One of the most powerful realizations I’ve had about our relationship with food is that many of us use food to fulfill a variety of needs.

I definitely used to. I ate when I was bored. When I was lonely. When I was excited. When I craved comfort. When I felt achingly disappointed.

When food clearly couldn’t give me what I truly needed or yearned for.

In part two of my interview with Christie Inge, the creator of The Peaceful Eating Kit – The Tools You Need to End the War with Food, she talks eloquently about fulfilling our needs and truly, truly nourishing ourselves.

Also, don’t forget that Christie is generously offering Weightless readers 25 percent off the The Peaceful Eating Kit. Just enter the word “weightless” for the discount code when you’re checking out.

Q: One of my favorite parts of your peaceful eating kit is where you discuss needs, and how we might be using food to meet a variety of needs. In your work with clients, what’s the most common need we try to fill with food?

A: It varies from person to person and in my work, I have found six (out of 12) to be the most pervasive. Those six are: play, celebration, autonomy, rest, safety, and love. For me personally, the two main needs I met with food were rest and autonomy. With the women who are most attracted to my work, autonomy seems to be the biggest one.

You know that moment when you’ve been dieting for a couple weeks (or hours) and you say “screw it” (that’s the PG version), I’m going to eat whatever I want. Well, that is your need for autonomy screaming out loud and clear. As humans, we truly crave living life on our own terms and the rules of dieting are in direct conflict with that need.

Q: What are some ways we can fill our needs so that we’re truly nourishing ourselves?

A: As I mentioned above, I believe that we have 12 core human needs. These needs are universal and we are wired, on a primal level, to constantly meet them.

The first step is to understand what your needs are and the ways in which you currently meet them. I believe they are: Safety, autonomy, play, rest, growth, love, belonging, celebration, integrity, reverence, sustenance, contribution.

It is also important to understand that each of us have our own set of language to describe each of these needs. For example, I might say “I need to meditate” but what I really need is growth, rest, and belonging (to self). Meditation is just one of the ways in which I could meet them. I could also go for a hike in nature, take a nap, or read a self-development book.

Once you understand what your needs are, the language you use to describe them, and the current way you are meeting those needs, it is time to brainstorm healthier ways that might truly work for you.

So, since we talked about autonomy, let’s look at healthier ways of meeting that need. To meet the need for autonomy, you would want to begin setting boundaries, speaking up for yourself, and truly digging into what you really want for your life.

On an “outside work” level, you might want to take up a hobby that expresses who you truly are or even start a blog. For each person this will be different.

Just like there is no single way to eat in a way that nourishes everyone, there is no single way to meet needs – we each have to experiment and explore with what works for us as individuals.

Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know?

A: I’d like (your) readers to know that they can have a peaceful relationship with food. It isn’t a perfect journey of rainbows and butterflies – it takes self-devotion, patience, deep kindness, and a willingness to show up and do the work – but it is possible.

And deeper than that, I don’t believe anyone is “too far gone.” I get a lot of emails from women all over the world who think it can’t actually work for them because they are “just too far gone.” But, I’d like to remind you that “too far gone” is just a limiting belief. You are in charge of what you think, feel, and believe and if your current way isn’t working – change it.

More About Christie Inge:

Christie Inge, HHC, is the author of The Peaceful Eating Kit – The Tools You Need to End the War with Food and is the creator of The Body Love Alchemy Private Community.

After years on the diet and binge roller coaster, she realized that the answers she was looking for had nothing to do with the size of her blue jeans or the food on her plate.  She set out onto a quest to make peace with food, her body and her weight once and for all. She began sharing her experiences on her popular, heartfelt blog. Overtime, she found that her greatest gift was helping women, just like her, overcome their struggles, too.

She has taken what she learned in the school of hard knocks and coupled that with what she has learned in her professional trainings to create a system that has helped thousands of women to make peace with food and to stop hating their bodies. No get thin quick schemes. No magic wands. Just real results.

You can learn more about her work by grabbing your copy of The NO BULLSH*T Getting Started Guide for Making Peace with Foodhere or join the conversation on facebook and twitter.

Thanks so much to Christie for sharing her wisdom on Weightless!