Knowing what we need is the secret to a healthy relationship with ourselves and food.

Asking ourselves the simple question “What do I need?” is the key to radical self-care. 

It will lead to knowing whether we are physically hungry or emotionally hungry, knowing when we need to rest, knowing when we need to be quiet or speak up for ourselves, knowing which skill we need to use at a given moment, —simply knowing how we feel. 

So much to know! 

Sometimes a mental fog rolls in, and we truly don’t know what we need. It gets tricky. 

If that is the case, we must keep probing. We can take out our journal. We can talk it out with a friend or our coach. We can do a mindfulness practice. We can walk or move our bodies. We can sit still. But we must keep asking. We must never stop asking. 

When we know what we need at a given moment, we begin to understand whether we are using food to soothe.  When that is the case, we are usually missing the most important inner nutrient—the thing we REALLY need. Usually what we really need is to attend to ourselves in ways OTHER than with food. 

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh speaks to this idea, “take care of yourself. Your body needs you, your feelings need you, your perceptions need you.  Your suffering needs you to acknowledge it. Go home and be there for all these things.” 

Though we tend to complicate it, what we need is not usually complicated. It is rare that what we truly need is inside the refrigerator or the snack cupboard. 

So ask yourself again and again: What do you really need? 

You’ll know the answer.   

Shine bright! 

 

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash