Turns out, you have TWO bodies.
SO last week I dropped the bomb that you don’t have a food problem, you have a feelings problem. (If you missed it, read it here.) This week we are talking about your TWO bodies.
As I see it, whenever we find ourselves shoveling something into our mouths that we don’t actually want (whether it’s cookies or kale) we have lost track of which body needs feeding.
Your physical body consists of your legs, arms, stomach, lungs, etc. It’s the body that gets you around town, lifts groceries and takes the brunt of your “My arms are flabby and my thighs touch” body bashing.
Your emotional body holds all of your feelings. It’s the body that feels excited, anxious, overwhelmed, connected, stressed, and loved. It’s the one that requires as much attention as your physical body AND it’s the one you try hardest to ignore.
When I tell my clients they can eat whatever they want, the immediate response is, “Well, you mean, within reason. There’s no way it’s OK for me to eat dessert all day.”
Actually, if that’s what your physical body is asking for then, YES, it is. However, your physical body doesn’t ever ask for dessert all day because after 2 pieces of pie and a cookie, it starts to feel queasy and say, “OK, enough!” The only reason why you continue with a slice of chocolate cake, salted caramel ice cream and mini gingersnaps, is because of the shame or guilt your emotional body feels for breaking the “I shouldn’t have sugar” rule.
Every human on this planet, at least once, has fed their physical body in hopes of comforting their emotional one. The problem is, the emotional body is never satisfied with food. Try as you might, when we eat, thinking that whatever we’ve covertly put into our mouth will somehow ease our feelings, it never does. (Withholding food is also a way we try to feed our emotional body. Stay tuned for more on that to come.)
The emotional body, bless her little soul, needs something different altogether.
We feed our emotional body with physical food because we’ve never learned how to nourish her in the ways she needs.
So what does our emotional body need, you ask? Only two things. Acknowledgement and permission to feel it all.
When we can acknowledge our experience and let ourselves feel everything that comes up without judgment, we diffuse the emotions churning under the surface. Understanding settles in and suddenly there’s no need to numb out with food or become the leader of the guilt parade. In seeing and holding all of our feelings without criticism, our knee-jerk reaction to eating dessert all day dissolves because, well, our physical body didn’t want it in first place and now neither does our emotional one.
Today, see if you can play around and feel the difference between your physical body and emotional body. When you’re about to grab something to eat (broccoli, almonds, chocolate, wine, whatever) ask yourself, “Is it my physical body that’s hungry or my emotional one?” If it’s your physical body, eat up honey!
However, if it’s your emotional body, take a breath and ask, “What is it I’m feeling right now?” When those feelings come up, acknowledge them and feel it all. Simply say, “Hi there loneliness/stress/overwhelm/fear. I want you to know it’s OK that you’re here. Really.” Let your feelings exist without believing they need to change or go away and in acknowledging whatever comes up, notice what happens to your initial pull towards the food. Tweet this.
This is one of the most powerful teaching I share with my clients. It’s also the most difficult to master as sometimes, even after locating and acknowledging the feelings of our emotional body, we say “f*ck it” and grab the food anyway. That’s OK and, in fact, it’s going to happen a lot as you incorporate this process. You’ve just been given a new way to handle your food and feelings so be kind to yourself as you ease into this.
For now, focus on differentiating between your two bodies rather than the actions you take after. Naming each of them is where the real power lies as once we can distinguish between our emotional and physical body and feel into which needs feeding when, we 1) trust ourselves around food 2) no longer second guess everything that goes into our mouths, and 3) start to eat from presence and freedom rather than rules and fear.
Amazing, I know.
Lots of love, thank you for letting me share this with you and enjoy exploring your two bodies.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, make sure to join me on October 27th at 5pm PST/8pm EST for an in-depth discussion on how to release your “healthy” food rules that are doing more harm than good. Click here to sign up + get your FREE copy of the Just F*cking Eat It quick start guide.
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