The “N” in the KIND Approach to eating stands for nourishment. One definition of nourish is “to cause (something) to develop or grow stronger” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. You may be surprised that I didn’t list the more conventional definition of nourish first which is “to provide (someone or something) with food…”
Honestly, we need both definitions of nourishment to gain a healthy and KIND relationship with food. Nourishment of the mind, body, heart and soul is the key to finding fulfillment, pleasure and joy in life which eliminates the need for emotional eating. Most importantly, it creates balance in life that serves to keep us emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy. I always say “it’s not about the food” and the below concepts of nourishment clarify what I mean by that.
- MIND NOURISHMENT. One of the best things you can do for your well-being is to quiet the mind which brings about a sense of peace and contentment. This is primarily accomplished through meditation. Sogyal Rinpoche in the book The Healing Power of Meditation writes, “As the mind settles into the practice of meditation, something extraordinary seems to take place. For a start, our restless, thinking mind subsides into a state of deep inner peace, the scattered, fragmented aspects of ourselves come home, and we can become whole. Those contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings that fight for control over our inner lives settle and become friends, the pain and distress of struggling with ourselves dissolve, and a deep and compassionate forgiveness of ourselves becomes possible. Overall, we notice that with regular meditation practice, negativity is undone, speed and aggression are pacified, frustration, tension, and turbulent emotions are defused, and the unkindness, violence, and harm in us are removed, revealing our inherent “good heart,” the fundamental goodness and kindness that is our true nature.” You see, our thoughts, feelings and emotions are fleeting and don’t necessarily reflect our true selves because they often are influenced by external forces. Once our mind quiets these fleeting things, we can truly know a peace that can be sustained through the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Meditation doesn’t have to be hard and doesn’t have to be performed for hours every day. Get comfortable meditating for 2 minutes and then increase gradually and I bet you will eventually experience what Rinpoche describes.
- BODY NOURISHMENT. Nourishing the body not only means eating well and moving but refers to self-care that often gets neglected. Massages, manicures (for men and women!), haircuts and luxurious baths are ways to nourish the body. Slowly eating the highest quality food is just as important as WHAT you eat and is one of the most nourishing things you can do to heal emotional eating and extra weight. Moving your body is nourishing only if you feel a sense of embodiment, happiness and joyful anticipation of the activity.
- HEART NOURISHMENT. All humans need intimacy and love. I believe the most important intimate relationship you can have is with yourself. Love yourself as you are now, regardless of your weight or appearance. My teacher, Marc David, says, “You can’t hate yourself into weight loss.” This is very true but is a hard concept to practice because we’ve spent so long hating our eating behavior that it’s transformed into hatred of ourselves. De-toxing this belief will deeply nourish and heal your heart.
- SOUL NOURISHMENT. We all have a purpose in life. What is your purpose or passion? What are your deepest desires? Are you in tune with your spirituality (whether it be organized religion or atheism)? Soul-searching to determine the answers to these questions and taking steps to make your desires reality will allow you to live in accordance with your true Self. This is so helpful because living outside of your true Self often leads to emotional eating.
“Love what is” by nourishing yourself in these 4 ways because it diminishes unwanted eating behavior by promoting a sense of well-being. A heightened sense of well-being paves the way to becoming a mindful and intuitive eater which is the key to breaking free from emotional and over eating.
There are tons of valid reasons why nourishing yourself is not a top priority and we all know what they are. But is putting your nourishment last on the list serving you? Is it time to do things a bit differently because nothing else works? If the answer is yes but it seems like a daunting task, pick the easiest nourishing activity and incorporate it into your life slowly. There’s no rush or stress around these nourishing practices, they are meant for pleasure.
A more peaceful mind, a massage, loving yourself and achieving your deepest desires sounds divine, doesn’t it? Oh, did I mention that a deep sense of nourishment is metabolically beneficial? So, what are you waiting for? Harness your infinite power NOW and go forth to nourish and flourish!