Food, snacks, bits, treats, morsels, bites and tastes. Grocery stores, cafés, resto’s, food trucks, snack shacks and more. There is such an abundance of food and eating occasions all around us that it may feel impossible at times to escape it all.
And ladies, what about the events? The celebrations, reunions, movies, slumber parties, cozy breakfasts in bed and sexy date nights out?
I used to feel like I had to hide or escape from food and gatherings because I didn’t trust myself around it all. Those thoughts and fears used to run through my head until I did the work around my out-of-order-eating. Food used to rule the thoughts and actions in my day; and once I flipped that script, I began to lead my life with food as just the essential piece in my day.
The piece that keeps my body fuelled, not entertained.
Food is often the main event at social gatherings. I found that I really needed to change the way I viewed that in order to regain personal empowerment around my eating boundaries. The non-value based belief was that eating is how I connected with people and how I felt included. Hardly a stable connection. In order for me to respect my body’s internal boundaries, it was necessary for me to change that belief.
It was important for me to realize that food is a lovely part of our lives; however, it is certainly not a true connection to the people around us.
So, when we change our eating habits, we must change the way we connect with others. For so many of us, our families and society as a whole, food is the center of our attention.
The Family That Eats Together... Stays Together?
I never really noticed this until a dear friend brought it to my attention years ago - that my family eats A LOT! She was with me at a family bridal shower where, of course, there was a impressive spread of drinks and food. I mean, multiple tables filled with fabulous appetizers - sweet, savory, hot, cold; basically food porn! A wonderful afternoon spent with friends and family, old and new. Mingling, giggling, sharing stories of love, dreams and words of encouragement. A truly delightful way to engage with the people around us, (drinks and plates in hand of course).
As the party was wrapping up, my friend heard one of my family members say, ‘O.k. Now, where shall we go eat?’ Said friend looks at me, eyes wide open and says, ‘Whoa, your family eats A LOT!’ It never occurred to me, but yes, I guess so. Most everything is turned into an eating occasion with us.
My friend’s comment has always stuck with me, and I’ve quite enjoyed dissecting it a bit each time it pops into my mind.
Why was another eating occasion necessary directly after this party where clearly there was an excessive amount of food available? Were any of us truly hungry in that moment; and if not, why didn’t anyone speak up? Was there not something else for us to do together?
A Few Things Come to Mind.
1. It’s been such a habit with my family and we all just went along with it. ‘It’s just what we do, right?'
2. In order to change something up, you have to be willing to do something differently; not just follow the crowd. Stop the people-pleasing. It seems innocent enough to say, ‘It’s just how we bond as a family.’ So, when I got serious about changing my eating habits and honoring my personal hunger scale, I realized that we human beings are so clever and creative that we can certainly find ways to connect with each other outside of eating events. In those family moments, I can certainly speak up and offer a different suggestion. Here is where I get to tap into my gutsy courage and speak up.
3. It also means that in those moments, it’s up to me to engage with the people around me in new ways. I do not need to eat just because others are eating. If my body is not calling for food, then it is important for me to honor her and connect in other ways.
Let THEM Eat Cake…
We will never ‘escape’ from food, and that’s actually not necessary. When I say it like that, it sounds like food is the enemy and it’s not. It does have a very important role in our physical lives, and I’m not interested in feeling like I need to hide from it. I’d rather live in harmony with food and, most importantly, with my body and I absolutely wish the same for you, Hun.
I’m more interested in being a present in the moments with friends and family whether food is available or not. It’s up to us to honour our own personal boundaries and allow for others to eat, drink and be merry when they feel called to. Only we know when we are hungry; only we can respect that.
In fact, I’ve come to such a fabulous space with this that I find I can be a part of a gathering and truly enjoy watching the people around me in their pleasure. I don’t have to eat and snack with them to feel included. Let them eat the cake. It’s lovely for me to witness their happiness in those moments. Sometimes it’s wonderful to simply be the observer.
Do you, Boo…
By connecting to myself first, I shed the need to follow the crowd. I don’t have FOMO, (fear of missing out). I've learned that I don’t have to be doing what you’re doing in order to feel connected.
You do you, Boo, I’m still with ya. We're still together.
Human Being or Human Doing?
I love uniting through conversation, observation and just by simply being present. At times I focus on connecting by being - not doing.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times when I am bonding with my people through doing. Sometimes it’s playing games with cousins, skiing with my mom, sunset tea time with my besties - I mean, anything really. Name it - create your list!
When we strip away the layer of food (outside of hunger), we are open to experience the magical connections that happen on an unfiltered level.
So, the next time you find yourself about to eat just to go along with the group, I encourage you, Kind Soul, to pause, check in with yourself and create the connection in a new way.
With big love to ya,
~ C. xx