Important: This blog article discusses food, eating, and disordered eating/diet culture. Please be aware if these topics are sensitive for you. This post IS NOT advocating harmful restrictive diets or weight loss in a general sense. Instead, it’s discussing our body’s hunger signals as a way to listen to our bodies and get in tune with them so we can find what’s healthy for us and how this works with our thoughts around abundance and what we deserve. Still interested? Read on. Thank you.
In the US we just finished the traditional holiday of Thanksgiving, where people gather together and share meals with family. We’re also entering into the holiday season where food plays a central, if sometimes unwelcome, role at the heart of our celebrations. Of course, the number one thing you should do right now is enjoy yourself without guilt, because for many of us these holidays come with a large helping of guilt on the side. The second thing? Don’t comment on what anyone is, or isn’t, eating.
Abundance plays a large role at the holidays. From an abundantly set table, complete with a whole turkey and all the sides, not to mention pies and deserts, to abundant gifts, lavish parties, and social media all aglow with posts about what others are receiving. For those who have less prosperity in their lives, it’s a hard time of year.
Which led me to think about abundance and our body’s hunger signals. I was counting my blessings I could put together a nice dinner for my spouse and I yesterday. Just enough leftovers so I don’t have to cook today, and probably a few more to carry me through the weekend with some of my comfort foods. My personal goal has been to listen to my body’s hunger signals. Learn how to recognize them and honor them. It’s something I’ll blog about in the future, because what really caught my attention was how those signals tie completely and whole-hardheartedly into my thoughts around abundance.
I grew up in a home where family made sure my basic needs were met, and then some. (My aunt about tackled someone for one of the last Cabbage Patch Dolls when they were first released and I was in the hospital getting my tonsils out.) But there was also a price to be paid. A constant reminder that I cost them money, which they earned by working hard. So I learned to stop listening to my body. If I was sick, I powered through because going to the doctor meant spending money.
As I grew, and began using food as an unhealthy coping mechanism, than my hunger, and eating, became something I was teased for. I joke that they put Diet Soda (remember pink cans of Tab?) in my bottle before I could walk, and my family was always trying some variation of Weight Watchers. So did I. And yeah, I had some success, but then that came with guilt. I shouldn’t be eating. I was wrong for eating.
When we begin to think our basic body signals are somehow wrong or bad, then we’re denying the abundance around us. We’re adding shame to it.
I also want to pause and tell you this has absolutely nothing to do with body size. It’s also very much tied up in socio-economic status, something I’ll explore in a future blog. For now, just begin thinking about what thoughts you have around food, your body’s hunger signals, and abundance.
Now, I can hear you thinking what does this have to do with abundance? And I’m a chicken yogi. Why talk about this here?
Because I believe in chronic wellness, that we can create things that work for us in our lives, even if we’re dealing with health challenges or battling doctors to take those challenges seriously. There are still things, slowing down, listening to ourselves, making sure we are treated well because we deserve it, setting boundaries, etc., that we can do to help further those goals. Chronic Wellness isn’t a final destination. It’s a journey that we all undertake. And we’re all at different places along the way.
For those of us who were taught to think about food as bad, or our hunger as bad, it’s hard for us to enjoy the abundance that we have. A good meal shouldn’t be a source of shame or guilt. Listening to your body when it’s hungry means nourishing it. If we use food in ways that aren’t listening to our bodies, but instead feeding our feelings, we’re preventing ourselves from having to deal with them. We’re going to have to deal with them sometime.
There’s a lot to unpack around food and abundance, tied up in the things that we were taught, either intentionally or unintentionally by those around us. It’s a topic I’ll be going into more deeply, and one I hope we can have a conversation about, together.
Therefore as we go into the holiday season, I wish for you the enjoyment of good food in whatever quantities make you feel most well. I wish you the ability to listen to your body, to know you can express joy, laughter, and love, without food if you prefer.