A Real Food Resolution
With the holidays behind us, there’s a lot of talk around the water cooler about New Year’s resolutions. If you listen, you’ll notice that most of them center largely on calorie restriction and losing weight. We resolve to be thinner, and use the pressure of the upcoming beach season to feed a false sense of motivation. Before we know it, the pressure gives way to frustration, regret, and self-defeat. Just as food creates an avenue of connection to others, it can also enhance (or inhibit) the connection we have with ourselves.
In the hustle of everyday life, it can be easy to forget that food is, ultimately, our life source. We may not think of this as we rush by the take-out window, because food has become something we don’t have to think about. But at what cost? One of the most critical components in improving our relationship with food is knowing where it comes from and what’s in it. We have drifted from the cherished process of cultivating, planting, and preparing foods in a way that was commonplace a hundred years ago. That said, it’s never too late to make a new start and chart a new course. Given that food is our most basic right and necessity as human beings, it makes sense that cultivating a connection with food is one of the most essential components of creating lasting change. It begins with mindfully shifting the focus from what we eat to how we eat.
Many of us have, at some point in our lives, used food as both reward and punishment. Think about it. How many times have you heard someone say, “I had a long day at work, I’m going to treat myself to a brownie,” or “Ugh! I ate way too much. I’m just going to skip dinner tonight…”? These are common ways that we both indulge and restrict our food intake based on skewed thinking rather than the innate instinct to eat when we’re hungry and stop when we’re full. As we begin to see food as nourishment; a way to keep our bodies healthy and hydrated, energetic and strong, we create a new bond that fuels and sustains us. When food becomes a valued life source, the desire to eat healthy increases while the drive to consume unhealthy foods becomes less substantial.
A few years ago, I decided to put this idea into action. Instead of making the usual commitment to an exhausting, and often fruitless, idea of losing weight, I resolved to nourish my mind, body, and spirit in new ways. I replaced the empty calories with food that would provide the sustenance and energy I was seeking. I drank more water, ate more fresh fruits and vegetables, and tried foods I previously disliked (who knew it was possible to love avocado?!). As my focus shifted away from the scale, my desire to prepare and consume healthy food increased tenfold. Embarking on this journey hasn’t always been easy, but the changes – physically, emotionally, spiritually – have been profound and lasting.
As we welcome the dawn of this brand new year, I hope we can all reconsider our resolutions and remember that the scale reflects only the numerical value of our gravitational pull. Toss it in the trash and resolve to nourish your body with food that leaves you feeling full and satisfied. Bypass the drive-thru window in exchange for some homemade goodness. Turn on the stove, turn up the music, and dance around the kitchen as you revel in the richness of your connection – to food, to life, to yourself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cheryl lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. In addition to freelance writing, she works as a private practice Mental Health Counselor in Chicopee. Cheryl is passionate about local and organic food. In 2012, she founded GMO Free Massachusetts, a grassroots organization designed to educate consumers about the benefits of an organic lifestyle while empowering people to make informed choices. Cheryl is also an avid theater-goer, a passionate writer, and aspiring playwright.