Back to Basics: Diet

When it comes to caring for ourselves through what we eat, although it sounds quite simple, it can prove to be very complicated indeed! Not only do we receive so much advice about what is healthy and what it not, we also have to contend with the messages we received growing-up about food (food as nourishment, pleasure, reward, punishment, power – the meanings we give to food can seem endless and relentless). If we struggle with using alcohol in a healthy enough, controlled way, we always have the option of dealing with the struggle through abstinence. But that’s not an option with food – not unless we descended into the full-blown misery of anorexia and its very real death risk.
So how do we start to understand, explore and begin to feel in control around food? How do we care for ourselves through what we eat? How do we stop using food to mask, surpress or express our feelings? I believe the place to start is wherever we find ourselves; whatever is worrying or shaming us, where the emotional impact lies. And to start with gentleness, understanding, kind attention. Food is hugely emotive for most of us. As we begin to explore and experience its particular meanings and feelings for each of us, we take the vital step towards allowing ourselves the possibility of doing things differently, of making choices that suit us better right now.

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