You eat, at first, because your body requires nourishment. You have to eat to be or die. Food is a life essential.
Somewhere along the line of life you connect eating to a good feeling. As it alters the very chemistry of your brain, you feel a subtle emotional charge that usually occurs in the company of other people, like mom and dad. Hence, you eat and feel less alone which is almost like being connected.
Then comes a life time of hard wiring food to celebration, to family, to connections of all sorts including feelings we like to confuse with love.
And now you simply eat. What was once eat to feel better, to feel love, has become eating to feel less or feel anything at all. You don’t even know why the hell you eat most the time. Some times you’re halfway through a bowl of cereal or a fast-burger when it hits you that have no recall of where it came from.
The wiring which was flawed from the beginning—your programmed relationship with food—has become poison. A deadly mix of emotional regulation and brain chemistry driven addiction.
At the center of this dysfunction is a deep, profound need to disconnect from the present—to avoid the stress of being “here.” Life is difficult, complex, overwhelming. And being with people is at once both wonderful and difficult—while time alone can bring sickening loneliness.
Food, the art or eating, can make the present go away. People serve me things, they give me attention and I don’t need to ask for it. I feel warmth inside and a fullness for a few moments without risk—in total safety.
And the whole joyous experience is free of the anxiety, the emptiness, fear and overwhelm that fills the waking minutes.
But like all forms of avoidance or maladapted coping behaviors this one has a side effect that manifests slowly—sneaks up on you and eventually destroys you. Some pathological behaviors end in prison, others divorce, illness and isolation and this one usually manifests obesity, overweight and related health issues like diabetes. Not to mention the emotional burden.
It’s not fun nor is it funny. And to coin the most overused and oft abused phrase in fitness marketing; It’s not your fault.
In this case it’s truly not. You were given the genetic and environmental factors, the love and attention the way you were given them. As they saying goes, now you gotta play the hand that you were dealt.
So to this point, consider yourself absolutely 100% free of blame and fault. We will assume you didn’t know and what you did know you did the best you could with what you had. It simply serves no purpose to beat yourself up today for what happened yesterday.
Now you know, or at least you have the invitation to contemplate your relationship with food and the present moment; with avoidance and anxiety. And with that the responsibility has shifted. From this point forward you are the one in charge. You not only get to decide how you want to live, who you want to be, but you also have the full responsibility for your actions.
And the freedom you seek comes only through responsibility.
That’s not to suggest that changing the tracks that have been grooved deeply in your psyche and life is going to be easy. No, not at all. But you and I both know people who’ve been dealt at least as challenging a hand and prevailed.
Where to start? That’s the million-billion dollar question, right? How does one begin changing such a deeply integrated faulty wired system.
I’d avoid the big leaps into major dieting systems, elaborate plans, and all that which provokes the attractive glory of hope and easy answers.
There’s no easy answer. Instead, I point to awareness; to your full and courageous presence. Get intimate with your felt state, check in what is driving your desire to eat. Sit quietly and fully with the feelings inside and be with your eating and food.
(What happens, what is your experience, when you turn your attention inwards, while resisting the urge to eat? Check in, experience it. Name it.)
Slow everything down. Make simple, simple, simple changes. It may serve to eat just as you would and keep a food journal for a week and document what you eat but more importantly what you feel, before you eat and after. Then an hour later to see how the eating, the act—and the nourishment itself—leaves you feeling emotionally and physically.
Create Nourishment Rituals
“Simple things repeated daily without fail is the key to quantum change.”
This is a deep and profound truth. Read that again and take it in. It’s about the simple things, the five minutes here, the ten there. It’s about doing it without fail.
Rituals, as I share about in Strength for LIFE, are the bedrock foundation for true and lasting change. They’re the antidote to the “habits” which wear you down—for rituals lift you up and free your soul.
And when it comes to altering your fundamental relationship with food there may be no more effective and powerful ritual than one perfect meal, repeated daily without fail. This is how and where I, and millions of others, have come to place the nutrition shake—or more accurately the Full Strength >nutrition shake.
It’s not just convenience, it’s not just a great pleasure, it is a deeply nourishing, nutrient rich meal that provides your body and brain with immediate uplifting positive surge and the sort of lasting, sustained and balanced energy that very few, if any, whole food meals have earned the right to compare.
A Full Strength Nutrition shake meal first thing in the morning is a game changer, for your body and your life. It can begin to serve as your “true-north” comparison for what great nutrition can and should feel like in your body. When you get how great you can feel, how great you should feel after eating great, you quickly begin to separate food that pulls you down from that which lifts you up.
I realize this is the place where it could sound like I’m selling you on what I do and love. That maybe this isn’t all real (which we both know better but still it does arise) and it’s all about getting you to either start Full Strength or switch to.
And allow me to be fully transparent here: Hell yes! I am all about you experiencing Full Strength—because I know what it is, believe it in and believe you deserve to know.
But I’m no more selling you on my Strength than life, your parents, and your own desire to live abundantly is selling you on the value of a great education. And let’s face it, not all education is of equal quality or lifetime value.
I believe in what I do and I believe in your capacity to change your life. It is my purpose in this world to provide the means for some (not for all) to make powerful, positive life changes. Full Strength nutrition is just one expression of that and one powerful experience that helps many to feel into their power, to truly experience a new found power, possibility and know they are meant for more and greater things.
And unlike an education, you can try Full Strength and know if it’s right for you. For face it, not all nutrition is the right solution for everyone, just as not all people are Full Strength. For unlike most nutrition companies, because we are rather intimate group, we are as picky about our members as you should be about your nutrition.
My short-list of advice for creating a new level of *Nutritional Freedom is:
1) Read chapters 9-10 of Strength for LIFE, including “The 10 Pillars of Nutritional Freedom” and “Cravings to Consumption.” Hell, read the whole damn book. You’ll be better of for having done so.
2) Keep a 7 Day Food-Mood Journal (see trackers here or in Strength for LIFE)
3) Add one Full Strength a day for 14 days without a miss. I suggest that money back guaranteed 14-Day Challenge. (if you choose to use another nutrition shake, just be mindful of quality and the synergy of the integration for a great nutrition shake is a whole lot more than just a protein shot.)
In the Next Installment: Why Going from Fat to Fit can be the other Side of the Same Coin, and simply another way to avoid being present to your life.
Nutritional Freedom™ : Is the inspired goal and a defined path to be “free from dieting,” as set forth in Strength for LIFE. It is a conscious eating practice where you become free to choose nourishment over food cravings and desires. Where you actually crave the food that is best for you the most. (See Chapters 9 & 10 for the detailed process of Nutritional Freedom)