Article published in Karen Knowler
's Successfully Raw
Why Awareness Is Your First Step to Food Freedom
It can be really quite amazing: when we first start paying more attention to what we eat and really think about it properly, inevitably we will start to become increasingly aware of old patterns and habits around our eating habits that also aren’t serving us and begin to question those too.
It’s not uncommon for us to realise, for example, that previously we would eat:
a) When we’re not hungry
b) Because someone offered us something and we didn’t want to say no
c) Because we were taught always to clean our plate
d) Because we were bored, tired, stressed, depressed, feeling stuck or wanted some kind of stimulation or numbing to occur
As the purer foods start to come in, all of these things and many more besides come up for the assessing, and it’s here that the journey to food freedom really begins
Because when we start becoming more aware about not just what we eat, but how, when, why, where and even with whom, that’s when a whole can of worms can be opened up. And this is where the new chapter starts and everything that has gone before – everything that has never really served us – comes fully onto our radar, and we then have the choice as to whether we “keep, replace or modify” that particular behaviour or habit around food.
For my own part and those of many others, I know that this isn’t always easy. In fact, so entrenched are our beliefs, habits and choices around food
that over the years we have come to see them as part of us rather than something we can choose to continue with or let go of like an old worn out coat.
For this reason, on week 1 of the 30 Days To Raw group support program, rather surprisingly to course participants who often join expecting me to tell them what to do and what not to do, we don’t spend barely any time at all discussing what food we are eating, or “should” be eating or devising menu plans – as this is way too far head of the game
; instead we spend the first 7 days focussed entirely on developing AWARENESS as that is essentially what will take each participant from a sense of powerlessness to a new, much more more enlightened and empowered place altogether. It’s from here that we can begin to see what they are dealing with and therefore start to address each limiting belief or habit one by one, in order to chart the path to freedom – which is really very easy
once the initial clarity has been achieved.
So how can you begin to do the same thing for yourself?
In the 30 Days To Raw Program we take it from the top and the top is taking a look at...
Eating only when hungry
This is the single most important habit to acquire
if you want to be as lean, radiant and energetic as possible. This is quite simply because when you eat more than your body needs you are likely to gain excess weight (unless you have a body type or metabolism which means that you can get away with it or poor absorption which means your body won’t be fully “receiving” most of what you eat), and also, as digestion utilises more energy than any other physical activity, your body won’t have the energy available to put into other more useful activities such as cleaning house, and you won’t feel as energetic as you could because your body is busy processing and digesting your food.
So, start here and ask yourself:
Do you eat only when hungry? If not, why not?
The longer you can stay with this question and let all the many answers spring up, the more you’ll be able to clearly see where you’ve been limiting yourself in the past.
Some common examples of answers to this question are:
“I eat when I’m not hungry...
“...when I’m sad”
“...when I’m tired but don’t want to go to bed”
“...because I just enjoy food too much”
“...because my kids don’t finish their meals and I don’t want to waste it”
“...because the clock says it’s time”
“...because I don’t know what else to do”
“...because I was cleaning out the fridge and found a piece of cheese that needed eating”
“...because the cake looked too good not to eat”
Needless to say, these are but a few examples of many!
You will have your own list
, but what I can tell you for a fact is that 99% of people that I have taught and coached over the years say that they don’t
only eat when hungry, and of course, this is where I started too! (The good news is this can be completely reversed).
So, how do we start to rectify this?
There’s many things you can do, but the first step is to get clarity
on your own reasons why – knowledge is power, remember! (Or as Anthony Robbins would more correctly say, knowledge is power when you use it!)
When you have your list, the next step is to dig a bit deeper and ask, “why do I eat when I’m...?” (fill in the blank). Is it because of a fear, a habit, an addiction, or something else?
Sarah frequently eats when she’s stressed out at work. She’ll constantly be nibbling fruit, nuts, crisps or some kind of snack at her desk throughout the day, and the more stressed she gets the more she eats. Naturally, every time she does this on one level she feels marginally better (partly due to “getting her teeth into something”) but simultaneously she starts to feel more tired, more anxious and of course her weight is on the increase, which creates further stress still.
Digging one layer deeper, we discover that Sarah’s underlying fear is of not being skilled enough to do the job she’s in (and of being “found out”) which in turn undermines her self-esteem.
From there, with the awareness that she is putting on weight from the overeating combined with the above, she then starts to feel that she’s not just inadequate but fat and unattractive too.
And so it goes on. Which drives the eating further because now she feels bad about all of it!
And now she’s eating for stress and pain.
From this one example it’s not hard to see why one simple problem can not only lead to over eating but also escalate into something much bigger and very quickly.
What would be more appropriate is to STOP and for Sarah to really examine what aspects of the job feel overwhelming, addressing each one in turn to see how they can be rectified – whether that be through lightening the load, delegation of the jobs Sarah isn’t trained for, or even changing jobs.
So as you can see, though we started with chaos, by just taking a couple of minutes to really look, to really become AWARE about what the issues are we can prevent the downward spiral, or heal an existing one, and very quickly begin to create order, balance, harmony and peace once more
And so this is why awareness absolutely is the first step on the path to food freedom, and by starting here only greater strength, clarity and power
If you feel ready to take that first step why not join us on the 30 Days To Raw Program
- I'd love to help you free yourself from whatever has been standing in your way and get to where you want to go (you set your own goals, not me!). It's a ton of fun and you'll be sharing your journey and insights with some truly wonderful people just like you!
© 2007 Karen Knowler
, The Raw Food Coach publishes "Successfully Raw" - a free weekly eZine for raw food lovers everywhere. If you're ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now at www.TheRawFoodCoach.com