Are you of afraid of food?
Seriously, think about it for a moment…
What meaning do you give to food? Do you allow it to nourish you? Or, are you resisting it…? Do you think you are ‘bad’ for consuming it, ridden with guilt, but eating it anyway?
Let me share a little something I wrote when I was in the thick of a painful relationship with food.
April 24th, 2006:
I did sooo well all day long and then at night I got anxious and just blew it. I hate that I do that and don’t know how to stop. I’m sitting there thinking I shouldn’t be eating this and then I eat it anyway. The whole thing is this painful process. I just argue in my head and eating just becomes this enemy. I just want to eat healthy. I ate so much tonight and I didn’t even want to and I have to start all over again tomorrow and feel gross when I wake up.
Does this sound familiar to you? This is what I like to call the all-or-nothing mentality. The black and white thinking when it comes to food. For many years of my life, I was consumed by an identity wrapped up in dieting. The constant striving to be thin and the need to eat as a way to alter my weight got me into a whole lot of trouble.
I like to refer to this as the ‘disordered eating cycle.’ I have pages and pages of journal entries from these years which I’ll continue to share with you here, but first let’s address the idea that eating is not the enemy.
When we make food evil or forbidden or not allowed, we are more likely to abuse it. If we convince ourselves that certain things are ‘off limits’ and then we ‘cave’ once we consume them, that’s what I believe is one way that the disordered thinking is born.
When I had this whole category of food that I labeled as ‘unhealthy’ and therefore wouldn’t allow myself to have, I began to fear food, and that’s when it became the enemy. I wasn’t eating for me at all, I was eating to be ‘good,’ and this lead me to not live up to unrealistic eating ideals I’d placed on myself.
I was rebelling against myself. And all I really wanted was to eat healthy because it made me feel good, but because I’d created so many rules around food and eating, I lost sight of listening to myself at all. Then the pounds crept on. I was living completely inauthentically, trapped in the cycle, hiding, and completely unhappy with myself and with life.
So, how do we move beyond this mentality?
1. Lift any rules you have around food.
Nothing is off limits. Truly. I know this may seem counter-intuitive to you and that if nothing is off limits then you’re going to be gorging all day on candy and cookies and cake and whatever is in your ‘off limits’ bucket. But, the novelty will wear off. It’s just not true. Because at the end of the day we all want to feel good, and that doesn’t feel good after a while.
2. Focus on what makes you feel good.
Only you know what makes you feel good. I can give you a list of things that are scientifically proven, but it’s your body. Only you know. So, focus on that. Be your own experiment. Find the eating protocol that works for you. When you eat something, does it give you energy? Do you feel like you’re crashing? Do you feel sluggish? Try keeping a food-feeling log to get a better sense.
3. Food is neutral.
Let this one be your manta. Food is not good. Food is not bad. Food is food. Take any electric charge out of food by repeating to yourself, you are neutral upon eating.
4. Disassociate eating with weight loss.
The more we associate food with being the very thing that is going to make us ‘skinny’ or ‘fat’ the more we’re going to be in the disordered relationship with it. Don’t make it about weight loss. Make it about satiating your physical hunger. That’s all.
If you are in a spot where food feels like the enemy, please reach out to me. On Aug 5th of an undefined year, I wrote another journal entry that says:
I’ve realized that with my way of thinking, every day is going to be a battle.
It’s possible to change your thinking. Life and your relationship with food doesn’t have to be a battle. We’re in this together.
You can also sign up for my free 7-day program, which helps shift your thinking and free yourself from this cycle.