Stop trashing your body

Stop trashing your body

So many people are in pain, yet when I (or someone else) suggest(s) to them to clean up their diet from junk food and processed convenience foods in general, or from particular foods that seem to be hurting them (i.e. gluten containing bread and baked goods, dairy, coffee, alcohol, certain spices, too much fruit…), their first reaction is often NOT one of relief and excitement about having found a potential remedy to their suffering, but frustration and often even resistance. There is usually the sense of deprivation, to be taken away something precious, maybe even of punishment. Many start to argue that the ONE coffee they are having in the morning or the ONE glass of wine in the evening cannot really be the problem, if all their friends and colleagues are having at least 2-3 glasses/cups and they seem fine!

Whenever I get this reaction, I smile internally, because I know that I hit home. The stronger the resistance the more needed the suggested change usually is. For example, hot spices, coffee or red wine are known to increase heat in the body. If someone is showing symptoms of excess heat, for example recurrent headaches, dry, red eyes, joint pains, skin rashes or a lot of anger, it only makes sense that they would enjoy hot spices, coffee or red wine and thus consume those regularly. We are not only what we eat, but we also eat what we are!

So in principle, all it takes is a little shift in perspective. Rather than looking at the situation as a negative one, in which you are punished and in which something “good” is taken from you, it’s about looking at the same situation as a positive, empowering one, in which you finally identified something that could (at least partially) be responsible for your pain and suffering – even if it provides you with short-term pleasure.

Most people understand that concept for drugs, cigarettes and alcohol – all of which can make us feel high and relaxed in the short-term, yet are not a healthy nor sustainable way to release stress and enjoy pleasure. Well, the same logic applies to indulging in sugary treats, wine, alcohol or coffee, which are all powerful substances as well (sugar has even be found to be 8x more addictive than cocaine!)

So instead of choosing to remain in victim attitude and to feel pity for yourself (or maybe even to deny it all and just continue doing what you’ve always done), you can choose to feel empowered and to take on the responsibility that comes with this power. From such a perspective, it is easy to pass by the bakery, to drink herbal tea instead of coffee and to decline a dessert, because you don’t feel tempted at all to ingest something that wouldn’t support your long-term health and well-being.

Sounds easy, and in fact it is, yet in practice it’s often more complex. Strong resistance is there for a reason, usually it’s a protection mechanism. Maybe food is the ONLY little pleasure and source of relaxation you still enjoy in a life otherwise filled with work, household and family related obligations. The task then becomes to reprioritize your life, to find other, more evolved types of pleasure that TRULY nourish body and mind in the long-term – as opposed to providing short-term pleasure at the cost of long-term health and well-being.

In order for all of that to be possible, you need to be embodied and dispose of a good dose of self-respect and self-love.

The mind can only derive pleasure from something that ultimately harms the body and causes it pain, if it is disconnected from it. You can only feel deprived of something that ultimately hurts you, if you don’t truly love ourselves.

Again, you probably have a good reason for that.

Maybe you hold feelings of guilt and feel that you deserve to be punished. Maybe you believe that you don’t deserve to be healthy and happy. Maybe you experienced some kind of pain or trauma that was too much to bear and made you wish to disappear for good from this planet. All of those (usually unconscious) beliefs can make you engage in self-destructive behavior and sabotage your efforts – without you understanding why.

Disembodying implies feeling less, especially less pain, so it can be a brilliant strategy to escape pain – or so it seems. Eventually though, this very strategy to escape pain creates more pain. Anything that hurts the body also ends up hurting the mind because the two are not separate from each other – they form a unity. The gut-brain axis – hot subject of current scientific research – is just one example for this two-way communication connection. If you eat a lot of sugar and junk food, this will negatively affect your gut flora and through the connection of the gut to the brain, ultimately also your mood and mental clarity.

This dynamic goes far beyond food though. In any area of our lives can we choose for things, people, or activities that provide us short-term pleasure, but actually hurt us in the long run. Since the way we do food is usually representative of the way we do life, it can be very revealing (and confronting) to look at other areas in your life for similar patterns, too, if you know you tend to self-sabotage with food.

You are worthy and you deserve only the best treatment – from others, but first and foremost from yourself (remember, others will always treat you the way you treat yourself). So stop trashing your body please. I am here to support you on this journey, should you feel the call. 

 



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