FOOD – NOURISHING THE MIND, BODY & SOUL

Every time I think I need to write my blog – I realize there are so many topics I could write on, so many myths I could dispel, yet somewhere I realized I was missing a point – something a lot more deeper – something I really needed to write about and did not know what that was. At the same I have been really engrossed, enchanted and mesmerized with Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson, and I totally agree with Steve’s love for Simplicity.

How often do we end up complicating things in life, purely by just over thinking or over analyzing and then end up complaining life is so complicated! There is always a simple answer to every problem, yet we choose the most complex ways to solve it, because we simply cannot believe Life can be simple. Let us take an example of our diets – don’t we readily jump, read and believe theories which tell us – some foods are amazing and how eating them would miraculously make us skinny and how some food are bad, and why we must avoid them like the plague. (And a few days later, there will be another theory speaking the exact opposite – so what really is true.. God alone knows!)

No wonder it is said that Common sense is the least common thing! Why can we not be simple with our food and food choices? Why go to extremes – why completely eliminate certain foods, why only eat certain foods?

Now let us talk basic. Scientifically thinking – what is the purpose of eating? Why do we eat food?

Answer: the body uses food to perform one or more of four main functions:

To supply energy – Food supplies the fuel or energy needed to perform the many tasks of everyday living. We need energy to think, breathe, walk, sit, speak and even sleep. We get energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is important that we eat enough food to supply all our needs. If we don’t, we will feel tired and listless. Having no energy can be compared to a car that has run out of fuel. On the other hand, if we eat more food than what our body needs – we do know that it makes us FAT

For growth and repair Food provides the materials needed to build, repair and maintain body tissues. Proteins, fats and minerals are the best nutrients for growth. Growing bodies need extra amounts of these nutrients. Every person whether growing or not, is going through a continual repair process of replacing injured or dead cells. It is food that supplies the nutrients necessary for this process.

For regulation – Food supplies the substances that help regulate the body’s processes. Water, vitamins and minerals help regulate breathing, the nervous system, digestion, blood circulation and the elimination of waste products from the body. They help keep all the systems in the body working properly.

For protection – Vitamins, minerals and protein keep the body’s tissues and organs healthy. Healthy organs are less likely to be attacked by disease.

This is what science has to say! But is this why we eat food or is this how we decide what we will eat for lunch or dinner? Though some of us do include certain things in our diets that are aimed at health, yet 80% of our food choices are emotional. Very often after eating amazing food we say – ‘what a soul-satisfying meal?’ or ‘dil khush ho gaya’. So doesn’t this imply that our foods not only nourish our body but our soul too! Great food can have an uplifting impact on our mood and vice versa.

How about we get simple with food? Can we eat not to just stuff ourselves but to nourish our soul? Enjoying our now, reveling in the beauty of the world and the simple pleasures of existence are equally important to our survival as food is. Gratitude and a sense of abundance, no matter how little we may seem to have, makes us happy, content and fulfilled. Perhaps all these may even help the body metabolize our food better.

Being skinny or size 0 can never guarantee enlightenment, happiness, or inner peace – it is instead a choice we make. In every moment can choose to be happy NOW, love and accept our body the way it is TODAY.

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I would suggest a small exercise by Louise Hay for a week – “Cease all criticism of yourself and others. Accept yourself as you are. Praise yourself as much as you can. Criticism breaks down the inner spirit, praise builds it up. Look into a mirror often and simply say: I LOVE YOU, I REALLY LOVE YOU. It may be difficult at first, but keep practicing and soon you will mean and feel what you say. Love yourself as much as you can and all of life will mirror this love back to you.

And after a week assess – how you are feeling? How your body is responding to a simple change in your thoughts? See how nourished your soul feels after receiving this love? Would love to hear your experience.  🙂

 

What is your body or rather your excess weight trying to tell you?

To my all patients, I keep reiterating the fact, “Listen to your body. Listen to your gut.” I am strong believer of the fact that if something is there in our life – could be a person, a situation or anything and it bothers us in some way – then may be it is here to teach us something. Like Pema Chodron says – “nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know …nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. Perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”

Is this not true about “losing weight” too? There so many fad diets, diet plans, diet foods and what not to make one “lose the extra weight”. We treat this excess weight in the body like an invader in our space, which we just want to get rid off. Did you once think where and how did you manage to pile on this extra weight? It definitely wasn’t injected in your system while you were sleeping – that you woke up next morning and you were twice your size! It was a gradual weight gain.

Can we once try and acknowledge that yes this extra weight is a part of me and if it comes back stubbornly no matter how many crazy diets I do, then may be its trying to tell me something? Our body is constantly talking to us, sending us messages, but the point is – are we listening? We keep ignoring what our body is trying tell us gently and thus we land up in a state where the body shouts out loud in the form of disease or weight gain!

