“Eat to fuel your body, not fuel your emotions”
Since young, I’ve always had an unhealthy relationship with food. Each time I felt a surge of negative emotions, I would binge eat – chocolates, sweets, comfort food (think Ya Kun Kaya Toast). That fleeting rush of endorphins from these sugary foods would send my sugar levels to a high, and soon after, ironically, deep feelings of guilt would set in. I would soon feel bloated, fat, and guilt-ridden as I had overeaten.
Subconciously, I was set in this vicious cycle of not being able to resist the temptation to binge eat, then feeling bad about it, and then eating again. As such, my weight fluctuated with my emotions, and being someone who gains weight easily (Pitta body type).
After embarking on my yoga teacher’s training, for some reason, my sense of smell has become so much sharper. In the past, after an intense gym session, I would eat ravenously – fat-filled carbohydrates and protein-dense foods. Nowadays, after yoga class ends in the afternoon, I would naturally crave light and clean vegetarian food, or not feel hungry at all. Increasingly, in my food choices, I gravitate towards foods that are natural, organic, or whole grain – not because I am trying to lose weight or jump onto the latest “health” fad or bandwagon, but simply from a pure conviction to love my body and feed it well.
Whenever I feel stressed, or unhappy, I would think twice before reaching out to a magnum or chocolate bar. I do still have the occasional Magnum, but I do it with greater emotional and mental awareness. This awareness has been developed not only through the practice of asanas but also through pranayama meditation, where I have learnt greater self-awareness and self-love.
What a sober reminder, that yoga truly isn’t just about asanas, but is manifested through the way we think, the way we love, and the way we live. Starting from a greater self-awareness and love of our bodies, thoughts, and emotions; and then extending that kindness to the people around us – I personally believe that this is the kindness that the world needs and what is worth living for.
With gratitude and love,
Clara (200hr YTT Hatha/Ashtanga, Jul/Aug 2015)
“We can, and must, develop dialogue and relatedness with our body because it’s talking to us all the time. And please remember, your body loves you. It does everything it can to keep you alive and functioning. You can feed it garbage, and it will take it and digest it for you. You can deprive it of sleep, but still it gets you up and running next morning. You can drink too much alcohol, and it will eliminate it from your system. It loves you unconditionally and does its best to allow you to live the life you came here for. The real issue in this relationship is not whether your body loves you, but whether you love your body. In any relationship, if one partner is loving, faithful and supportive, it’s easy for the other to take that person for granted. That’s what most of us do with our bodies. It is time for you to shift this, and working to understand your cravings is one of the best places to begin. Then you can build a mutually loving relationship with your own body.”
― Joshua Rosenthal, Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness