The idea of nourishing myself has always left me feeling a little prickly. As someone who has struggled with body image issues, weight shame, food addiction, and size fluctuations, nourishment was always a bit of a trigger point for me. For the majority of my life, the idea of nourishment was never, ever a part of the conversation.
Specifically, with food I did not nourish. I stuffed, filled, and most of all, I numbed. Food has always been my top drug of choice to disconnect myself from my true feelings. Accessible, affordable, socially acceptable (at least, more than some options), and devastatingly difficult to kick; food is not something from which you can abstain.
Not only did I use food to numb my feelings, my sense of self, my needs, and my inner most desires, it also disconnected me from all other forms of nourishment.
Yes. Whole, healthy, real food nourishes our brains, bodies, cells, and spirits. As I began to explore how food was impacting my health, experiment in the world of Whole30, and learn what foods really supported me in changing the conversation about my addiction to food, I also discovered something unexpected.
There is more to nourishment than food.
Nourishment, according to Google, is defined as “the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition”. Can we pause for a moment? How much do I love this definition?
To simplify, nourishment is anything necessary for growth and health.
What is necessary for YOUR growth and health? As I began to explore feeling my feelings (no easy task, by the way), I quickly learned that if I was not nourishing my soul, I would find myself elbows deep in a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos with a side of peanut M&Ms. If I was not nourishing my soul, my vices would take over.
As humans, we require nourishment to thrive. We need to eat whole, real food. We need to seek joy. We need to play. We need to feel a sense of purpose. We need love, connection, companionship, intimacy, and community. We need to feel heard, valued, desired, and wanted. We need to share feelings, jokes, tears, and experiences.
Nourishment comes in so many forms. My journey to face my strongest vice, the addiction to numbing myself with food, truly began when I finally recognized that I deserve nourishment. I am worthy of all of the nourishing experiences of being a human. Amazingly, once I started to feel my feelings, I started to recognize that there are some forms of nourishment that actually could satisfy the roaring beast inside me.
For me, this process is ongoing. I did not wake up one day and no longer have the desire to drown my sorrows in a pound of Twizzlers. Sometimes when I least expect it, that desire calls to me. I am human and humans are complicated. Luckily, I have a toolbox of things that nourish me and untap my sparkle every day. The sparkly tools that nourish me are unique.
Depending on the day, here are a few of my favorite nourishing activities:
- Meditations on a hike
- Chats with my mom or sister
- Hilarious meme email chains with work colleagues turned friends
- Stretching slowly and purposefully to show my body that I adore it
- Doodling with gel pens
- Blowing bubbles (bonus points if on the beach at sunset) with my partner
- Kissing my pup on the nose
- Dancing to my most favorite band with some of my oldest friends
- Sitting by a fire watching the flames dance
- Putting my feet in the ocean with my best friend
- Watching videos of my favorite young humans (if I can’t be with them in person!)
- Washing all the dishes before I sit down for a homemade meal so that I can be truly present and grateful for what I have created
- Random life status check-in texts from BFFs (with lots of GIFs and emojis)
- Acknowledging the beauty of the moon in all it’s phases
- Sitting in a dear friends beautiful backyard garden
- Finding myself in the middle of an amazing book that I never want to end
- Feeling sore, tired muscles to remind me that I stretched and worked my healthy, strong body
- Finding meaning in random little moments (ex: the clock reading 5:55 or a feather in my path)
- Writing lists of almost any kind
Every human has different, beautiful, sparkly pieces in their nourishment puzzle. Sometimes, the process of untapping your sparkle unveils a whole new world of nourishment options. What nourishes you?