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Barriers to Nourishment: Slowing Down with Food


─Casey-Ann Petty, MFTI

There are many ways to give and receive nourishment. Some receive nourishment from sitting in a lawn chair, reading a book in a nice warm sunny spot, and others by listening to music or journaling. We are also supplied with nourishment in our relationships with ourselves and others. There are endless ways and sources of nourishment available all around us. Yet so many may live lives where it is difficult to take in and digest nourishment especially in their relationship with one of the most fundamental sources of nourishment-food!

Some people have trouble slowing down with their food or may have trouble staying present with each bite. They may rush through meals standing at the kitchen sink or driving in the car. They may only allow themselves to have five minutes on the job to take in food or may grab a bite on the run. If you feel like this is you, you are not alone. Many, including myself, have been there, and I have realized that it is totally normal and human to run into these obstacles in our relationship with food…but there is hope for change.

What stops us from properly receiving nourishment? So many things may get in the way, including: work, school, family obligations, time and other distractions. We all lead extremely fast paced and stressful lives, putting constant demands on our time, emotions, bodies, and energies. Sometimes we are lucky to just get a shower and the kids to school on time, let alone taking a moment to experience and savor our food! It's unrealistic to think that we can do everything perfectly all the time, but this is not the goal. The goal is to just notice how you are taking in the experiences you are having. Notice the quality. Notice the pace. Notice your breath. If you can do these things you can start to create space between living your life on auto pilot and being the captain of your ship.

So what are we to do about our inability to take in nourishment? First, foremost, and always is KINDNESS. Having the ability to give yourself kindness when you feel unable to be present with your food is no small feat, yet it can be very rewarding. Second, we must slow down long enough to let ourselves digest our experiences, whether it be food, a sunset, or a good book. Allow yourself to really HAVE the things that you are experiencing. When we are able to do this we create space inside ourselves to digest and integrate what is happening. Finally, know that you deserve to take time for yourself. Taking a moment to slow down, digest, and integrate your experiences will help overcome barriers to nourishment.

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