10 Steps To Peace With Food And Your Body

10 Steps To Peace With Food And Your Body

Filed Under: Body Acceptance

16 September 2022 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

So much of our thinking is taken up by what to eat, what not to eat, what to wear and how we look…

Imagine if we freed up our thinking around food and our bodies and devoted that time and head space to more meaningful aspects of our lives!

Imagine a peaceful relationship with food and our bodies! What difference would that make?

  • How would we show up in the world?
  • How would we treat ourselves and treat others?
  • How would we feel on a daily basis?
  • If we felt peace around our bodies, what ripple effect would this have on those around us?

How do we make peace and end this consuming struggle? Here are some steps to take…

Step 1: Media friend or foe?

We need to question most of the media. We live in a culture where the media tells us that thin = happy, thin = successful, thin = worthy. The media generally promotes an “ideal” body shape and size and when we compare ourselves to this ideal, it often drives us into self-judgement leading to self-hate and feeling “not good enough”.  Let’s stop buying into these messages and limit our exposure to adverts and publications that promote an unrealistic body ideal. The majority of women’s bodies do not look like the models in the magazines, they only represent a small percentage of women. If you want to delve deeper into this, read these blogs — “How to Stop Obsessing About Being Thin” and “Do You Compare Your Body?”.

Step 2: Decide and Commit

Make a decision and commit to ending the food and body fight. Make peace your focus and intention.  Sign a peace treaty with your body! Here is one as a gift for you.

Step 3: Tell yourself the truth

Tell yourself the truth about your relationship with your body and food. How has this struggle served you? Has it allowed you to have excuses not to do the things you want? Who would you be if you were not at war with food and your body?

Step 4: Take Action

Making peace is an active process – it’s not a passive thought. Taking action towards peace means noticing your judgements about your body or your eating and choosing to let them go or replacing these negative thought patterns with neutral or positive thoughts. It takes awareness and patience. It means not being tempted by a new diet or quick fix. It means practicing self-acceptance which for most of us, is so much harder than self-criticism…

Step 5: Know Your Triggers

Get to know your triggers to body bash, to binge eat or overeat.  What are they? Social events, parties, going to the beach, certain people, work events, “comparisonitis”? If you are aware of your triggers, you can plan for them and work around them.

Step 6: Allow it be hard

Don’t expect this to be easy! Can you allow it to be difficult? Even though it may be difficult, it does not need to mean suffering. The way to peace with food and your body can be difficult at times – most change is hard. When we resist the change and push against it, it causes suffering – if we allow it to be difficult – it simply becomes hard work.

Step 7: Experiment

Try different approaches – see what works and what doesn’t work. Experiments are not meant to be perfect. What I know “for sure” is that elimination, diets, willpower and control do not work. They just lead to overeating and more self-hate.

Step 8: Feel your feelings

Easier said than done! We humans are wired for pleasure and to avoid pain. Most of us were not taught how to deal with our emotions. Our typical response to discomfort is to flee, deny or repress. If you find it very hard to deal with emotions and the only way out is to eat then learn to eat emotionally in a mindful way – emotional eating does not need to be emotional overeating!

Step 9: Patience

Be patient it’s a process! It’s almost like a tango – 2 steps forward, 1 step back, 1 step side-ways and 1 forward again. Change is slow. Embrace the process.

Step 10: Watch this

Take a look at these videos of Emma Thompson talking about body image and dieting.

Rinse – Repeat – Rinse again. What I have learned and continue to learn is that the path to a peaceful relationship with food is definitely not peaceful neither is it a linear journey. Being at peace with food and your body does not mean you will never overeat again, or that you will never want to binge. It simply means that when you do overeat or binge that you will treat yourself differently.

Wishing you peace,

“From our first meeting - two faces on Zoom across the world from each other, there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that was a healing balm for a lifetime of food struggles and dieting. Without realizing how much damage I had done to myself by adhering, for decades, to restrictive food plans and rigid diet programs, Xen had a way of redirecting the harsh and negative self-talk and sending me forth each week with compassion, mindfulness and a new way of seeing myself in the here and now. Gone are the maybe somedays, and if-only, and when-I’m-smaller thinking. Now I am committed to the imperfect and rocky path to listening to my body, accepting my perfect imperfections, and rejecting diet mentality. Those negative voices will revisit me from time to time, I know, but Xen has offered valuable tools for meeting each day as a fresh start - another choice, another chance. Her devotion to this work and her belief in her clients is a remarkable gift; I am so fortunate to have found her. It is never too late to let go of the drama and embrace joy, ease and self-acceptance.”

Karen L, Denver, USA

“I felt hopeless and helpless in my daily struggle with mindless eating for many years. Then I found Xen which is exactly what I needed! My decision to work with her helped me to finally repair my relationship with food. It's changing my life for the better, one day at a time. Now I have control over the food, instead of it having control over me, which is the way it should be. I highly recommend Xen to anyone who has a desire to overcome similar food struggles. Xen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Karen J, Colorado, USA

“I reached out to Xenia because 2021 started on a tumultuous note for me. Between deaths, businesses suffering, hospitalizations, and job losses in our personal circle, I felt depleted and found myself being available for everyone but myself. Then I was hit with an unexpected health diagnosis, which was the last straw as it meant giving up “healthy foods” and workouts that I leaned on for my well-being and stability. Despite working in wellness (Yes, coaches and healers are vulnerable too!), I found myself reaching out to desserts for comfort. I like to live a life of permissions (not labels or deprivation leading to bingeing), so I wanted to work with someone who approached healing from a place of mindful compassion. I didn’t want to be my own client. Xenia was great in reminding me to be kind to myself. Working with her, brought me peace and helped shift my mindset. I love how desserts and I look at each other now.”

Sweta Vikram, New York, USA

“Working with Xenia was amazing. She armed me with a bunch of tools to help me through difficult times. Xenia is the kind of person who really cares for helping you in the long run. Her work will forever have an impact in my life.”

Daniela Velásquez, Ottawa, Canada

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel, Dublin, Ireland

“Working with Xen has been very empowering. Her approach is so refreshing from the usual. I have learned that I am in charge and that I get to choose what I put in my body and how to move my body in a way that I like! I get to make my own choices. It’s so liberating. Once you get a taste of freedom with food, there is no turning back to old ways! Thanks Xen for guiding me along the way to freedom.”

Heather B, Cork. Ireland

“This is the answer for those of you that struggle with food and all that surrounds it. Xenia said that I could make peace with food and it seemed at the time like an impossible dream. Turns out it isn’t. I recommend Xen and the mindful eating / intuitive eating approach unreservedly. If you have any questions about my experience, please get in touch. Thank you Xen. My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”

Michelle, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Xenia was a walking, living, breathing example of what can be done. I laughed and cried my way through a short course in this fascinating and invigorating programme with her, and have gained a designer tote full of coping skills that go way beyond containing kilogrammes. I feel infinitely lighter. I am doing this for me and, yes, you can do this for you too! And believe me, I’m cynical!”

Diana, Vancouver, Canada

“I don’t obsess about food like I used to. I am thinking differently about food and feeling so much more relaxed around all types of food. It’s wonderful to have pleasure and satisfaction from eating.”

Sarah, Illinois, USA

“I learned a new way of thinking about food. I have learned that food is not the enemy and that it can actually be enjoyed with no guilt.”

Sandy, London, United Kingdom

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating