Blog post title card with a beige background and pink and orange modern flower that says, how to be clear confident and trust your food choices.

With an overwhelming amount of food choices at any given moment, it can be challenging to be clear, confident, and trusting of your food choices.

Not only the number of choices we have (go down the cereal or yogurt aisle of any supermarket in the States) but also the food and nutrition information/advice we are exposed to—regardless of fact or fiction—is, in a word, excessive.

How do you know what is best?

What is “good” for you?

What will satisfy you?

Does the portion size on the package make sense given your hunger, the actual amount of food, the type of nutrition (protein, carbohydrate, fat), portion description, etc.?

It’s easy to be confused, no matter how smart you are! How will you ever trust your food choices?

And then we factor in the emotional component…

The part of your brain that wants permission to have whatever you like when you like. It may scream for ice cream for every meal, focusing only on immediate relief. That part of you probably doesn’t want to slow down, so look inside yourself and find out what you like.

That’s OK. You need this part of you for emergencies when making a snap decision. Gratefully, most of the time, it isn’t an emergency.

It would be best if you had a plan to break the habit of impulsively reacting to food.

Conscious Eating provides a foundation for building a better, more peaceful relationship with food so you can trust your food choices.

What if your emotional part seeks comfort, excitement, interest, pleasure, escape, or something else?

You probably know what I’m about to say; it’s nothing new.

Comfort foods are just that, created to satisfy an emotional need. They’re usually meant to provide immediate relief from what’s troubling you.

That’s why they work to comfort you while you’re enjoying the food. But then you’re reminded of your desires beyond the immediate, and guilt, shame, and disappointment reappear.

This is where Conscious Eating is your “most terrible gift,” as an old colleague used to say. It’s terrible in that it isn’t easy, but a gift in that it sets you free!

Trusting yourself and being emotional is rarely thought of together, yet it’s often helpful.

It can be like your first swim of the summer.

Dive in and swim around a bit and get to know the temperature.   

Feel the firmness of the sand beneath your feet and the lightness when you wade into the waves.

They lift you up and then gently sit you back down on the soft sand swirling around your toes as the tide recedes. Peace on the water is restored…until the next wave…

This process leads you to Conscious Eating—developing the skills you need to ride the wave of emotion.

This is the process:

  • feeling
  • experiencing
  • understanding
  • moving through

You can move through stress eating and reach a place where you no longer need it and you can trust both your food choices and your emotions.

You feel at peace with yourself, and food has its proper place- nourishment that allows you to enjoy yourself and live your life with consciousness and presence –nourishment in mind, body, and heart.

Learning to trust your food choices is a three-part process.

  1. Have a thoughtful plan about your “Big Picture.” What is your overall goal? It is not short-term, “six weeks to a bikini body,” but what do you want in life? Rarely is dieting about just losing weight. All thoughts, feelings, meanings, etc., are wrapped up in “I want my body to be different” and moving toward “I want to have peaceful, fulfilling relationships with myself and others.”
  2. Thoughtfully assess your current situation. You will practice being present a lot! Some questions we’ll explore are: What are your options – food, stress relief, work, home, etc.? What is your current energy level, and how does this determine what comes next? Are you authentically living from your heart?
  3. Keep your focus on your future. What will your life be like when you’re at peace and have the goal in hand? This is your payoff, the big motivator- living the life you need and desire! Visualize your life in the future as you want it to be. Create small goals to help you step toward the larger goal each day. Before you know it, you’ll be much closer and more at peace than you think.

Clear, conscious choice requires you to think about and choose your next move. Although this can feel complicated, it’s the natural process of growth.  Let’s get started!

The Big Picture or Your Vision for Your Life

When you look at your life, how do you want it to be? What kind of life are you creating? What are the most important components, values, and lifestyles that lead you to peace?  Is this the life you need to live for fulfillment and contentment?

Two critical aspects of this question are:

  1. What do you want your relationship with your body to be like?
  2. How do you need to talk to yourself so that you continue to grow?

The big picture is an evolving process where you refine as you go.

