A few years ago, I was at Vegetarian Fest in Seattle where a vegan chef and author, Alan Roettinger shared what he believed it meant to truly love someone or something. He shared that when he fell in love with his wife, he found himself paying attention so intently on how she moved, what she said, and what she did. To him, to love meant to give complete focus and intention. He brought that same focus to the food he made with love.
“I wish I could stop eating, but I just love food too much!” I am guilty of uttering these words and have heard them countless times from friends and clients, who deep down are frustrated with the weight loss process. Chances are though if you identify as an emotional eater or someone who is overweight, you probably don’t pay much attention to your food or at all. In fact, you may find that you eat distracted perhaps in front of your phone or the TV. Perhaps you may find that you are using food to go unconscious and to soothe, as is common in emotional eating.
So what if you agreed with Alan Roettinger’s definition of what it means “to love.” What would it look like to truly love food? Perhaps you would make your meal times special. Perhaps you would place the food nicely on the plate, focus fully on how the food tastes, and be grateful for what it provides you.
Or perhaps, you’d discover what foods you truly like or dislike - as one of my clients had in a mindful eating meditation. Her infatuation with potato chips soon died after she fully tasted them and realized she didn’t enjoy the greasy residue it left in her mouth!
Latent within the excuse of “I wish I could stop eating, but I just love food too much!” is also the belief that we are powerless over food – that perhaps we don’t deserve our desires or that we are powerless in honoring both our desire for pleasure and enjoyment in eating and the desires and goals we have for our bodies. But what if it didn’t have to be so black and white? What if it was possible to honor both the experience of eating and desire to love and nurture your body? It is in finding this sweet spot that we can begin to move closer to our goals in a way that is sustainable.
So readers, I invite you this week to notice what you’re noticing.
If love means full presence and focus, where are you consciously and unconsciously sending your love? What in your life are you focusing on and caring about that really does not deserve your time?
If you truly loved your food this week, how would you your eating experiences be different? If you truly loved yourself, what would you do differently?
I would love to hear your comments below.