The Uncomfortable Zone of a Healthy New You
I have had several conversations this week about comfort zones. In our last Connecting To God Spiritual Direction Training group, we discussed our innate desire for comfort and satisfaction. Most of the time you can live within your comfort zone. It is like a security blanket that wraps you up. You know what to expect when going to work, play, and within the communities you belong to. The challenge is that comfort zone is very hard to maintain, and it does not invite growth. Our comfort zone is challenged all the time. Because we desire comfort and want the feeling of satisfaction, it can quietly become what we live for if we are not aware. This lack of awareness can cause more dis-ease when change happens. Like waking a sleeping bear that just wants to go back to bed.
Change Brings a New World
You would think that being healthy would be in your comfort zone. For my experience, that is not the case. I am in the process of moving from facing health issues to just be what they are versus what if life could be different. This journey has moved me way outside my comfort zone and to be honest it has not been pleasant or easy. The lure of going back to life as it was is very tempting. But something happens when you go beyond what is comfortable, a new world appears. It would be like always living in the desert and then visiting snow. You may not like the cold, yet you can’t undo knowing that the world is a bigger place than you thought. It reminds me of the Israelite’s grumbling because the journey to the promised land was difficult and strange. They knew what slavery was and they wanted to return to it.
Find Others Who Support You
If you are looking to begin the journey of a healthy new year and find yourself in that uncomfortable place of change and growth, it is crucial to have others with you. Having caring people who already have the space you want to go as their comfort zone helps. They introduce you to the lay of the land. I have participated in Rhonda Vroman’s Sound Bath and Yoga Therapy. She is an amazing guide into the land of your body and soul. Debra Brunk, a nutrition consultant, is definitely a guide I have enjoyed learning from, and I look forward to taking her Eat to Nourish course. Both have given me a tour of health in a way where I get to choose my next steps and I feel more empowered to do that.
If you are ready for change in your health this year, be prepared as you will be asked to leave your comfort zone. Practice noticing the thoughts that come connected to that. For example, “It was easier when”, “This is too hard”, “This is chaotic”, “I want my old life”, etc. Be kind to yourself and find supportive guides to help you through this new and foreign land. Being in the uncomfortable is a part of living an awake life.
Eat to Nourish
By Debra Brunk
When I lived in Denmark, each holiday or tradition was defined by the food. These rituals enabled the Danish to reconnect with each other (and their traditions) over the years. As a foreigner, I first perceived this ritual as constricting. What if I wanted to have ham on Christmas instead of duck? Or apple pie instead of ris a la mande (rice pudding with almonds)? Of course, I could make those substitutions. But that meant I wasn’t Danish! The longer we lived there, the more I grew to love these traditions. There was no thinking about what we were going to have for Christmas dinner (or any other holiday). You knew what the menu was, and the stores had plenty of everything necessary to make it just like your grandmother used to make it!
Confusion Over Food
As we enter the new year, all the hype around resolutions and dieting reminds me that those of us who live in the United States don’t know how to relate to food. Our society’s diversity provides so many culinary benefits, like being able to experience pho, shepherd’s pie, street tacos and bratwurst in the space of a week. But this diversity and choice can also cause confusion. Confusion about what we like, confusion about what our bodies need, and confusion about what is good for us.
We look online for the 10 best weight loss foods, or the diet that will enable us to lose 60 lbs. in 6 weeks (this is not healthy, by the way!). We define foods as “good” or “bad”, when in fact, food has no moral bearing - it just is. We associate ‘diets’ with eating foods we don’t like - and with failure. Each of these is an example of a limiting belief. We cycle through these beliefs’ day-after-day-after-day. And there are more - so many more! We all have our individual food demons. The problem is, these demons - these beliefs - keep us stuck. We are looking for external guidance on how to eat. And we’re looking for quick fixes.
Listen to Your Mind and Body
Understanding what our bodies need to thrive is an ongoing journey and it starts within. Part of becoming the healthiest version of yourself is learning to listen to what your mind and body say about the food you eat. And our needs can change depending on our stage of life, our activity and stress levels, our relationships, and a host of other variables. Learning how to listen to our bodies enables us to make these changes as they come up - rather than continuing to eat in a way that no longer supports our health and wellbeing.
Eating to Nourish is…..
· about choosing food that you enjoy and that gives you energy and mental clarity.
· about taking the time to be grateful for the food that you eat - recognizing where it comes from and who was involved in getting that food to you. When was the last time you thought about these things?
· about slowing down and enjoying the connection that we have with food, of making eating a ritual that feeds every part of your being, rather than a quick meal in a car before we move on with the rest of our life.
· recognizing the eating is life.
Learn About Your Relationship with Food
Starting January 25, I’ll be leading a small group where we’ll discuss our relationships with food. We’ll use a book called “Nourishing Wisdom” by Marc David to help us explore our limiting beliefs about what food is, and what food is not. I first read this book when I was finishing up my master’s in nutrition in integrative health. While my education focused on working with the whole person (as opposed to separate body systems), this book provided a perspective that I hadn’t experienced before. It had a profound effect on how I think about my (and others) relationship with food. I’ve been wanting to share this book with others ever since!
In addition to reviewing and discussing the book, I’ll provide tools and exercises that I’ve personally found helpful in my relationship with food. Please consider joining us - I’d love to share this way of thinking about food with you! For more information on Eat to Nourish, click here.