Food is a daily choice that I make, whether it’s once a day or three or more times a day – there is no hiding from the fact I require food to replenish and nourish me. Often finding myself turning to the fridge or cupboard for those ‘oh so handy’ comfort foods to possibly fill that ‘need’ for something which cannot often be expressed at the time, it is now becoming very clear for me how my food choices reveal so much about my way of choosing to live and experience life, or perhaps just existing and managing it. Going into any form of judgement, self-critique or guilt ridden ‘I should not have done this or that’ is literally more damning (harming) than eating those comfort foods which shout out ‘eat me’ in the first place.
Growing up in the countryside was an amazing escape for me when the pressures of life got too much, along with using unhealthy foods for comfort and relief which, seemingly at the time, satisfied those deeper cravings and frustrations. When young, adults around me were very influential; I could say I didn’t know any better when it came to my food choices. As an adult it became clear that those go to ‘satisfying’ comfort foods were used to fill a huge gap in my life, especially when feeling so dissatisfied with my body image, lacking confidence along with living constantly in varying degrees of exhaustion and anxiousness. This came about from attending to everybody else’s needs and leaving myself at the bottom of the pile when it came to self-care and self-loving choices in my daily life. Becoming a busy mum and working physically hard on the farm, whilst also working long hours at a part time job in the local town, seemed a logical, expected thing to do at the time.
Eating became whatever I could get my hands on quickly to keep my energy levels up; caffeine and fatty foods did this well for a short period in my life. The kickback from this came later in my late 40’s. You could say hindsight is a wonderful thing had those deepening frustrations been tended to when much younger – but the symptoms did not play out till much later in my life.
It was always food that united my family around our very large kitchen table with big satisfying meals but, underneath that, I was a young woman feeling isolated and hiding in the shadows of past ideals and beliefs of what a good, hardworking mother and wife should look like and provide. The cracks of frustration, sadness and resentment started to show when in my late 30’s, early 40’s, food just did not fill the gap anymore. The big question came: where do I go to for support? The search began.
I took the same route my mother had and invested hundreds of pounds into slimming clubs’ purses. I acknowledge they have helped so many to bring focus to what food choices they make, but do they reach the root cause of anyone’s eating disorder or dysfunction in the first place? Often those lost pounds return very quickly, along with low esteem.
In my 50’s, the growing list of my unsettling physical experiences prompted me to ask more questions. I had begun to experience acute choking sensations whilst eating; what I felt to be indigestion was a huge indication that this form of self-abuse had to stop. The only previous experience of this was during pregnancy. The old saying went you would give birth to a baby with a lot of hair – and I did!
But alas, those excuses cannot be used now in my 60’s.It had been brought to my attention to observe those foods that gave me this strange gagging-like sensation in my lower throat – certain nut flours were one food item that did this. Sweet foods brought on headaches and migraines; too much food left the feeling of bloating and lack of enthusiasm to exercise my body; consuming mucus increasing foods like dairy based foods containing yoghurt and milk left a nauseous feeling, whilst eating later than 7.00pm affected my sleep patterns etc. Was I truly listening? ‘NO’ (or only in short bursts). I continued to ignore these obvious symptoms.
However, more recently I noticed that I’d become more sensitive to a larger variety of foods, along with a new level of awareness to read this wise body more accurately. It was not only the type of food but also how quickly I ate, how hot my food was and in particular, my body had moments of finding it hard to swallow food when I was actually full. OK, that’s a massive offering of how my body naturally shares quite clearly when enough is enough. These were very obvious signals – like headlights glaring at me. But there were still many foods that I chose to continue to have in my diet. I was completely disregarding their effects to the point of self-abuse – yes abuse!!! Bloating, excessive wind, extreme tiredness and constantly looking for a loo for that just in-case moment. Noticing changes in my bowel movements was a real giveaway example.
It becomes so easy to overrule the messages from the wisdom of my body. However, it’s never too late to change old patterns or behaviours, to bring back an alignment to what is true to eat for my body. Both health and mental awareness are affected by these choices. The knock-on effect is vast as it affects all aspects of my life. But I’ve concluded that what is good for one person does not necessarily include the foods that will suit another. My food choices reflect a very personal journey, not only affecting me but everyone around me. Having experienced the up and down moods of frustration and extreme tiredness, I shut myself away from family and friends, hiding, not wanting to be seen in this state of ‘giving up-ness’ and not knowing what to do about it. This all changed gradually as I listened more intently to the natural rhythms of my wise body.
Bringing it back to the present, after a replenishing night’s sleep, to awaken with a renewed vitality and positive approach to stop eating foods that dull and numb is to be appreciated. The enormity of what is available to access when feeling so alive and vital is beyond words here. I remember that there is no such thing as perfection and no right and wrong; only huge learnings to be had when my physical body in no uncertain terms gives me a ‘nudge’ to say, “Hoi, what are you doing to me!!!?”
Understanding from this experience that as I change and let go of those behaviours that no longer have a place in my everyday life, the space is made for those more loving choices. To feel amazing on the inside will show up for certain on the outside. No more having a ‘quick fix’ like a blob or two of nut butter on a spoon having got in from work, then justify it as, “I deserve it after a busy day!” Or those pumped, heady aromas wafting around the grocery stores that get my digestive and mental juices going suggesting that I am hungry. Whoops!! In goes that packet of veggie crisps to the basket to eat in the car as I drive home. No one will see me!
The realisation I had to take responsibility for my own habits and eating choices has inspired me to review my food choices with an openness and lightness and bring in some refreshing new ways of making my food choices more fun while experiencing a whole new sense of feeling in my physical body. I am still learning what foods allow me to feel lighter in my body, how they affect my decision-making, even when it comes to how I dress to present myself to the world. Food hugely effects how I express myself, along with my physical wellness. Having that feeling of constant lightness, joy and appreciation in my everyday life highlights how making different food choices contributes enormously to how my body naturally wants to move whilst walking these heavenly footsteps on earth.
It is with heartfelt love, joy and deep appreciation that I say thank you for The Ageless Wisdom Teachings and the clarity and inspirational lived ways of its teachers. They are my guiding lights.
By Marion, a forever student of The Ageless Wisdom teachings who appreciates life with such openness & joy, an amazing sense of humour, very practical whilst bringing order and flow into her working day and a great cook to boot, UK