Here is a secret. I am not the best at balancing. Not with my emotions, not with my relationships, not with my alcohol consumption (eh, how many mother’s are with that last one?LOL).
Lately, I have been reflecting on the term balance and how it is used in our relationship to food. We so often here the statement, “It’s all about balance.” What does that even mean? No one really explains it. Like, it kind of makes sense because we all have an idea of what balance is supposed to look like with our food.
Eat the right portions!
Include lots of veggies!
Don’t eat too much processed foods!
Avoid having dessert every night and if you do have it, make sure you only enjoy half of the amount you actually want!
Anyone else experiencing heart palpitations and sweaty palms just from reading all that?
Balance is meant to be zen-like. It is supposed to reflect a state of peace and contentment. It’s emotional. Know what else is emotional? Eating!
Food and our emotions are intertwined. Our emotions change daily, even minute to minute. If we seek to find balance with food before we seek to find balance with our internal selves than we are fighting a losing battle. In fact, we should not even have to try to seek balance with our food. Balanced eating should be reflected by a balanced spirit.
We have been taught a lie by the diet industry. That if we can just get a handle on our food, on our portions, on our cravings then we will have balance.
For starters, everyone’s balance is different. When you understand that balance has zero to do with your food (which we all know carries the same definition in diet culture across the board; eat your veggies, limit your sugar, no more than one glass of wine a night, ect) and everything to do with your spirit, you understand that as uniquely created beings we all have souls that require different elements at different times for the purpose of both receiving and maintaining spiritual balance. In other words, we are works in progress. Our definition of balance will constantly be changing.
So will what we feel like having for dinner.
It’s so tempting to take words that are meant for good and place an unhealthy focus on them. Personally, I am really good at turning something healthy into un- healthy. The term “balance” has not been sparred.
I have realized that in my pursuit of “balanced” eating, I have lost the joy in food. I eat in order to maintain an ideal of myself that is not at all in tune with my spiritual needs. It comes from a desire to control. A need to give myself affirmation in an area I constantly feel I am failing myself (my body).
It is far easier to control what we put in our mouths than how we feel about ourselves.
My body is not the issue. Nor is the food I eat. It is my sense of self that needs attention. If I put half the amount of energy into finding a balanced spirit instead of a balanced supper, I would never have to second guess that second helping again.
Balance should never create anxiety in you. It should never be a judging voice you hear in the back of your head as you debate eating that other slice of pizza. Balance is not another diet rule you have to follow only to feel like a failure when you don’t. If balance is a word you so badly want to follow with your food but keep finding that you are falling short, then it is not time to try a new approach. It is time to re-work your personal definition.
The way I speak to myself, the sort of disregard I can have, the disapproval, the self-hatred, the unjustified reasons to be something other than what I already am…all of that has the power to decide what I put into my mouth. My need for control and perpetual perfection manifests itself in what is on my plate (or straight out the bag, depending on what day you catch me.)
We hold onto balance in our eating as a means of control. We feel that if we can just control balanced eating then everything else will fall in to place. It’s smooth sailing after that.
Um, ya…how’s that working for you so far?
Eating is not smooth sailing. Nothing can be smooth sailing when emotions are involved and emotions are SO involved in our eating.
Trying to rid emotions from your food choices is a near impossible task. Your desire to be fed (be it a salad or a doughnut) is not the problem. Your inability to honor yourself in a judge-free and loving manner might be.
If you want to know how to find balance with your food, the answer is you must find balance with yourself. It is not a quick fix. You most certainly can lose ten pounds faster than you can free yourself of negative, self-destructive baggage. I ain’t gonna lie.
At some point though, you will be sick of battling yourself. You will grow weary of trying to attain peripheral balance. You will have a weekend of nothing but mac and cheese and margaritas and you will hate yourself for it.
Why not just stop with all the excuses and get down to the nitty gritty once and for all. Tune in to that part you have been avoiding, hiding from, ignoring. You know, the one that desperately needs some love, forgiveness and compassion from you right about now. Ask yourself what balance looks like for you emotionally in your life in this currant season. If you believe you have been in a period of unbalanced eating by your own definition, do not place judgement on yourself. Rather, seek out where the need for comfort and security is coming from. Then put some of that beautiful energy of yours towards healing…not by first, how you eat but first, how you treat yourself!