I want to ask you today, what are you blaming on food? A lot of times people will say things like- I feel like my bones hurt, I feel creaky, I feel like I have inflammation in my body. I feel puffy. I feel bloated. I'm fatigued. I don't have a lot of energy. A lot of times you're blaming these things on food, and what you ate, or on your body.
This is because diet culture messaging tells you that if you don't feel great, it's your fault, right? You're doing something wrong, and it must be what you're eating. If there's a person who's thin who has more normative eating, then you're not blaming their health issues on food, right? You're only blaming it on food when it's you, someone who is in a larger body, or someone who struggles in their relationship with food.
I was talking with some clients during group coaching, and one of them is trying to manage their blood sugar because they have a diagnosis of diabetes. They were noticing that they sometimes would eat something and their blood sugar would be fine. They would eat the exact same thing another time and their blood sugar would be higher than they want. What happens in this culture and type of health education is we're taught that it's all about the food for blood sugar control.
When I worked at the hospital, as you may know I'm an RN, a lot of times people who would eat regularly and their blood sugar would be fine but just being in the hospital, being ill and stressed, having us poke and prod at them, would make it so that they would have to be on insulin while they were in the hospital. They would say to me, “I don't understand, I'm eating the same things I normally do but my blood sugar is so high, I don't normally need insulin.” There's also medications and other things that can impact it like steroids; that makes your blood sugar go completely out of whack.
Its important to look holistically at the entire picture, into what is impacting your blood sugar. One of the people in the group that I was coaching said, “Oh my gosh, I always blame it on the food. I track my food and I'm hyper focused on my food. This is the only thing that I've considered that impacts my blood sugar, but all of these other things impact it as well.”
So my question to you is, what do you blame on food?
Do you blame being tired on food? Maybe it's actually because you're not getting enough rest. You could have a medical condition like sleep apnea that's causing it, you could be going through something really big and just need more rest and healing time.
Are you blaming your energy and your vitality on food? Sometimes, especially during all of this COVID time that we've had and all of the political unrest, it may be not due to your diet, but instead due to all of the trauma that you're going through, all of the stress, all of the grief. Oftentimes, you're actually eating in a way that resonates for where you're at. You may be eating more comfort food, so it's easy to blame it on food, but actually, what's really going on is that you are not feeling well so you're needing to eat foods that are easier to digest or that are less intensive to prepare.
Are you blaming your bloating and digestion on food? Bloating can actually be caused by hormones, reproductive issues, stress, eating extra fiber, or GI issues. GI issues can be tied to nervous system regulation and have nothing to do with food.
So is it the chicken or the egg? I think it's that we're blaming the egg, but it's actually the chicken.
When it comes to our bodies we have to look at the nuances. Where are the possibilities of things that are creating these challenges for you, instead of just blaming food or blaming your body. Blaming your body actually just increases preoccupation with food. It increases preoccupation with your body and makes you feel like you're failing, you're not doing good enough, or it's your fault. When actually, your body is wise, it’s just trying to get you through. Your choices are driven by what's going on in your body, the things that are impacting you from your environment, and other issues that you might be having.
I'm hoping that this will really help you zoom out, look holistically at your challenges, and recognize that food is most likely not the problem. The problem is that something else is going on for you, there are multiple things that could be creating that problem and multiple ways of shifting it. It could be as simple as getting more sleep, taking supplements, getting more joyful movement in your life, or reducing stress. Maybe you're having a stressful situation that you actually can remove yourself from entirely, that has nothing to do with food. This is really an important distinction to make. It can be really helpful in creating more ease in your relationship with food and actually shifting the way that you care for yourself. Increasing that connection and trust that you want to build with your body so that you can really start to heal your relationship with yourself.
If you would like more information or you're curious how I might support you, you can reach me here. You can also take my food attachment style quiz if you are looking for a helpful starting point.
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The first step to healing your relationship with food is reconnecting with the signals your body gives you. One of the ways to do that is by checking in with your hunger before you eat. Here's my spin on the traditional hunger scale..