Part 1: From inner to outer sustainability - a transformative journey with food

Disclaimer: This article talks about food relationships and disordered eating behaviour. If you are diagnosed with an eating disorder or have the sense that you might suffer from one, this content can be triggering. My suggestion is to seek out professional help. If you feel like having a one on one conversation with me, please reach out.


How we nurture ourselves is how we nurture the planet.

Creating a world that nurtures all beings starts with learning how we nurture ourselves. Think about it: how can you support someone if your own energy container is empty? How can you give back to the planet if you yourself are a physical, emotional or spiritual skeleton that is preoccupied with survival? And what kind of sustainability are you creating when you are running on low energy reserves? Is that truly sustainable?


When we lead with an outer-in approach, that is taking care of others and the planet first, it will be short-sided care. Do you remember the analogy with the mother on the aeroplane who must first put the oxygen mask on herself and then attend to her kids? Well, imagine if the captain of the plane would try attending to his flight guests first. I'm sure that you can already picture how this ends. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we actually cannot take true care of others or the planet, even though we believe that we’re helping.


How we nurture ourselves is how we nurture others is how we nurture the planet.



Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

My biased opinion is that systemic change starts with the change of the system that we call “I”. The first thing to do on our way to becoming generation regeneration is to look at ourselves and reclaim the power and control that we have over the reality that the “I” is perceiving and creating. We cannot control what’s outside of us. We can, however, look inside, find out what’s present for us and take action based thereon. The most powerful impulses that I have received in my life came from people who owned and spoke their authentic truth, who embodied and walked the talk.


That’s why I loved it so much when Be The Earth Foundation got so excited about my journey with food and my belief that the more we do the inner work - aka building awareness & embracing all of ourselves with acceptance - the more naturally we’ll move into making decisions that are aligned for ourselves and the planet. And that’s what I want to explore with you all in this blog post series.


It is no coincidence that last week my old food patterns kicked in. It’s nearly like the universe (god, spirit, the higher power, light, love however you name it) wanted to make sure that I would know what to write about for you, to make it as relatable as possible by sharing from my own experience.


So get ready for a transformative blog post series, where I’ll get food-naked in front of you. I will share my food journey and show you what has supported me to move from unconscious binge eating patterns to embracing my relationship with food as one of my biggest teachers, as a catalyst for my growth and a bridge towards more sustainable ways of eating and living. This series will support you in getting to know yourself better and creating a nourishing and loving relationship with food.


Because I love being of service in anything I do, this blog-post series is interactive! Each chapter will contain questions at the end for you to not just read about but experience how you can use your relationship to food to create a better world for yourself and all of us.


Let’s start with the first chapter!


Chapter One: Connect to your Why


Photo by Maria Thalassinou on Unsplash

To illustrate what the Why is and its importance, let me share part of my food story with you.

Food has always been part of our lives. In some cases though, such as mine, food also forms part of someone’s story. Food is one of the reasons why I am who I am today.


When I was a little girl, my mother would be so happy that I ate because my older sister had her mouth tightly shut when the choo choo train came. Me, however, I LOVED all the foods. And I loved eating. The first conscious memory of me overeating was when a friend from primary school came over and had dinner at mine. I ate toast with cheese and ketchup one after the other leaving her rather astonished. Then I suddenly realised: she doesn’t eat that much at all. I felt so embarrassed.


The body-shaming kicked in when I entered high school. By that time I was and felt chubby. I had people, especially boys pointing that out and mocking me for my fat rolls. I also hated sports at school because I’d always feel so disempowered and disappointed with myself. “Fat doesn’t run fast” was what I thought.


I became hyper-aware of food and knew “which foods to eat and which to avoid”. This came with positives and negatives. One thing that I am so grateful for even through all the hardship is that I appreciate my health so much. It’s so important to me what I put into my body. The negative however was that back then I used the tool of restriction. “This is not good for you”, “ Don’t eat after 6 PM”, “Eating this will make you fat”. Obviously, this only added to my food obsession and misery.


I finally and fully acknowledged that I had a problem when I was 30. Yes, it took me that long. I was lucky that I started some self-development a few years before that. Nonetheless, I still ate uncontrollably at times, to the point of not being able to fully breathe because of the pain of being full to the brim. I had and still have many health issues because of this. I was destroying my body, and I knew it. That was the reason I finally reached out for support.


I am so immensely grateful to be writing these words right now because they make me realise one thing: how crucial it is to connect again and again to my “why”.


Back then I didn’t know this wisdom. Today though, as I am pondering on my most recent cheese binge - FYI I am allergic to milk protein, so cheese harms my body - I feel the power behind my vision:


I am becoming my most healthy, vibrant and powerful self so that I can live my best life & support others in vibrating high in their most wonderful and amazing lives.