You can define your goals through brainstorming, mind maps, vision boards and goal sheets. These are all great ways to help you determine what’s essential in your life.

When you focus on growth, you’ll see patterns and ideas repeat. Do they capture your future vision for your life?

Although you may not be able to plan down to the exact job, home, or body, you can think about the qualities you need in these areas of your life and invest in transforming them.

You can get a sense of your future life with statements like,

“I want to work in a company that values employees’ ________ (creativity, family, innovation, free time, etc.).”  

“I want to live in a community that values _________ (sustainability, conversation, density, fresh country air, privacy, etc.).”

This will guide you to be on the lookout for what you want and see if it feels like a good fit.

You’ll begin to trust yourself, especially when it comes to more minor decisions like your food choices.

Remember, you can choose something different if you get there and find it wasn’t what you thought.

Use the information to guide your next choice and grow in your confidence and trust in yourself.

Assess your current life situation

Now that we’ve got the big picture in focus, getting there is a process of smaller steps or choice-by-choice decisions you make daily.

To get there, you’ll make choices that sometimes align with Conscious Eating and occasionally don’t.

You don’t need to be perfect. Your mistakes will help you identify where you are and how to get to the next place.

Keep your big picture as your foundation for the skills you develop along the way and use them regularly.

You’ll need a process to help you through the challenges.  Give yourself the time and attention you need to learn new skills. Changing stress eating requires intention and a process of conscious choice-making.

Some ideas to keep you present for yourself:

  • Develop a positive growth-oriented mantra; you can find examples here.
  • Journal to keep you focused on the present and get the internal chatter out of your head.
  • Practice yoga, mindfulness, and simple stretching. These mind/body practices can help you get your mind and body in sync.
  • Do only one thing while eating. Eat in peace. Sit at the table and enjoy your food. You may find that you get full faster or that what you thought was enough wasn’t, and you need more. You may discover that you don’t like what you thought you did. Being quiet when you eat has many things to teach you.
  • When your mind wanders down the path of self-doubt, reach out a hand and pull yourself back to growth. Read positive quotes, listen to fun music, and call a friend. There is a push and pull with growth, always inching in the direction of growth.

Keep your focus on the future and trust your follow-through

Keep your eyes on the future. This is especially important when you’re developing new habits and your way of being within yourself is different. Like most new things it takes time to learn the ins and outs of new habits.

Transformation requires fortitude.

There are lots of things that can be improved. Take the opportunity to learn more about yourself and how to make adjustments that help you reach your goals.

Shift any negative internal dialogue into curiosity.

“If I thought about this in the context of my big-picture goals, how would I do things differently?”

Take action

Make a plan, and you will get there bit by bit. If you feel a challenge sweeping you away, take a minute to check your point of view and refocus.

New ways initially feel clunky because you haven’t built up the experience of doing things the new way and that’s okay.

You’ll learn that, just like standing on the shore, you will find the spot where the waves are no threat. They pleasantly and peacefully wash over your feet, relaxing in the sand. Even when it feels different, it’s also pleasant and perspective-shifting.

Change is a process of interrelated exchanges and adjustments

Think about Conscious Eating as a cycle with moving parts that are both unique and predictable at the same time.

Sometimes, you focus on the big picture and get solid in where you’re going.

Sometimes, you’re focused on the present, working with the emotion you’re experiencing in the moment and rolling through turbulent waves.

Other times, you focus on the future, visualizing your life a week, month, or year from now and bask in the feelings of contentment.

Each part of the process needs the other to move forward.

Continuing to make adjustments as you become more confident in the skills you develop along the way.

You are allowing general emotionality to become a specific feeling that you recognize and know what helps you move through it so that you care for yourself compassionately.

Summing up

You can be straightforward and confident and trust your food choices.

This road is much less about specific foods, which isn’t the point anyway.

Clarity is knowing what is best for you now and trusting that you have the strategy and skills for wise choices.

You know that life is ever-evolving, and participating in creating the life you need and desire requires flexibility and grace.

Peace with food is right there for you.