Last week, we reposted an article about women who make peace with eating and food by Lisa Claudia Briggs. In Lisa’s practice, she sees two eating styles that women take on when they get to a better place with food and their bodies: those who treasure simplicity and practicality, and those who evolve into so-called foodies. Today we conclude our interview with her.
Q: Are there any potential advantages or disadvantages of being a foodie?
A: The advantages might be the love of cooking and experimenting and the sensual appreciation for food that lends itself to creating beautiful food from a fresh perspective. The ability to enjoy the process and the creativity and find pleasure from that is going to infuse some happy energy into any changes being made. Knowing how to feed and nourish yourself in a loving way is an act of great self-love and healing. The disadvantage can be that food remains more of a focus than may be useful. Maybe other areas of life aren’t getting much attention where needed.
Q: Any tips to help a woman move away from fear of food to embrace the joy that can be food?
A: I believe that fears need to be understood and respected so that changes have to be organic… to come from an internal place. Some of the questions or prompts I like to offer for journaling or discussion are:
- Where do you KNOW these fears are getting in the way of who you know you want to be?
- What fears and beliefs and actions are you ready to “shed?”
- What are you willing to do to be more congruent with your true nature… To move away from an identity that has been keeping you in chains?
- What would you love to be able to do?
- If you tune in to your IntuitiveBody… what are you being called to try, to call into your life at this moment in time?
The answers are often really easy to hear. Usually, we already know, sometimes in incredibly specific ways. Ask yourself the questions. Get your pen to the paper and see what wants to “have it’s say.” If you were a woman that wasn’t afraid of food, wasn’t identified as having “problems with food” or your body, what else might you be up to? Do one small thing.
Q: These groups seem polar opposite. Do you see many women who make peace with food not fall into one of these camps?
A: I typically see women learn to slide between the two, depending on current challenges. An additional group might be women who continue to eat the way they have been. What changes instead is the energy and the judgment. They stop criticizing the choices they make. They cease the debilitating comparisons of what other women are eating. They stop chasing the next bright and shiny food trend or diet guru. What happens for this group is that they make a powerful decision to accept that this is how they do it, and it serves them. The food stays the same but they ditch the toxic mind games and “what they eat” isn’t so tied up in their identity any longer.
Q: How do you define making peace with food?
A: This should be a simple question, but I think it gets complicated because to me it really never was about the food exactly. But each of us has to find a way to nourish ourselves with food that loses the “charge.” Where you have a very good sense of which foods are the ones that most agree with your specific body, your chemistry, and your belief system. There are vampire foods - foods that will pretty much always drain you… physically and emotionally leave you feeling worse. Most of us know what they are for our specific bodies. I cannot eat gluten. I have a subclinical allergy to it and when I eat it I get physically symptomatic in addition to craving it in ways that lead to potential binges. I feel great peace without it in my body. Making peace with food also means that you can flow with changes in your life, and your body, your lifestyle or age.. and allow what you eat to change accordingly if necessary. You may try this or that, you may change this or that… it’s not who you are. And if you find yourself off track, you can find your way back without too much anguish. Because you know how to nourish yourself in so many other ways, the body wars and the battles with food are simply one piece. You make peace when you shift your identity… as somebody who is so many other things beyond these struggles. It’s not something that can be forced but that I believe happens as we begin to focus on who we are becoming.
Q: In order to make peace with food, do you think a whole new way of eating is necessary?
A: Not really. In my IntuitiveBody approach, the food is not the biggest part of the solution. What I think is most necessary is finding ways to manage the sensitive nature, the tendency to feel things deeply, that I see in my clients. To create protection and clear boundaries in navigating relationships. To learn to stop over-nurturing others at one’s own expense. To look at where the real “weight” is living… it may be not knowing how to process the energy around the heavier emotions, or how to stop absorbing the emotional energy of others. Or processing old losses. Of learning to want what you really want and to learn to be seen and heard in ways that are tolerable for you. I believe women who struggle with food and weight issues tend to “take on” a lot of other people’s feelings, often without knowing it. Learning how to keep your own energy balanced, clean and clear, without feeling guilty is incredibly helpful. And having beautiful daily rituals to stay grounded and move out the negative heavy energies is really helpful. Keeping your nervous system balanced really helps with balancing your weight. And finding a way of eating that you love and that you can live with, is essential and deeply symbolic. All of these pieces matter, in my experience. Women can feel so much better, sometimes in ways that they haven’t yet explored. Making peace with food is a gateway (and sometimes our “firewalk”) for making peace with everything.
Lisa Claudia Briggs, MSW-Intuitive, Psychospiritual Therapist and Mentor, Founder of IntuitiveBody.com.