The REAL Secret to Changing Your Relationship with Food

Image by Richard Jaimes, Unsplash

I spent more years than I’d like to admit fighting my body.

It took a WHOLE lot of pain before I arrived where I am now — eating and moving in way that feels nourishing, energizing, and “just what I do”…rather than being stuck in an exhausting, hopeless struggle.

I learned A LOT in those years (er, decades) and do not regret them — after all, they shaped my path and capacity as a writer and doctor.

But I also learned things along the way that, had I known them on day one, probably would’ve made me feel better a lot faster.

Today, I want to share one of them with you:

The food is not the problem. It’s not even what you’re hooked on.

Same goes if your “fix of choice” is another substance, behaviour, or act. They are NOT the hook.

Know what IS?

The moment just before.

Not actually partaking in the food or drink or act…but the moment just before.

That moment (and not the actual consumption or doing) is the magic moment — the addictive moment.

In that moment, all is (at least temporarily) right with the world. Or, in any case, about to get better.

Pain, sadness, fear, heartbreak, loss, and all other flavours of discomfort are about to (at least temporarily) get better or disappear.

That moment just before offers hope. It makes a promise.

Problem is, it’s a promise that is never kept.

The magic moment never lasts.

Just as food isn’t the problem, it’s also not the solution.

It can never fill what you’re truly needing (I mean, other than natural nourishment).

It can never solve your underlying wounds, fears, needs, and limiting beliefs.

Could be (often is) that the experience of actually eating or doing the thing isn’t even that fantastic.

In any case, it’s over pretty darn fast and rarely worth it.

Then, there you are, with the same places of need and pain…plus any fallout, including guilt, shame, regret, and physical or emotional dis-ease.

Guess where those lead?

Maybe not straightaway, but usually, eventually, they feed back into the same search…the same craving…the same promise that will NEVER be kept…the same bad cycle on repeat.

Know what though? You’re not doomed!

Because even just seeing the cycle — and recognizing the “magic moment,” which is NOT the actual food or act — is power. Is empowering.

It expands your sphere of awareness and your sphere of choice.

This is NOT to say that, oh, hey, great, now I’ll ride out the magic moment and make all the healthy choices! #winning

Nope. But little by little, seeing and naming already changes things. It couldn’t possibly be otherwise.

Every time you notice — whether before, during, or after — you are shifting the trajectory.

You are saying: “I SEE YOU. You mean well, and you’re trying to help me feel better….but actually, you’re not capable of keeping that promise. It’s not your fault. It’s just something you don’t have to give.”

Our mind and body truly do want to help us and to keep us safe and cared for.

Each time we gently but honestly show them what DOES feel better and DOES feed our true needs, they lean in. Maybe not noticeably at first…but gradually, more and more, over time.

This is a promise — leaning into the good stuff — that is always kept.

If you do nothing else with this, get curious about the “just before” moment next time around. See what’s happening there…and what happens after.

I include a guided meditation on this in my Body as Ally Recovery Kit (along with other audios, handouts, an ebook, and a workbook).

Check it out here:

Tomorrow, I’ll share a couple more practices that really helped me and may help you too (no matter how stuck you feel).

In integrity & alchemy,

P.S., If you’re a Chinese Medicine professional, this kit is approved for 4 PDAs with NCCAOM. The ebook, workbook, and meditations it contains are excellent tools to use with clients and patients!

If you want to read more Medium articles without those annoying restrictions, please consider becoming a member by using my referral link below. I get a portion from your $5 monthly fee at no extra cost to you. Please and thank you!




I’m a doctor of Chinese Medicine, college dean, and writer.

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Dana Leigh Lyons

Dana Leigh Lyons

I’m a doctor of Chinese Medicine, college dean, and writer.

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