The many (unhelpful) ways we use food

Vegetable peelingsIf you’re an emotional eater, like me,
you may have noticed that you use food for reasons other than nourishment.

I’m five years into my recovery from emotional eating, thanks to coaching,
and I’m still learning about all the games I play around food.
I’ve (largely) stopped using eating as comfort, company, distraction, sedative and anesthetic.
But this week, I discovered that I use cooking to procrastinate and distract myself.

I had lunch with a supersmart friend this week.
She told me she’s been cooking a limited number of foods very simply for the past year.
This has freed both her time and her mind enormously.
I perked up, because I’m always looking to create more time in my day.
When I told her I prepare multiple meals from scratch every day,
She asked me “What does all that cooking do for you?”.
“I love it”, I told her.
“I like nourishing my family with high quality fuel foods.”
“I’m a foodie.”

She let it drop (realizing that I was in hopeless denial – told you she was smart),
and the conversation wandered to different topics.

But the rest of the week, her question kept popping into my head.
As I was cooking instead of…
tidying my house, marketing my business, sending difficult emails, cleaning the kitchen, writing copy for my new website (superexcited – to be launched in April!!), folding laundry, having difficult conversations, sitting down at my desk, helping my kids with homework…

Wow.

I use cooking to procrastinate.

I used to eat to procrastinate.
I’d feel overwhelmed, and, instead of working through my To Do list, I would work my way through the pantry.
That’s a rare occurrence now.
I find that, once an unconscious pattern is made conscious,
as long as I remain mindful, I notice the urge and can choose to lovingly redirect myself.

But this one. I did not see it coming.
Cooking is such a legitimate way to spend your time right?
And it is, if that’s what you truly want to be doing.
But if I truly want to be doing all the other stuff I’m not doing because I’m cooking,
that’s when it becomes unhelpful.

It got me thinking about all they millions of ways we ‘foodies’ use food.
Yes, food tastes amazing.
Yes, transforming raw ingredients into a dish is thrilling.
And yes, sometimes it’s just about that.

But when doing the activity doesn’t feel peaceful,
then it’s really worth asking yourself:
“What is this doing for me (that it was not designed to do)?”

Be curious.
Don’t try to force the answer – your mind will trick you.
Just let the question be there, and be open to the answer, which may be quiet and soft.
When you find it, don’t try to change it.
Don’t criticize yourself for it.
Let that be exactly what it is.
Open yourself to the understanding.
And see what happens.

When an unconscious habit become conscious, 
change often happens organically. 

I’m noticing that I’ve streamlined my meals and my food prep these past few days.
Not because I told myself to,
but because I don’t want to be a procrastinator.
I want to be a person who gets it done.
I’m still preparing our meals from scratch,
but I’m offering less options.
And  everyone is finding something to satisfy them.
Or they’re finding something else in the kitchen that has nothing to do with me.

Cleanup is simpler.
Shopping is simpler.
I’m moving into those things I want to do that scare me a bit.

All because of one magical question, softly asked “What does this do for you?”

If you want help exploring this question,  email me to set up a free mini laser focused coaching session!

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About Forever Free with Bev Aron, Certified Weight Loss Coach

I work with emotional eaters who desperately want relief from emotional eating, but can't seem to do it on their own. They know they need to eat less and move more, but can't figure out why they aren't doing it. My specialty is showing them the why and the how. I also work with parents who are worried about their children's weight. I help those parents encourage their children to have a healthy body image and a healthy relationship with food.
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