Fall is finally here! Corn mazes, hayrides, pumpkin patches, and fall festivals are all over the community where I live. This season also brings lots of messages about food.
I remember a “Cathy” cartoon from many years ago that cited Halloween as the beginning of “eating season.” (I did a quick internet search, but couldn’t find it. If anyone runs a cross it, let me know.) Indeed, we start to hear a LOT about food this time of year. We’re bombarded with tips on how we should eat, how to choose “the right” foods at parties, even how to make “healthy” versions of classic holiday dishes.
For those of us who have taken our leave from diet culture, the holiday rhetoric around food can test everything we’re working so hard to adjust in our attitudes and mindset. If we do it consciously, though, we can use this time of year as an opportunity to strengthen our practice of eating with love.
To me, the practice of listening to and honoring the cues from our own bodies AND allowing others their own body autonomy is eating with love.
Here are two practices that might help.
- Conscious quiet.
Pausing each day for even a few minutes of meditation strengthens your ability to listen inward. Listening inward allows you to feel the subtle cues of your body’s desires for food and rest. Compassion for ourselves inspires us to honor those desires.
- Acceptance of what is.
When we can accept that everyone has their own set of beliefs around food and their bodies, we can relieve our own suffering. This suffering stems from our desire to change our loved ones’ experiences or “fix” their behavior. Acceptance can be one of the most difficult practices to manage, and it doesn’t mean “giving up” or resorting to sarcasm. It just means loving unconditionally. It means accepting your loved ones without wishing they were different.
I know these are hard. They are complex, many-layered, life-long practices. Remember that awareness is really the key. So just start there. Being aware of your own thoughts and biases is the foundation of healing.