Food Feels

Guys. I’m sitting here, writing to you, with a gut-ache because I ate garbage oil in two forms - Potato chips & chicken salad. (A sluggish Coach Hannah, here, sharing some post-lunch feels.)

This used to be a regular lunch for me - probably close to once a week. I have since learned a lot more about nutrition and how certain foods affect my particular system (which is the most useful type of nutrition knowledge there is IMHO).

This is a rant for another day - but in short: Your subjective experience of how a food object affects you is way more useful than “facts” about how healthy/nutritious/harmful that food “objectively” is. Provided you are being holistically honest with yourself.

The “Facts” are changing all the time anyway - remember when fat was evil and whole grains were the holy grail? Now everyone is jumping on the Keto bandwagon and eating fat-a-plenty and painting carbs as the villain.

These “food facts” are a shifting landscape.

However, how your body reacts in the hour after eating something, in the days after, and week over week, month over month? Now those are data points you can use to take action and steer your course towards where you want to be, and how you want to feel.

So why, even though I know canola oil makes me feel like crap, did I dive face-first into a crunchy and creamy festival of the stuff?

In asking myself this question, I realized we should talk about it. So I’m going to unpack my thought process in real time.

Impulse #1: blame the situation. I was reeeeeeally hungry, and the store was out of my first choice chips (cooked with coconut oil which doesn’t make me feel like yuck) but I was set on the taste-experience I wanted to have, so I bought the canola oil chips. It’s the store’s fault. They didn’t have the right stuff.

Impulse #2: Shame shut-down. Feel gut-ache, feel guilty, decide I’m an unreliable caretaker of myself, move further away from self-responsibility and therefore any hope of change!

Impulse #3: zoom out, and observe. Notice sensations (belly bloated and brain slow). Notice thoughts (see impulse #1 & #2). Check in with my values: I want to feel present, focused, and energized so that I can do the work that is meaningful to me. In order to reach that state, I need to eat foods that agree with my body. I didn’t do that today, and that’s ok. Instead I’m having an experiential reminder of why I (mostly) don’t eat canola oil.

When I take this wide-angle view, I’m able to strip away moral value from the incident, and it can just serve as an experience of contrast. “This is how I don’t want to feel!” It doesn’t have to mean anything about me. But I can allow it to be motivation to change my actions going forward.

Or not.

This is the choice we all have. Notice (or don’t). Adjust based on what you notice (or don’t). Rinse, repeat.

Especially when it comes to food, there are SO MANY voices competing for our attention. I invite you to join me in tuning in to your inner voice by taking that wide-angle view.

Start with these questions:

  • How do I want to feel?

  • How did that food choice make me feel?

  • What can I do differently next time?

You won’t be perfect all the time — I’m a case in point today! But this framework of making choices based on how you want to feel can quickly become a self-rewarding cycle. When I eat things that make me feel good (according to my values: present, focused, energized), I am immediately rewarded with those exact qualities. It makes me want to do more of what’s working, and less of what’s not.

Here’s to zooming out & tuning in,