Let me give you an example – busy watching the ‘game’ on tv late night with friends, you tank up on beer, pizza and chips. Next day morning being work day – you wake up tired, dehydrated, bloated, gassy, burpy and so on.. This was your body’s gentle way of letting you know of its discomfort. But what do you do when this happens – you now OD on coffee to feel kicked and silence the stomach by taking an antacid. Do you know what you just did? Imagine your child is coming to you crying because he hurt himself. Would you ask your child why he is crying or would you just stuff and tape his mouth to make him stop crying? Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? That is exactly what you put your stomach through.

WE abuse our system, WE eat mindlessly, WE put on the weight and now WE torture our body for being FAT! Silly, isn’t it? Just like in the previous example where we would ask the child – “tell me beta, what happened?” – can we ask our body that too? Can we really find out what is making us fat – despite our various attempts at “burning it”?

Excess weight here is trying to convey a message to you. If you kill the messenger – that is, if you actually do lose the weight but don’t understand why it was here in the first place – it returns. Don’t most people who do crash diets know this? There is no moral or personal failure here. It is not about eating less calories or switching to fat-free version instead of full-fat versions. We just didn’t listen deeply enough to what it was trying to tell us.

Trying to get rid of weight by “losing it” is like trying to get rid of paying a high electricity bill by shredding and throwing it out. Waah- phaado aur phekdo! Bill hi nahi toh pay kya karoge? The problem is though, when you throw out the bill, not only will you lose your electricity connection but also another one comes in the mail, and this time with a late fee. Throw that one away too and you just landed yourself in some serious mess.

Is it not just simple to pay the bill? The bill and the extra weight are here just to point to certain facts. The bill points to the fact that you use electricity in your house and you need to pay for it. Shredding and discarding it is of no use. Likewise, excess weight points to something else. To simply get rid of it for the sake of getting rid of it is of no use

So finally – coming to the core question –   “What is this extra weight trying to tell me?” Each one may have different answer to this question, and below are just a few common and obvious ones. Being overweight can point to:

  • Our poor nutritional choices
  • Eating out of Emotional hunger – (https://whosayshealthyfoodaintfun.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/my-relationship-status-to-my-food-its-complicated-really/)
  • Unsatisfied emotional wants or needs
  • Suppressed and repressed feelings
  • Low self-esteem leading to unclear identity about self
  • A big need to be loved and wanted (chocolate satisfies these cravings often)
  • A vicious cycle of guilt eating and self-hatred
  • Mindless eating leading to disconnection from the body/ stomach
  • Emotional hurts or wounds
  • Emptiness
  • Financial worries
  • Creative blocks or suppressed creativity
  • Being un-true and dishonest to our own inner self
  • Revenge
  • Fear, anxiety
  • Stress, etc

Each one of these is like a wounded child. It needs our attention. We cannot avoid these or shred it like the bill or just lose fat by crazy exercise and diet routine. It is time we sit with ourselves, look inside of us, see what we are running away from, look and examine what we are trying so hard to hide. It is time we love, accept, honour and listen to what our body is trying to tell us, otherwise we will continue this cycle of putting on weight-losing it and putting it back on. I agree it is not an easy process. Looking at our wounds may not be a beautiful sight, but the only way out is through it.

We have tried the fad diets, the quick fixes. Did it work? Then why not muster some courage and face ourselves. Things may not be as bad as we think they are.

So – WHAT IS YOUR BODY OR RATHER YOUR EXCESS WEIGHT TRYING TO TELL YOU?

 

EMOTIONAL EATING MANAGEMENT

EMO EAT

10th June 2014, Tuesday

1pm-4pm

Over eating or bingeing are the mechanisms of mind and emotion. People often seek refuge in food. In the 3 hour session discover your Emotional Eating Pattern & equip yourself with techniques to release it. Go from EMOTIONAL EATING to MINDFUL EATING

Workshop Conducted by – Dr. Khushboo Thakker

She is a Homeopath, a Certified Trichologist from the International Association of Trichologists, Australia; Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist from the California Institute of Hypnosis and Certified Nutritional Counsellor from Sophia College.

To register contact – 09820770536

9 Commandments to Effectively Handle Emotional Eating – to Go from i-Crave to i-Understand

1. IDENTIFY YOUR HUNGER

Is your hunger physical or emotional? (Refer to the comparative chart on the previous post to determine if your hunger is based the physical need to eat, or emotional need to eat.)

If you ate a few hours ago and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you may not be “truly” hungry. Give it 5 minutes and see if the cravings are present yet.

Also –

  • When having a meal stay away from all distractions. Switch off your tv, you cell phones. This will help you put your complete focus on the food in front of you. Now with every morsel of food – try and involve all your five senses; see the food in front of you – the colour, the variety; smell the aroma of food, feel the texture in your fingers, taste the various flavors and finally enjoy the silence of your meal. This will make you more attentive towards your food and help you get in touch with your real hunger signals.
  • To help determine if your hunger is physical or emotional, try asking yourself questions like “When was the last time I ate?” “Am I suddenly hungry or I have been hungry for a while now?” “Do I really need to eat this specific food that I am craving for, or can I substitute it for something else?”
  • Create healthy alternatives to eating. Whether it’s a walk in the park or curling up with a good book or talking to your friend or even playing with your pet – planning other activities will help you relax and avoid binge eating.

