The Mind-Body-Food Connection

The Mind-Body-Food Connection

I’m all for giving up food that doesn’t work well with your body. If you drink dairy and it doesn’t feel good in your body, then don’t drink it. If sugar makes you hyperactive then settle down on the sweeteners. If wheat and gluten clogs up your digestive system then don’t eat that either. There are certain foods that we’ve somehow made “normal” in our western diets that aren’t particularly good for any of us, no matter what size or shape or constitution we are.

Where the problem comes in is what I call the mind-body-food connection. When my acne was severe and healing I became obsessed with what I ate. So obsessed in fact that I was verging on an eating disorder. I’d be riddled with guilt when I consumed a single slice of white bread or a bite of my friends ice cream. I was certain that even just a tiny bit of “bad food” would result in a pimple, or three or four and that my lack of discipline was the cause. I’d even at times consider the idea of throwing up after I’d just eaten which rang huge alarm bells for me. Luckily I was aware and conscious enough to realize that my thought patterns were stupid enough (and serious enough) to do something about before I actually did develop a full blown eating disorder.

I guess sometimes we forget that eating disorders or obsessions with food can manifest themselves in ways more than just for people feeling as though they’re fat. I’ve met many, many men and women dealing with troubled skin who are happy about their weight but unhappy about their skin. They’re battling with the beginnings of an eating disorder brought on by anxiety over the food they’re eating to clear their acne.

I cannot stress how important it is to work on our emotional well being in combination with switching to a healthier diet for the skin. In the past we’ve all throught it was just overweight or obese people that needed to undergo counseling and mind work throughout a diet. But in my opinion we all do.

Many of us have such a strong attachments and addictions to food. For me personally there are many foods that I hold an association of comfort with. Most of my comfort foods are “kid foods”. They’re foods that I was given as a child so I associate them with the loving sweetness of my mother when I was growing up, or the time I spent hibernating in my room as a teenager. Whenever I’m feeling stressed or sad and every time I detox I crave these comfort foods – hot english tea with milk, toasted sandwiches, sweet pudding, mashed potato, cookies, chocolate, and even kid meats like sausages believe it or not!

Please know that these cravings are completely normal, there is nothing wrong with you if you get them. We are very complicated little beings with very complicated minds. And sometimes our emotions and energy wants something different to what our body or minds want. This is where the guilt sets in.

Say for example you’re craving sugar so badly. You are just dying for anything sweet. What’s likely happening is your energy and emotions are craving the sweetness in life. You’re craving that love and nurturing that only a a parent, lover, best friend or open hearted connection to the universe can send your way. You may be feeling a little lost or empty so your energy truly believes that a hit of sugar can fill you right back up again. But your mind and body disagrees. Your intellectual mind is certain that the sugar will give you a breakout and your body knows that it’s not going to make your physical self feel very good at all. See the pushing and pulling that’s going on here? This is where the internal tug of war and guilt comes in. If your emotions win then guilt comes with it, but if your mind wins then you can get a little resentful and annoyed with yourself and the situation that you’re in.

This is just one very common example of our mind-body-food connection. It’s this mindset of what we put into our bodies and this internal tug of war that we need to emotionally work on. Only then can we fully and gloriously glide into a healthy new way of eating without any form of struggle or negative emotion. You can try putting on a brave face and pretending that you’re all good and strong and you can make huge shifts in your diet without any internal struggle, but I challenge you to remove all masks and look within to see if there really is truth in that. Because only when we’re honest with ourselves can the ease of the flow begin to happen.

So where to from here? Consider doing your mind work in conjunction with any new changes to the way you eat. Keep a food diary that has a space for how you feel about what you’re eating, and any negative or positive emotions that come up. See a counselor, energy healer, or some other form of mind worker that takes your fancy. If that’s not your thing then get a friend to work on it with you – you can help each other out. At the very least go and tell a tree.. just get that emotional stuff out, start to shift it and let it reveal itself.

I want you to eat well but I want you to LOVE to eat well, I don’t want you to have any negative emotions about it. I’d much rather you ate what makes you happy and keeps your mind settled than you eating something because you feel that you should. Because in all honesty, our minds are more important and stronger than anything else. It doesn’t matter how much organic foods you eat, if you’re not feeling good about it then it’s not going to make any difference.

Good news is, with the right healing you can break down those walls of internal mind struggle and dissolve all negative thought patterns you associate with food. And with that healthier food choices will just come so naturally and easily.

Let us all know if you can relate to this article, we’d love to hear from you!

14 comments… add one

  • Amanda

    Hi Fran!
    I’m so glad I found this article. The story you describe is very similar to mine. I struggle what to do next. I think you may be the solution. I’ve already bought your book.
    So my story is very similar to that one you described. If not the acne I would say I was always happy with my body. I started with an acne diet I found very helpful and perfect. Until I started to lose my weight and people started to react to that. My skin was never in so good condition so I ignored what people said, because, finally I felt beautiful like for the first time in my life (I suffered from acne since 12 and at this point I’m 20). But, I guess if you menstruation stops you can’t go away with it and keep doing what your doing, I mean the bells started to ring – 3 months and no period. When I looked at the mirror I saw something was wrong, I couldn’t recognize my body, I was a lot more skinnier then before but well, the diet was for the skin, right?! My family and friends went mad at me. I was crying when my mother tried to feed me with white rice, gluten or lactose food (sounds ridiculous I know). I took instead the coconut oil and started to eat it with a spoon to prove that I’m not afraid of fats, I’m “just” afraid of pimples. I pretty much confused my mother, or like convinced her that it was just for acne, like it truly is, so she didn’t bother me no more. I don’t live with her anyway so it’s not the case.

