A New Year, Self Love & the Psychology of Food |Pittsburgh Personal Branding Photographer
That's a mouthful. Pun totally intended. It's funny what the universe brings you when you're looking the other way. Sometimes it's an idea, or a new path to follow...and sometimes it's a person. Meet Kathryn. Kathryn is an incredibly interesting person. She has this insight that is really spot on and a way of listening that all combines into a person I really wanted to get to know. Plus she's funny as shit.
Kathryn contacted me about doing a shoot for her. She wanted to update her online business photos, and double up on using them as a Christmas gift for the family. Done! So, as I'm reading through her email I notice her motto and a link to her website in her signature line: "Beyond Emotional Eating. www.kfoleywellness.com." And then I followed the link:
"I am a Holistic Life and Eating Psychology Coach. But really, I'm a Pirate Queen committed to strengthening your conviction in your own worth. I want to help you develop the mental, physical, and emotional strength to use and trust your body, mind, soul, and world."
I was hooked.
If you have read through my blog you'll know that my family tries to use food medicinally. John has a disease that we have chosen to treat holistically, rather than with Western medicine and as such, have had to develop a new knowledge-base of how to eat food with a purpose. It meant developing a new lifestyle and I knew it had to be a team-effort approach if we had a chance of it being successful for John's body. We've been going strong for a decade and it's been very interesting. I'm happy to say it helped John tremendously and the side effect for me was that I was able to feed my body well too.
However, what I didn't know was that in the midst of this decade, I had also unintentionally compromised my own autonomy and freedom with my own choices in what I eat. I was so headstrong on this being a team effort, I didn't understand that I was denying myself the basic right to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. I had ingrained myself into "This is good for me. This is not good for me" so much that I irritatingly developed a love/hate, guilt/more guilt relationship with food. It's one of the most frustrating conundrums I have ever had to deal with. I want a burger, so I'll have a salad and sit in food envy disgust while I salivate over what my friend got....because she actually ordered what she wanted. Dammit.
To top it all off, I just so happen to have a personality that works completely and absolutely against restraint. But of course, John, does not. If you told John "You can no longer breathe oxygen for life" his response would be "OK. I'm on it!" But me? *sigh* If I think I can't have something, I must possess it, own it, overtake its being and consume it like it is the very last whatever-it-is on earth. You just watch me make this burger my bitch.
Insert Kathryn. Here was this woman telling me that, in order to live a fully-engaged life, I needed to...wait for it....eat whatever the hell I wanted. Ummm....yeah. Sure. And Starbucks has just been declared a health-beverage joint...with all calorie-free products.
But get this. She was right. Now, I'm not going to say this is easy, because it's not. When I say "ignorance is bliss" I really mean it. I know too much about food. And what's more disappointing, I know too much about our own nation's food (mal)practices and agricultural buffoonery. It makes me want to move to some mountainous region of France where the villagers would giggle at terms like "hydrogenated" and "high fructose" and certainly not know what to make of the word "processed".
But alas...I am here. In the present and now, with my stomach and all its trickery. But could it be true? Could I eat chocolate till I puked?? Could I role around in mass amounts of red meat till I resembled Lady Gaga and her ensemble of a dead carcass??
Could I, without repercussions, skip and hop my way through the forest of food gluttony while singing "the hills are alive with the taste of whatever the f**k I want?"
Um. No. It's a liiiiiiiittle more complicated than that (dammit). The point is to listen to your body, Kathryn told me. To honor its needs by giving it what it craved at the time its craving it. So it actually has nothing to do with gluttony (dammit), but everything to do with feeding your appetite with the mindfulness of the food you're choosing. And yes, of course there is so so so much more to it than that. But I'm excited to tell you that I'm in the beginning phases of a new journey that will hopefully, in the end, allow me to feel fulfilled and righteous in my choices, while also nourishing my body (and soul) with food and autonomy.
So yes, now, when I'm salivating over the thought of making a burger my bitch, I get to bitching. And when I feel like my body needs some energy and peace, I give it what it craves in that moment (usually, for me, fruits and veggies). But the most important thing Kathryn taught me was to be thankful for the food I was about to eat at every meal and to eat each morsel as the blessing of nutrition it was going to bring my body. I didn't realize how important that really was, until I started actually blessing my food and taking a moment to be grateful for it.
It's not a perfect science for me and I would suspect it never will be. But having some kind of insight into my relationship with food has brought me a bit of hope for the New Year. I don't make resolutions (hello...did you not read the bit about my distinct aversion to restraint??) but I do give room for newness, hope and change. Can't go wrong with that.
So, if you happen to be in the market for a food coach that helps you put a new spin on food, feel free to contact Kathryn. And I'm super-excited to share with you that, just in time for the fresh start of a New Year, she is offering a newly-launched 8 week online workshop entitled, "Beyond Emotional Eating: Love Your Appetite". MAN that sounds like the bomb! Oh--and did I mention that Kathryn also just so happens to own a gym? No, I will not shut the front door. It's true.
Don't hesitate to get in touch with Kathryn and poke her brain for a bit about whatever it is you have questions about. She's way smart, so funny, crazy intuitive and, oh yeah...she's one heck of a food goddess. ;)
Stunning makeover by Hannah Conard of Hannah Conard Beauty.