When I reconnect to that Why two things happen:


  1. I take the steps needed for me to come back to my centre. What this DOESN’T mean is to come up with more restrictions, like banishing the cheese. What this DOES mean is to look at what’s going on beneath the surface, to look at the block vs. hiding away from it. In my case, I shared with my dearest friends that my food obsession is back. This helped me to accept where I was at and allow myself to crumble into tears in front of them to release the emotions that were stuck within me. I realised how alone and unsupported I felt and how ashamed I was in even admitting this because “I am supposed to have it all together”. (No wonder I changed gear to unhealthy eating habits as a way to protect myself from feeling all of this!) .


  1. I feel into the empowerment, excitement, freedom and love NOW even though my mind wanted me to believe that that I can only feel these things after completely fulfilling that vision. This part is so important. We often believe that we first have to get somewhere before we can feel XYZ. But the truth is when we learn that our inner world doesn’t depend on any outcome, we free up an immense amount of energy that we then can use to create whatever we want to create. We use feeling the desired feeling vs. fearing the lack thereof as the motor for our actions. You are worthy as and where you are even though you may not have t gotten where you want to be in the external world.


Can you see why connecting to your vision is so crucial? It’s what will hold you accountable and motivate you to take the steps towards your dream even when things get hard. And this applies to ANY dream not just the ones regarding your relationship with food.



Photo by Cristofer Maximilian on Unsplash

There is, however, a “crux” with connecting to your vision and moving towards it: You will 100% encounter your blocks. And yup, you’ll want to hide, you’ll want to protect, you’ll want to run away from them. The truth is though, as my trainer Alyssa Nobriga keeps on saying “the block isn’t in the way, it is the way”🤯. (More on this in the next chapter.)


To every reader who has come this far: yay you! I honour your commitment to your self-development. Let’s take it even a step further: here are the questions for you to reflect on throughout this month. Feel free to share any insights in the comments so that the community can acknowledge you and grow with you. I also have a special gift for all you incredible beings who do answer the questions: if you send me your answers to marlene.zehnter.tensionrelease@gmail.com I’ll happily answer your emails with some cheering and growth provoking words to support you in nurturing yourself.


  1. Where do you want to be by March 22nd 2023? How do you want to relate to food by then? What is it that you want to create until then? Example: In one year from now I have healed my body from an autoimmune disease. My body feels strong, healthy and vibrant. Or: In one year from now, I am only eating organic produce and reducing my grocery related plastic use by 80%.

  2. Why does this matter to YOU? Be specific and personal vs. using a superficial sentence. It helps to answer the “why” question several times in a row until you’ve found your true why. Example: Because I want to become my most healthy & vibrant self so that I can live my best life & support others in vibrating high in their most wonderful and amazing lives. Or: Because if we don’t change the way we consume, our planet will become unlivable; animals and plants are dying daily because of our plastic, our emissions, our way of living. I want to stop that and it starts with me.

  3. On a scale from 1 to 10, how much does this matter to you? If you are below an 8, ask yourself some more rounds of “why”.

  4. When you imagine arriving at this vision in March next year, how do you feel? Examples: I’d feel energised and free within and love for myself. Or: I’d feel empowered and hopeful, I’d see that I do have control and can influence change to happen.

  5. Can you think back to a memory in which you have felt this feeling in the past? What do you notice now in your body? Can you know without a shadow of a doubt that this feeling isn’t here already whether or not the outcome exists?

  6. Where are you now in relation to your vision?


Until june ❤️

With love & care,

Marlene



 

Photo by Roma Libre

Hello, beautiful one, I am Marlene and I am a human being! I am passionate about the body, health, work, growth, dreaming, dancing, singing, eating and so much more. What fills my heart most of all is helping people reconnect with their bodies. The outcome? They feel healthy, empowered, self-loving and alive as they follow their dreams in work & life.


I am a Stress Release, Body Awareness and Self-Worth Coach. Trained in TRE® and the Coaching Mastery Method, I integrate these two modalities to evoke transformation naturally from the inside to the outside.


Get ready for some goosebumps when you realise with body, mind & heart how epically amazing & powerful you are!


If you have questions or a troublesome relationship with food, your body image or insecurity, know that you are not alone, that I hear you and that I’d love to talk with you! Just reach out to marlene.zehnter.tensionrelease@gmail.com or find me on Instagram @work_with_wisdom. You can also join my monthly “Free your mind & body from self-doubt” workshop. Send me an email if you’re interested!