Here’s some things I used to struggle with around food:
1. All-You-Can-Eat buffets: “Gotta get my money’s worth!”
2. Eating day old birthday cake at work: “Would hate to see it go to waste!”
3. SUPER-SIZE for only $1.49 more: “It’s such a better deal!”
4. There’s food left on your plate: “There are starving kids in Africa!”
5. Monday morning cookies will be off-limits: “Better just polish everything off today!”
These are examples of thought patterns that were ingrained in how I interacted with food on a daily basis.
Have you ever had thoughts like these?
We eat more food than we really want to, and we eat things that we don’t really want, because somehow we think we’re missing out or losing if we don’t …
Do you see a problem here?
And, on the surface, it really feels like the FOOD is the problem.
When we’re stressed, the easiest solution seems to be … Avoidance and restriction.
“I’ll just stop eating carbs forever”
“After this weekend, I’m swearing off chips”
“Starting on Monday, NO MORE CHOCOLATE!”
Have you ever noticed that as soon as something isn’t an option, we want it even more?
So, how the heck do we untwist these brain-pretzel feelings and thought patterns that are controlling our relationship with food?
Well, you can take back the power by removing their control.
“Well, that sounds good, but how do you actually do that?
How about instead of putting them up on some big pedestal, and making them special foods ONLY allowed on certain days …
Normalize them.
They’re not magical. They don’t hold the power to make any of your problems go away.
Strip them of their “forbidden” label and start to trust yourself to handle it.
“But … But … I have NO self-control! If I do that, I’ll eat EVERYTHING!”
Are you sure?
Yeah, ok, you might overindulge and go a little crazy in the beginning, but over time you will eventually stop wanting to eat absolutely EVERTYHING in the cupboard.
Something interesting happens in our brains when we give ourself permission to eat things.
Treat it as if it’s any other food you never think about.
If you’re really worried about it, ask me about my “Stop Sign” method.
Our fears don’t go away by hiding from them. If you want to overcome the fear and guilt around food?
The solution is to confront it. You have to expose yourself to the foods you fear and then observe. In the beginning, yeah, you’ll feel some pretty strong emotions.
But, they come and go in waves. And if you “surf the urge”, you’ll notice it’ll pass in 20-30 minutes.
Be mindful. Practice things like assessing your hunger levels, and tuning in to satisfaction with your meals.
You can stop when satisfied, and … you can always have more later when you’re hungry again.
When no foods are off-limits, the “last supper” mentality (I gotta eat everything NOW!!) … that starts to fade.
No more “starting on Monday.”
No more “this is my only chance!”
No more “it’s free!”
But, of course, the reality is … This takes time.
And a ton of patience!
These thought patterns didn’t just show up overnight, so they won’t just disappear overnight either.
But, as they do fade, you become ok with not ever being perfect again.
Because you won’t be, and it will be precisely because of that that you’ll succeed long-term.
We don’t just want to be healthy for that wedding, or grad or big event … We want this FOR LIFE.
It’s time to start living life on YOUR terms again.