    The case is I’m slowly coming to a realization that if the guilt connected with food is so strong that food starts to control your life to this point that your making yourself sick and you can’t even see it – it’s a disorder no matter for what reason you do it. So I went the other way, I mean I was so tired of people picking on me that I’m anorectic that I started to drink and eat whatever people usually do like: bread, milk, sweets, alcohol etc. Just to gain the weigh. Or, just to show that I don’t care. I did it for 3 weeks. Until now. My skin is a disaster like 3 moths ago, before I started my acne free diet. I can’t keep ignoring that the way I look is important to me. I can’t look in the mirror with acne and be happy. You would have to destroy all the mirrors in the world to make me peaceful and happy. Or I step back to my diet which I did. But, I’m afraid of getting an eating disorder or having one; I can feel how the diet and supplements makes me want to eat less. So I have to change something. Maybe it’s just one thing that I’m missing that I can eat that would make me gain some weigh and make my skin glow. Or at least hearing your story makes me feel safer about your way of getting rid from acne. I’m ready to try it out.

    p.s. sorry for my English & greetings form Sweden!

  • Bridget

    Thank you for posting this article.It really helped a lot, and I feel more relieved to know that I’m not the only one struggling with these obsessions.

  • alina

    Hello! I’ve been following your blog for a while, it provides so great, besides being a great writer! I agree with this article so much. Consumption of foods you love and enjoy can make you feel fabulous and feeling of guilt and negative toward food creates an unhealthy relationship. nose huggie review

  • Mel

    Hi Fran,

    I have the same experience as you. I have incorporated healthy habits, eating and otherwise in an effort to alleviate my skin issues. People often wonder why since I am skinny. Perhaps its a good thing they don’t consider I do it for clear skin! Well, I think that having difficult skin is perhaps more of a burden then having weight issues but perhaps that is because I don’t actually have one. It is certainly no easier though! So many factors can affect acne but eating a healthy diet i.e. free of grains and sugars can only help and not hurt it. However, I do think that you can become obsessed to the point where life can get depressing if you followed every rule to guarantee good skin. At least for me, I dont think I would be happy to eat a purely raw diet and never indulge in any sweets or even cooked food or dairy, meat – anything that is known to affect acne. Its just too hard. Stress certainly plays an important role as I’ve noticed that my skin is always better when on vacation. In fact it was at its best when I was in Italy in May – even though I actually broke my femur while there and had to undergo surgery!!
    The point is – do your research, learn what works for you and don’t get so obsessed that you are stressed out about it.

  • Kelly

    You are amazing Fran! I have been struggling with these negative mind games recently and even feel judged for eating organic, being dairy free, juicing etc which I beleive makes a huge difference to my skin but is not seen by society as “necessary” when there are medications which do the same if not better job at clearing your skin but aren’t good for your whole system. So thankyou for always being the strenght and comfort we all look for.

  • Hello! I’ve been following your blog for a while now, you provide such great information as well as being a super writer! I agree with this article so much. Eating foods you love and enjoy can make you feel fabulous and feeling guilty and negative towards food creates an unhealthy relationship.
    Hannah x

  • Carla

    Thanks, Fran,
    I am currently going through a diet crisis!! Christmas time isn’t good anyway but it just happened that my year-long endeavour to eat really well on my Naturopath’s advice (vegan but also no sugar or white flour, rice, etc) has resulted in fairly good but not good enough results! So for the last couple of weeks I have been so over trying so hard that I’ve just given up and been eating everything!! Unfortunately I have also felt extreme guilt and obsession with every mouthful. I need to start again with a healthier mindset and not an extreme challenge.
    Thanks for your advice!

  • Yep, totally relate. My skin is giving me issues with food and I’m having to be exceptionally careful not to get obsessive and let it take over. Thanks for the reminder.

  • holly

    This post came at the perfect time for me.
    Its exactly what I’m going through.
    Thank you Fran!

  • Stephanie Wright

    And if I might also add, you are a great philosopher.

  • Stephanie Wright

    These notions, phrased so eloquently, will help me to implement my New Years Resolutions concerning diet. Thank you.

  • Sarah

    I can completely relate! My skin problems coincided with going vegan, and considering I went vegan many years ago, I was always frustrated with the constant insistence that it was my body “detoxifying”. Especially since I was near vegan for most of my life before that. So I also became obsessed with finding a diet that cleared my skin, and nothing ever worked. I became incredibly hopeless because my diet and lifestyle are exactly what “they” say it should be in order to have clear, glowing skin! I felt like I was doing something wrong, and was constantly beating myself up about it. Not good for someone with eating disorders in her teenage years and early 20s! I think the biggest thing I learned throughout all of this was to eat intuitively. I wasn’t trusting my body, and I was taking far too much advice from external sources. As I get better and better at intuitive eating (i.e. reclaim the inherent ability ALL of us have), I find that I have fewer and fewer breakouts. But you know what? I don’t think it’s because my acne was(is) caused by diet…it’s caused by stress! And stressing about eating “pure” is still stress!

    Great post!

  • Roselie

    Thanks for writing this post, I can relate to many of the things you’ve written!

  • Sandy

    It sounds like you’re describing my life. Hit the nail right on the head. I’m going to give your suggestions a try and see how I go.

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