Peanut butter ≠ love.
Differentiating between nourishing the body and nourishing the heart.
I developed an eating disorder when I was 10 years old. The why isn’t so important as is my recent realization that food became a substitute for the connection I was so hungry for. Without knowing it, I would spend the better part of two decades confusing calories for love. As such, my weight would swing from one extreme to the other and I often felt trapped inside my body. It’s only now, a few months shy of 30 that I feel equipped to begin the process of shifting my relationship with food, my body and my emotions.
So the purpose of this practice is to build the capabilities necessary to differentiate between nourishing my body and nourishing my heart.
Whereas my Current Way of Being uses food as a way to overindulge in or starve out her feelings, my New Way of Being is able to separate the act of nourishing her body from the act of nourishing her heart. My New Way of Being knows that food is just food and peanut butter does not equal love, no matter how many jars she eats. In this way, My New Way of Being is able to be with her emotions fully without using food—or hunger—as a way to not feel.
Before breakfast every day, take a few minutes to consciously and clearly separate the act of nourishing your body from the act of nourishing your heart.
Prepare your breakfast as you normally do and place it off to one side.
Take out your journal and write, “Food is just food; peanut butter does not equal love.” on the first line. Continue to write about what it is you’re feeling in that moment for one full page. Try to let whatever comes up to come out on the page.
When you finish writing, take a deep inhale and long exhale before eating your breakfast. Chew slowly and allow yourself to feel how what you’re eating is filling up your body with nutrients and energy.
When you are done eating, take another deep inhale and long exhale. Drop your awareness into your stomach and feel the fullness there. Move your awareness to your heart and check in with what’s going on in that area of your body.
If your heart is hungering for more, acknowledge that hunger. Feel how that sensation is different from the sensation of hunger that arises in your belly.
You may wish to spend a few more minutes writing about what your heart is hungry for. Maybe explore how it is you could nourish the hunger in your chest.
When you’re done, place your journal and pen aside and carry on with your day.
As breakfast becomes more routine, write before lunch and then before dinner and anytime you have a snack.
Daily Reflection Questions
At the end of your day: Please take an additional 5-10 minutes to reflect on the experience of differentiating between nourishing your body and nourishing your heart:
What were your Current Way of Being’s beliefs about what and how much she needed to eat and why?
How did your Current Way of Being react to having to write about her feelings before eating breakfast?
Where in your body did your Current way of Being check for to see if she was full?
Weekly Reflection Questions
At the end of each week: Please take 20-30 minutes to reflect on your experience of differentiating between nourishing your body and nourishing your heart:
What patterns did you notice in your Current Way of Being’s beliefs about what and how much she needed to eat and why?
What did you learn about how to get your Current Way of Being to sit down and write when she did react to the practice?
What sensations helped you to differentiate between hunger/fullness in your body and emotional hunger/fullness?