Think about that – how you do food is how you do life. What do I mean, “how you do food?”
Well, I’d like you to answer that question for yourself. At this particular time in your life, what is food to you? Do you give it much thought? Do you attempt to control it? Do you get bored with food? Are you inspired by it? Do you enjoy it? Are you struggling with it? Is it nourishing you? Are you rushing through it?
Get a sense for your relationship to food right now. Now think about how that relates to your life. What connections can you make?
Let me give you an example from my own life. My relationship to food and how I “do” food has changed quite a bit over different periods of my life, and has grown along with me as a person.
I am currently going through a big transition period. My husband and I quit our jobs, sold most of our possessions and moved to another country! We still are uncertain of our future in big ways. What jobs will we find? Where will we live? Will we have to move back? BIG transition with BIG uncertainties.
My food during this time has been erratic and kind of “anything goes.” I don’t know what I’ll have for breakfast or lunch until that day. I do plan dinners because I’m cooking for the household, but it’s whatever is somewhat healthy and everyone likes. There is a bit of freedom in just going-with-the-flow-style eating, and other times it leaves me feeling out of balance physically because I don’t always make the best choices.
Uncertain, changeable eating mirrors my current life. I prepare and plan for what I can, but the big things are really undecided. Just as with the food, there is both a sense of freedom in this, and a sense of unbalance and not feeling grounded. That’s just where my life is right now.
The fascinating thing about food is that we sometimes use it or manipulate it when we want something in our lives to change, but we don’t know how to make that change.
For instance, over the past couple weeks I have really wanted more of a sense of direction. I wanted to work toward something, to have a destination, to feel more certain.
So as I attempted to plan out and structure my life, I got more and more overwhelmed because so much is still up in the air. I wanted to build in as much structure and certainty as I could in my coaching practice (or future practice) and felt like I was spinning in circles.
Naturally, I am now growing attracted again to a structured meal plan. I used to use these two week done-for-you meal plans I found online and follow them religiously for those two weeks. They helped me feel more settled, grounded, and certain.
Since they are healthy and balanced plans, I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with doing that to bring a sense of calm. I do think it’s important to recognize the real reason why I would use them, and work on the underlying issue as best I can. I think of it like a temporary crutch while I work on feeling more balanced and grounded in my life.
Our habits and patterns with food can be very eye-opening to what’s really going on in the themes of our lives. Your food patterns can either mirror your current lifestyle and emotions, or they can be a balancing act to help you bring in what you’re missing or can’t seem to find in the grander scheme of life.
So take a moment to reflect on your own food patterns right now. Are they mirroring your life? Are you manipulating your food in ways you wish you could manipulate your life? And the last and most important question…how is it working for you?
I would so love to hear from you in the comments below about your own reflections on how your food and life are related!