Guest Post – How To Enjoy Food, by Aubrey Golbek

Hi Everyone!  I’m excited for you to read this guest post from my friend Aubrey Golbek.  She is a grace based intuitive eating dietitian and personal trainer, along with being the owner of Fuel To Perform Nutrition Counseling.  She shares such an important message about bringing joy, freedom, confidence and satisfaction back into your relationship with food and exercise.  Enjoy!


I mulled over what to call this post for a while; I almost titled it “setting the stage to enjoy food,” but landed instead on “How to Enjoy Food,” simple and to the point. Can you tell I’m trying to be more concise with my writing? (**READ Trying**)
Anyways, thinking about that title makes me a little sad. How did we drift so far that we need a lesson on how to enjoy food. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “I have no problem enjoying food, in fact I enjoy it too much.” I’ve heard that before.
But if you believe that you enjoy food “too much,” chances are you feel some guilt for eating and thus, you don’t totally enjoy it. 

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those of us that eat food like it’s a scientific formula. The phrase “food is fuel” has become a popular social media tag. While yes, this is true, food is fuel, some of us treat eating like it’s just a necessary evil, a task to complete, a means to an end. We don’t let ourselves enjoy the eating experience too much for fear that we’ll lose control.

Neither of these attitudes towards food reflect its original purpose. Food was created to be enjoyed AND to provide nourishment. Eating was meant to be a positive experience. Food provides an opportunity to nourish and care for our bodies, but it also provides an opportunity to connect with and serve friends and family. For some, food is an outlet for creativity, a chance to make something wonderful from everyday stuff. 
Imagine what life would be like if you were able to choose food that provided you with life-giving nutrition, energy AND pleasure. What would it look like to sit down at the table and be calm, to be able to slow down and talk with your loved ones while eating? What if you could enjoy fun foods with friends without feeling the need to overeat or  the need to restrict? What if you didn’t feel guilty?

All of this is completely possible, even more –it’s normal. It’s God’s design for us to enjoy food. 
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
God wants us to worship Him and enjoy His gifts. Food is one of His gifts. Of course, if we pervert this whole thing and turn His gift into a god in our lives, whether it be food, sex, or friendships, we become enslaved to that thing. Instead of enjoying the gift, we end up hating it and ourselves. 

CS Lewis summed this up like only he could:
“Natural loves that are allowed to become gods do not remain loves. They are still called so, but can become in fact, a complicated form of hatred.”

SO how do we cultivate an attitude and an environment that leads to enjoying food without making it the end-all-be-all?
First, we have to make peace with food and realize that it is not the sole answer to or the cause of all our problems. Food in itself is a good thing. We begin to enjoy food and believe that its good when we cultivate positive eating experiences. 

A positive eating experience looks different for everyone, but for most it involves reducing stress, enjoying nourishing and satisfying food without overeating or guilt, and connecting with people. 
In order to create this, we have to take a look at the things that hinder us from having a positive eating experience. For you it could be that coming to the dinner table under-fueled and starving is causing you to overeat, maybe it’s stress from work, or an empty pantry.
Whatever it is that causes you to overeat, feel guilty about food, or not enjoy the eating experience, write it down. Then think of some ways you can address that issue.

For example, if work life stress is causing you to numb out and overeat in the evenings, think of a few strategies for reducing stress before you eat. Maybe you could take 5 minutes of quiet time before preparing dinner to meditate, pray or read a book. Maybe you could use the 5 minutes before dinner to be thankful for the food you have and the good things in your life. Thankfulness and putting things into perspective are sure-fire ways to bring down stress levels.

Or maybe you come home from work in the evening ravenous from skipping lunch or eating very little throughout the day. You find it hard to enjoy dinner, because you’re so hungry– you end up scarfing down everything in sight before you even sit down for a meal. How could you change your day around to make sure you get enough food, so that come evening, you’re comfortably hungry instead of ravenous? Maybe you could pack some non-perishable snacks and keep them in your office. You might choose to make some quick fix of pre-prepared breakfast recipes. Or maybe you just make it a priority to block off 15-30 minutes on your schedule to eat lunch. 

These are just a couple of things that get in the way of enjoying food as it was meant to me enjoyed. I’d encourage you to consider the barriers in your own life.
This work isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it! The more you allow yourself to enjoy God’s gift of food without making it the source of all happiness or stress, the easier eating becomes. This is my hope for every person – that food would be food, nourishing, enjoyable & easy.
Tell me, how do you create a positive eating experience in your home?

Emily again – I’d encourage you to check out Aubrey’s Fuel to Perform page.   She specializes in helping clients balance food, movement and self-care for lifelong health. With a background in nutrition for physical performance and clinical dietetics, she’s worked with people from all walks of life,  from the youth and adult athlete — to moms with families.  She helps people nourish their bodies, reach health goals and achieve food freedom the satisfying way!  

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