When I started this blog it was called one OM at a Time. I remember sitting at my little desk in Brooklyn, pregnant with Audrey and knowing that we were about to embark on life on the road. The one OM at a Time aspect was to be one hOMe at a time. I was going to blog about our journey on the road and becoming parents and all things yoga. I did it, but not consistently. I occasionally popped on here and posted photos of our travels, or wrote about a life lesson I had learned. It was sporadic at best. I then started using it as a way to write about essential oils and sell them. Again, occasionally using it, but never with any real consistency.
Then came 2020 and all that arrived with it. My eyes were opened to the fact that using OM both in yoga class and as my main title of my business was culturally inappropriate. I made the choice to change oneOMatatime.com to sarapackard.com because I also wanted to use my own name and give myself full permission to be me. Still this blog has sat here and even while I committed to it time and time again, it seems to fall into the background again and again.
What is funny to me is that it’s not that I don’t write. I am constantly over on my Instagram page writing long and thought out posts. Writing is the thing I love to do the most. And yet I don’t utilize this space, this little corner of the virtual world that I have created. I asked myself why recently and the answer, admittedly, is hard to admit. But I believe in full transparency and so I’m gonna tell you why: because on Instagram I get to really lean into the “Insta” part of it and know right away how people feel about what I’m writing. Every little heart that gets collected is a way for me to see that what I am writing is actually being read. I have stats to follow on here, but the reality is that I don’t get that instant feedback of a heart or thumbs up indicating that people are liking my writing. And the reality is, that’s ok. I don’t need to know how my words are landing on people right away. It’s not the real reason that I write and yet in the last several years, the allure of writing has become about that high that you get from those tiny hearts. The instant gratification has taken over the consistency of growing as a writer. At my core I truly want to write because I love the art of storytelling through the written word, not because I want to be liked. I know that if I am going to really step into the role of being the writer that I know I am, it's time to make a change and give up the instant gratification.
It’s also exhausting. Lately I have been finding myself in a kind of fatigue that comes from constantly scrolling and being on social media. Not all of it is bad. I am selective with who I follow and so much of it is watching people I love and admire post really important things and points of view or sharing their latest podcast episode or work. And while I am always genuinely proud and happy for others, I can’t help but find myself in the comparison exhaustion. I have so many things I want to do. If this last year and a half has taught me anything it’s that our time here is incredibly brief. It’s become way too easy to spend the precious time I have on social media. I have always told my students that our attention is one of our most precious assets. I have come to the realization that too much of mine is being spent gazing at the lives of others, or the pictures of them anyways. I want to take it back and pour much more of it into my own life. Not just into myself either, but into all of the lives of the people who I have the immense honor of living life alongside, including my clients and those of you who choose to venture into the space of this blog. I know you don’t have to be here reading this. It’s so much easier to put my words in front of people when I place them in a general scroll. Here, I don’t have the ability to hashtag or promote to get more eyes on what I write. I don’t have an algorithm that is more like a popularity contest than anything else. You are reading these words only because you made the conscious choice to be here. Coming to that realization has led me to want to honor that, more than some silly algorithm.
I want to create for you with the words that I write, not for the click of a heart but for the genuine human connection that storytelling offers. When I read my favorite authors' words, or a personal story that resonates, I connect with myself. It’s what all good art does in reality. We listen or watch or read and we see pieces of ourselves in what we are taking in. Over the course of my own life, my mediums have changed, but at the core of why I do what I do has always been to create connection, self and collective. The irony of social media, and I have said this before, is that it creates the illusion of connection but is in reality incredibly disconnecting. The comparison, the misinformation, the loss of real expertise in favor of influencing, all of it is leading us away from not only ourselves, but from one another. I don’t want my art, my words, my storytelling to be a part of that any longer. I want to genuinely build out my own space and create real connections that don't live by any arbitrary algorithm.
