Start redefining your relationship with food to redefine your life

Since my first day as a student of design my design curiosities and sensitivities have evolved into discovering, cultivating and harnessing relationships between people and the things we design. I have discovered that through the process of design people are able to define and refine their relationship with their environment, family, community, and even with their inner child. Being conscious of existing relationships helps designers design future relationships mindfully.

More recently I have become conscious of the profound impact our relationship with food has on how we live. This relationship is not just limited to fulfilling the nutritional needs of our bodies. Our relationship with food defines our relationship with everything and everyone in our life. It can shape our emotions, our choices (outside of what we eat), our goals and our sense of joy and satisfaction.

Over the past few months two radical transformations have happened in my life. the first one- I decided listen to my calling and give myself a sabbatical from my own business to heal, regenerate myself and discover a more purposeful path to the future. Also at the same time I signed up for a mindful eating program. Making these two decisions around the same time was not a coincidence. My growing consciousness of everything that affects my well being helped me gain clarity about what I need to step away from (the hustling I was doing for my business) and what I am searching for (healing and regeneration). As I started practicing mindful eating (without sacrificing the joy of eating), and started moving towards my weight loss goals, I found I was making smart choices in eating, slowing down while chewing/sipping what I was consuming, and never feeling the need to “fill my stomach” to feel satisfied. Some of the foods that I was accustomed to eating due to family/ cultural indoctrination do not lure me any more. I feel more energetic, healthy and active. The pain in my knees has reduced by 95%. Above all I feels less anxious and more curious and excited about my decision to regenerate myself with an open mind. Ambiguity about my future plans does not hold me back from experimenting with different pathways or creating my own future path. My relationship with my food is redefining my relationship with my future.

Some of the things that I learning from my evolving relationship with food are:

  1. I have recognized that fasting to lose weight is not a sustainable habit.
  2. Portion control is key to satisfaction.
  3. I do not wait to eat till I am starving. Instead of three big meals I have six small portions of delicious and nutritious foods everyday.
  4. Once in a while I give permission to reward myself with moderate indulgence.
  5. For snacking I look for healthier alternatives to the junk food I have grown used to.
  6. I seek feedback from a weighing scale everyday. I do not feel bad on the days my scale indicates weight increase due to occasional moderate indulgence in not so healthy foods, as long as the trajectory of my progress leans towards my ultimate objective.

I am applying each of these learnings from mindful eating to redesigning my life.

I quote, Mark David and Emily Rosen of the institute for the psychology of eating.

“How we do food is how we do life. Every meal is a metaphor for how you show up in the world. Are you present? Are you complaining? Are you multitasking? Add love, celebration, time, communion, and gratitude to every meal and make every meal the best meal ever.”

During the last several months I have been having conversations with friends and clients who are feeling trapped in the current state of work life balance. They feel a sense of urgency for defining their priorities and simplifying life. They know their current situation is not healthy but the alternatives are either not clear or not available. Just walking away from the present feels too risky. I felt the same way. However changing my relationship with food has given me tangible evidence of what I can achieve through mindful eating.

I propose that by practicing mindful eating we can gain clarity and confidence for mindful living. Anyone who wants to heal and regenerate her/himself should consider starting with redefining your relationship with food.

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