I originally wrote this piece on food stories for Feel Good Foodspiration, it was in issue 1 and I had many replies of how helpful the journal prompts had been.
What is Feel Good Foodspiration?
Feel Good Foodspiration is a weekly email which features four recipes from around the internet that I think will inspire you to get more creative in the kitchen, a section on what I've been eating each week, a Happy Eating Encouragement column taking a look at subjects such as food stories, food labelling and how to overcome certain thought patterns regarding food, a feel good food phrase for the week ahead and any of my own food news I have to share with you. If you'd like to be part of the Feel Good Food Tribe just pop your email address either next to this text or below, depending on what size screen you're on. You'll also be given automatic access to the downloadables in my resources library.
We all have food stories we tell ourselves, we always will. That voice telling us those stories is our conditioned mind. Now our conditioned mind isn’t actually very kind most of the time. It takes what we have ‘learned’ from the past - our experiences, lessons, upsets and achievements together with the collective cultural mindset we have inherited, to create stories. The collective cultural mindset is made up of behaviours we witnessed whilst growing up by those around us - parents, teachers, friends as well as what we subconsciously consume from the media and social ideals.
These stories are created out of a primal need to protect us and survive - something we don’t need quite so much anymore. Our mind has analysed how and when we have been rewarded for particular past actions, even if it’s just a “well done!”. That “well done”, though very small, is recognised as a reward and can often be quite damaging if linked to dieting/body image/ food. Social acceptance is a HUGE reward for the ego.
Our present is clouded by judgement created through the eyes of our past. We get a totally distorted view of the present - for those with internal struggles surrounding food and body stories, this realisation is pretty huge.
In order to take control we must pay attention and listen to the stories we tell ourselves on repeat. “Because I have no self control , I hate the way my body looks.” “I shouldn’t eat chocolate because it makes me fat.” “Eating this really quickly and not enjoying it because it makes me feel guilt AF is okay.”
Write these thoughts down on paper WITHOUT judgement. If we judge these stories we are identifying with them. We are once again becoming The Thinker. Observe impartially, write the stories down and try to get to the bottom of why you tell yourself these untrue things. In order to take control of our happiness, all of our happiness - even the joy we find in food and our body image, we often need to get to the bottom of why we tell ourselves these awful stories.
I find journaling and writing things down ever so helpful, jotting all of those thoughts down on paper and reading them from a different perspective often shows me how strategic my mind is. It gives me clarity and space to breathe and more often than not nurtures a loving kindness towards myself regarding the things I berate myself with. Don’t aim to completely banish these thoughts, instead aim to listen, observe, accept and give yourself kindness. Correct yourself with as much compassion and love as you would if you were correcting a toddler.
Here are 3 Journaling prompts to unravel these food stories taken from a homework assignment I give to my clients. If you'd like to delve into this further, please take a look at my work with me page.
I don’t deserve to eat what I want to eat because…
Food that makes me feel guilty is….. because…
I sometimes feel disappointed in myself for eating something because…