I know I have said this before. Almost a year ago, I left social media for several months. It was actually glorious. I started to make my way back to it when I thought I could handle it again and that my business needed it to grow. I am glad I went back only because the last nine months or so have shown me that I am so much better off putting my attention elsewhere. I now not only having the experience of leaving it, but also the affirmation of coming back after being gone doesn’t offer much. I don’t have to wonder “what if”. Unless I were to dedicate a large portion of my time building a “following” and actually getting good at social media, I now know that I can do greater things off of it. This fall I am taking a writer’s workshop where the goal will be to produce 1,000 words a week towards the book I want to write. I’m getting my Eating Disorder Recovery Coaching certification and my Intuitive Eating Facilitator certification. I am still taking on one on one clients and will be revamping my classes to better fit their needs. I want to thrive in all of it, really dive deep into my diligent studentship and still have energy and time to enjoy my life. To be a mom and a partner. To walk in nature and read for pleasure. I don’t want to waste one ounce of the potency that is my life on scrolling or trying to get people to “like” me. If you’re here, I already know you do and anyways that isn’t what matters most to me. I am far more interested in using this platform, the one that is in my own name, and consistently writing words that will land in your mind and actual heart. That will connect you to yourself, to your life and to the other human beings in it.
My plan is to pick my Intuitive Eating series back up where we left off. Every week there will be a new blog on the principles of Intuitive Eating and of course in my very Sara way, will go even deeper than just that. You can check out the first three in the archive. I will also continue to write about all the same things I write about on social media: body image, eating disorders, diet mentality and all the ways we learn to love ourselves while living in a hyper suppressive culture. I will not bombard your inbox. Even if I write every single day, I will only do an email drop to you once or twice a week so you can know when new content is out. Read when you can, comment if you wish, share if you are called, but please know that your active participation is not required. I am so grateful to you for lending me your attention. I know that you do not have to be here. I know that not everything I write will resonate with you, all the time or be perfect. But I am stepping back into this space with a renewed commitment to share myself and my story with you in an effort to create connection. I am not here to collect clicks and hearts. I am here to share the pieces of my story that make it easier for you to connect to the humanity of your own story. Thank you for being here and for coming back time and again. Stay tuned for much, much more, no hearts necessary.
Make sure you are subscribed if you wish to receive updates when new posts come up! I promise to respect your inbox!
I want to begin this week by saying that all of this is a process. Each week I am sharing with you a different principle of Intuitive Eating and beyond, but the expectation is not that you read these words and then you immediately go and do it. That would be yet another issue with diet culture mindset, this idea that if we follow these simple “rules” we will find our way to our most ideal, most happy self. There is a gross oversimplification that it nurtures for the often very complex relationships that we have with ourselves, with our bodies, with food and our emotions. Our human brains love the idea of a 12 step process that will lead us to whatever our idea of a promiseland looks and feels like, but unfortunately (and fortunately depending on how you look at it), life is so much more complex than that. It is, in many ways, what makes the human experience so beautiful and profound and I wholeheartedly believe that is something we can acknowledge and honor more for it will bring a deeper kind of appreciation and love for ourselves.
I say all of this because this week’s title “Make Peace With Food” is a very easy thing to read and say and roll off the tongue, but is not a simple and easy process all the time. And when I say this next thing, you might squirm inside, but I am preemptively saying that there is more to it than it may initially sound...and that is that in order to make peace with food you have to give yourself unconditional permission to eat.
Now, most people when they hear this feel all kinds of conflicted. I did too at first. What this often gets taken as is “eat whatever you want, how much ever you want, whenever you want”. And that’s true. And it’s not. Let me explain.
First let’s go back to last week, Honor Your Hunger. Remember that is vital because when your body is clearly cueing you that it’s hungry, it’s because it needs some energy in order to work well. So we begin there and when you feel those pangs, you eat. Now, what you eat is also completely up to you and your body. But here is the most important part of this step in the process: nothing is off limits (unless you have a medical reason such as a food allergy). And I know now that I just said that, you are completely confused because if you say that nothing is off limits, obviously you are going to go for the ice cream or nearest “junk” food right? And if you have unconditional permission to eat, you would never again choose to eat the fruits and vegetables we are always being told to eat right? If those are some of the thoughts you are thinking, I want to remind you of the title of this series which is learning to trust ourselves. It’s totally ok and normal that we would have this initial reaction, but this reaction is also a very clear sign that we have totally lost trust in ourselves. And that’s good information to have and know because it means that you are in the right place.
