by Standard Process® as well as a nourishing diet of vegetables, fruits, nutritious fats, brown rice, shakes and small amounts of lean animal proteins (unless one is a vegetarian). This program was developed out of a need for a cleanse that would support Phase I and Phase II liver detoxification as well as other detoxification pathways of the body. There are 20 participants in the current 21-day program. We are on Day Seven of the “cleanse” and things are moving right along (in more ways than one).

Personally, I am noticing (because I'm eating so lightly and shifting the focus that I have always had on eating) that sometimes there is this feeling of emptiness or void within my upper belly area (in my solar plexus). If I just take a moment, be with that feeling, and embrace it, I realize that it is really okay and I enjoy feeling the lightness around that area and I realize that this is really healthy to feel "light” and not heavy, bloated, or full (like many of us are so used to, even though it doesn't feel good, it is comforting in an interesting and addictive sort of way). However, if I am not conscious, the impulse to "fill" that area with food or drink arises. Do you ever have this experience or something similar?

Although I have done this purification program a handful of times in the past four years, every time I commit to this process it is such a great opportunity for me to look at and notice (where I otherwise wouldn't have taken the time to STOP and NOTICE) how often my emotions (being bored, stressed, sad, happy, anxious, anticipating something, and so forth) dictate what, when and how much (too much sometimes) I choose to put into my mouth and therefore my body temple. So, I am choosing to fill that perceived "void" or emptiness with something other than food or alcohol. I am choosing to really check in with myself when I feel "empty" because often it is not my stomach that is "empty"; it's something else trying to get my attention. If it's truly my stomach that is "empty" and I am in need of fuel then I will eat, but if it's not that, then I don't need to eat. Perhaps I need to look at where else this feeling could be coming from. This is conscious, or intuitive eating!

I invite you to notice when you want to eat: are you feeling sensations in your stomach of hunger, or is it perhaps higher up in the body---the chest (anxiety) or in the mouth (taste and feel of food)?

Dr. Barbara Birsinger says that “intuitive eaters can naturally discern between “stomach” (physical) hunger, and “symbolic” (emotional, psychological or spiritual) hunger. An attuned eater will eat at the first signs of stomach hunger, knowing exactly what and how much the body is asking for at that time. Most of us can relate to what it feels like after we eat too much or we eat something that doesn’t sit well with us. How would your food choices be different if you got that sensation before you ate?”