When I was younger my mother used to admire my ability to withhold myself from eating certain foods. “You have such an amazing will power,” she would say. My response was always the same, “Mom, it is not will power, I just don’t use food as a way to deal with my emotions.” You see, mom always associated food with some kind of reward or as a way to recover from a stressful day. Perhaps it was the grief she felt my father brought her or the million responsibilities she had on her plate. I know mom would be the first to admit, there have been plenty of times she turned to food (especially donuts) to placate the day.
Despite her relationship with food I have to admit my mother managed to keep herself quite fit. She would probably say her belly was always chubby but I never saw it that way. Food for me, when I was with mom, was a source of connection, a time to settle down and have a conversation. I do remember however, what her face would look like after eating a hot fudge sundae, the temporary glaze of guilt which she would quickly sweep away with a smile. Mom was always a pro at putting her best foot forward and moving onward to the next thing.
What I have learned about emotional eating is it can go either way. The label itself can imply that associating feelings with eating is somehow bad or dysfunctional. I would be the first to admit, treating myself with a latte brings me a sense of pleasure. Food is such an integral part of culture and to shame myself into believing that somehow I am bad or wrong for using it as a source of pleasure and connection seems ludicrous.
The concept of “emotional eating” really became of interest to me after working with several clients referred by their nutritionist. The nutritionist would put them on a program, while I would investigate the true causes of their tendency to reach for food during times of stress. Now, I would probably be a millionaire if I came up with one solid solution however, I found a number of reasons people tend to have a love, hate relationship with food. The reasons ranged from not feeling good enough, being bored, a self-sabotaging habit, and/or a way to protect oneself from feeling pain. I also found, for many, food was a source of comfort, a way to get their unconscious needs met and escape from having to deal with what was really happening in their lives. Most of all, I found food is something people so easily associate with love. For the ones who believed love was absent, food seemed like the most user friendly replacement.
Now, if you have read my book Choosing Love, you know I have cleared all those bullshit lies about love. As I often tell my clients, love never left you. This is because love doesn’t leave, it is always present, just not the way you may have hoped it would be. Love, just like food, is a form of energy, a vibrational frequency in motion. Energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be transformed into something new. This means, when it comes to food, both you and I have a choice, to digest it from a place (vibration) of love or fear.
I will never forget the first time I was exposed to a mantra. It was over fifteen years ago, during a time period when I was truly lost from love. It would be a beautiful yoga teacher named Lora, who would introduce me to the sacred tool of a mantra. Mantras are sounds, syllables or phrases which are repeated. The word mantra is Sanskrit and when broken down means man (man) and tra (freeing of the mind). A few years ago, I started to develop a solid mantra practice. After experiencing the benefits it seemed natural to want to know more about this ancient, powerful practice. So I rolled up my sleeves did some research, asked my guides for support and wrote a book called Mantras Made Easy. My intention was to maintain the integrity of the practice while integrating it into practical, day to day experiences.
Once the clients I worked with were able to identify some of the core reasons why they reacted to food in the way in which they did, the next step was to give them a tool for transforming their own energy. This how I mantras related to emotional eating. In other words, the statements would help them to alter their relationship with food from fear to love.
Mantras are a three thousand year old practice. Similar to yoga they have preserved their way through time. Although much of the research focused on mantras in the Sanskrit (Hindu) language, present day science illustrates the power of reciting mantras in your native language. Now because emotional eating goes far beyond the food, I have put together some mantras which address it on a deeper level. The key is that you recite these mantras daily. I would suggest a minimum of ten times per day for at least forty days. When reciting a mantra it must be stated out loud and, similar to the ones I provided in Mantras Made Easy, it is best if the mantra is written in the present tense.
Here are several mantras to choose from. I would suggest you recite the ones you are drawn to. I find people tend to pick the ones they think are best. However, I encourage you to select the one which you resonate with in your heart. I would rather you feel connected to the mantra than to do what you think will work. What I have found is having a harmonious relationship with food comes from the ability to receive the energy of the heart. A mantra practice will teach you how to do this.
Now, let the mantras begin!
- Now that I have healed my relationship with food, I am able to digest energy with more ease.
- I am worthy of having energy.
- Thank you food for nourishing my body with your sacred energy.
- Being mindful of what I choose to nourish my body comes easily and naturally now.
- I am safe.
- I allow myself to feel everything now.
- Being in my body feels good.
- I am worthy of a sexy, healthy body.
- I am connected, supported and loved.
- Now that I am receiving love fully I am lighter and free.
When comes to food, I say enjoy it. Let yourself be present to the experience. Notice however, what your motivation is. Ask yourself, is food a way to avoid conflict? Does it keep you company? Is there something from your past you are working really hard to keep at bay? If so, my friend, mantras can help you transform all of this. Recite them daily and it will lift the energy transforming your perceptions leading to a healthier more mindful relationship with food.