In my private practice as a nourishment consultant, I frequently ask clients the question: who are you feeding? Sometimes who we are feeding is an emotion, such as happiness, or depression, sadness, and loneliness. Sometimes it is our petulant inner child who only cares about eating that candy bar right now. Or we are feeding our rebellious adolescent, who knows this particular food may not make us feel very good but goes ahead and eats it anyway! After exploring this question for themselves, nearly all of my clients discover that they have been unconsciously feeding a part of themselves that wasn’t nourished. For instance, when most of us feel like we aren’t being taken care of—usually when we’re experiencing an emotional need—we immediately turn to the foods that were gratifying in childhood. These foods tend to be sweet, salty, or starchy.
Many people feed themselves based on an emotional need, whether the emotions are negative or positive. When people eat this way, they usually have something that’s fast, easy, and requires almost no preparation. We are feeding ourselves quick fixes that usually have little nutritive value, and we’re eating when we are in a state of emotional imbalance when hunger doesn’t even come into the picture. Many of us are caught in old patterns of how we feed ourselves, and we don’t even realize it. The question, "Who are you feeding?" can be a simple antidote for this unconscious, compulsive behavior.
Let’s say that you’re at a party where there’s a fantastic array of food. You’ve already eaten a delicious main course, and now a certain plate of chocolate chip cookies has attracted your attention. You saunter across the room, reach for the plate, and pop a cookie into your mouth while picking up another one. Let’s pretend this is a video and we can rewind to the moment you arrive at the plate of cookies. Instead of grabbing a cookie off the plate, ask yourself one question: "Who am I feeding?" Maybe you ask your body how it would feel after you eat the cookie. You’re already full from the meal, and feel the need to unbutton the top button os your pants. Is the thirty seconds of oral pleasure worth the additional discomfort to your body? Is this something you really want to do? The point isn’t if you do or don’t eat the cookie; the cookie itself isn’t bad. The point is awareness—being aware of your actions and knowing how any particular foodstuff at any particular moment will feed you. By following the guidance and steps outlined in this book, you will learn the rhythms and needs of your body. With practice, it becomes easier to check in with yourself on a regular basis. So the next time you eat or drink something, ask yourself: "Who am I feeding?" And then wait for the honest answer.
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