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2. IDENTIFY YOUR EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS

Emotional eaters must become aware of their reasons for wanting to eat.

A long drawn but a great way to be more aware of your emotions surrounding food is to keep a journal and record how you feel before you eat and after you eat. Write down what you eat, how much you eat (portion sizes), when you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat and how hungry you are (on a scale of 0-10). Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal emotionally driven eating patterns and you will see your triggers that you need to avoid.

Top 6 Emotional Eating Triggers

  • Stress and Anxiety –Oh God! I am so nervous and edgy. Munching on the bag of chips or a tub of ice cream makes me cope with it better.”
  • Loneliness – “I am alone, I don’t know what to do or I am lonely and sad – let me just switch on the TV, watch a movie and order in a pizza”
  • Anger –I am so angry with XYZ, and what makes me more angrier is that I can’t tell XYZ how angry I feel – so let me just munch on anything I can lay my hands on”
  • PMS – “where is that CHOCOLATE? I need it NOW!”
  • Sadness and Depression – “I am feeling so low – only a good dessert would make me happy”
  • BOREDOM“I am bored and I have nothing to do, let me what is there in the fridge or the pantry or the kitchen”

3. AVOID KEEPING YOUR SNACKY-MUNCHY FOODS AROUND

  • Avoid keeping your comfort foods at home. Give yourself special days that you allow yourself to have “treat” foods available, and only in MODERATION
  • If you are planning on food shopping and are also feeling hungry or low, postpone the trip for a few hours so that these feelings don’t influence your food choices at the store.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time! Knowing what you plan to eat ahead of time, will make you look forward to every meal, as you know exactly what your next meal would be and will make it less likely that you will opt for an unhealthy option, even after a stressful day.
  • Eat every 2 – 2 ½ hours. Eating frequently and in small portions throughout the day will help to keep your blood sugar stabilized, keep your energy and mood up, and prevent cravings for sugary or fatty foods.

4. EAT A BALANCED DIET

  • If you are not eating enough in your normal meals – for the fear of getting fat, you may not be getting enough calories to meet your energy needs for the day and that may make you more likely to give into emotional eating. So try to eat at regular times and never skip breakfast. Include foods from the basic food groups in your meals (carbs, proteins and fats). Avoiding or reducing any of the food groups – leads to a lot binge eating. Get your portions and proportions of these correct. When you eat your basic food well, you are more likely to feel full longer.

5. EXERCISE  

Participate in regular physical activity. Be active for a minimum of 40 minutes for 5 days a week. Go for a bike ride, run or even a swim. Every little bit counts!

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(Image Courtesy – http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=55003566)

6. GET ADEQUATE REST

Your mood is more manageable and your body can more effectively handle stress when it is fit and well rested. You can also do relaxation exercises such as imagery and guided visualization, deep breathing and meditation. Try tai chi or yoga.

  • Get enough sleep. If you do not sleep well when you are stressed, it may have an impact on your weight loss efforts, and often will cause fatigue leading to emotional eating.
  • Develop a ritual to help prepare you for sleep, and try going to bed at the same time each night.
  • Deep breathing, yoga, and meditation are all great ways to ease emotional stress, and to help you fall asleep more easily.

7. DEAL WITH YOUR STRESS

Since lack of emotional support is directly linked to the tendency to binge-eat, it is important that you build your own reliable support system. This could mean talking with a counsellor, or a friend or starting a healthy weight loss program.

  • If you have difficulty expressing your emotions verbally, try getting them out on paper. Maintain a journal or write a letter to even to yourself writing in detail about how you feel. Avoid judging or critically analyzing your own feelings. Acceptance of what you feel and where you are helps
  • Be sure to schedule time to spend with your friends or loved ones or family works wonders. Building relationships doesn’t happen overnight, so make spending time with those you care about a priority.
  • Make yourself your No.1 Priority. This is not about being selfish. It is about SELF – LOVE.

8. LEARN TO COPE WITH CRAVINGS

We all get food cravings, and often we all give into them. It is how we deal with these – is actually what will make or break our dream body efforts.

In essence, we subconsciously desire food that might bring on a specific feeling like a sugar rush or comfort. These “comfort foods” may have more to do with emotional security than a desire for food.

SO, THEN WHAT TO DO? TIP – The key to dealing with any food craving is to select times that you will give into them. If you deny your cravings all the time, you will only drive yourself to binge and eat more of what you crave once you do indulge. Select a day once every 2 weeks or once every month – where you eat the food you love! Be honest with yourself, and understand that having a treat does not mean having an entire day devoted to poor food choices.

9. COMPLETE WELLNESS OUTLOOK

It is important to remember that we eat to nourish our bodies and not for comfort. Look at food as nutrients that fuel your body. Every vitamin, mineral or nutrient that you put into your body helps to maintain your youth, vitality appearance, energy, fitness and health. Combine your food with exercise and a happy spirit, and you’re on your way to living happy, eating guilt free yet MINDFULLY!