Here is the thing, you can’t learn to trust yourself if you are constantly restricting yourself. There is something that happens in our brains when we forbid ourselves from having something...we want it more and more and more. And then when we finally allow ourselves to have it, guess what happens? We gorge on it because we know it’s only a matter of time until we don’t allow ourselves to have it again. In intuitive eating this is called “Last Supper Eating”. You know right before you go on that diet, the night before you eat and eat and eat because you are about to embark on a journey of hyper restriction in order to get your body to look the way you want it to? This only serves the mindset that food is scarce or that certain foods are bad and it continues to keep the conditions that are ripe for binge eating when the gates finally open again.
To get very personal for a moment, I remember a big part of my binge eating would happen when no one was around. I could, in secret, keep going back to the fridge or cupboard without anyone noticing because in the times when I was around people, I wasn’t giving myself unconditional permission to eat the food that tasted good and until I was satisfied. Instead, I spent a lot of energy focusing on what the “appropriate” and socially acceptable amount of food was, along with the more impressive and healthier choices. My conditions were that I could only eat the bad and forbidden foods when no one was looking, which led to binge after binge when I was standing alone in the kitchen and no one would notice. It wasn’t until I started giving myself unconditional permission to eat, whether I was around others or not, that I was able to slowly let go of this behavior. It took time, believe me, which is why I began this chapter talking about process. But over the course of time I got better at allowing myself to honor my hunger as well as make peace with food.
I want to take a pause from talking about food for just a moment and bring this into another area, our emotions. We have been told for quite some time that there are positive and negative emotions. This often leads to wanting to work towards feeling only positive emotions and when things get uncomfortable, we tend to think something is wrong. In fact, that very phrase “what’s wrong?” is often asked when we see someone is sad, or angry and upset. In his book, Permission to Feel, Dr. Mark Brackett talks about how it’s not that any emotion is negative, but simply that we don’t allow ample space and time to actually feel what we are feeling with unconditional acceptance. Essentially, all emotions are valid and necessary and serve a purpose and when we give ourselves unconditional acceptance of all of them, we are much healthier of mind. Dr. Susan David who wrote Emotional Agility also talks a lot about the negative effects of toxic positivity on us as individuals and as a culture.
In my own teaching, I talk a lot about wholeness over wellness. Wellness culture has been so drastically co-opted by the same toxic positivity and diet culture mindset that I am often speaking about. This idea that we should be all “love and light” often leaves very little room for the moments when things feel dark and difficult. We are constantly perpetuating the narrative that the only satisfying moments of being alive are when we are happy and content, when so much of life is much more complex and nuanced than that. Rather than trying to “be well”, since we have now created such a narrow definition of what well actually is, I say what if we tried to embrace the wholeness of our humanity? When we are down and out, it’s not because something is wrong, but rather because we are human and it’s natural to struggle. And at the same time, when we are joyful and happy, may we not feel as if we have arrived to a permanent state of being but rather, acknowledge the impermanence so that we may appreciate them more.
I know this may not seem as if it is directly connected to food and eating, but I do believe that it all co-mingles together. As much of a bad wrap as emotional eating gets, the reality is that eating and emotions often go hand in hand. We will talk much more about this in week 7 and I will give more practical advice on how to navigate the two of these together. For now, I wanted to simply lay the groundwork and draw the parallels between our emotions, food and the detriments of restriction all around.
It’s like Glennon Doyle says in Untamed “being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, being human is hard because you’re doing it right”. This idea that we could give ourselves unconditional permission to eat for the sake of making peace with food and our bodies may seem counter to the current cultural narrative, but I promise that it is an incredibly important step in the process of making peace with yourself as a whole, awake and alive human being. It will take time, it will be hard and that will be ok because this is a process of learning to live in wholehearted trust with yourself. If it were easy, we wouldn’t have come up with all of these ways to try to avoid doing the work in the first place. And I do believe that dieting and restriction is essentially the easy button we came up with to not cope with our wholeness. But also as Glennon says, we can do hard things and learning to be unconditional and peaceful with all the ways you are human is oh so worth it.
Love following along? Make sure you are subscribed!
Also, please SHARE with anyone who you think would also love to follow along and STAY TUNED for some exciting coaching updates for anyone who is wanting to heal their relationship with food!
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.