I don’t know about you, but I am tired of people saying, “weight loss is simple. Just eat less and exercise, (and under their breath you hear, or in their eyes you see) ya big, fat fatty!”
Some people can easily follow that advice. They scale back their food, the kick up their physical activity and they get slim.
Others need food for more than calories.
Food gets them through the day.
Food helps them cope with stress.
Food helps them get their anger under control.
Food helps them stay awake. Food helps them wake up.
Food makes them feel happy for a few minutes when their life seems mostly joyless.
Food is there for them when they feel like they have nobody to whom to turn.
When they try to eat less, they experience strong cravings and experience uncomfortable hunger signals. If they give into an emotion or a craving or hunger and eat off plan, the guilt is all-consuming and the feeling or worthlessness grows.
You may be able to relate to those people. I can because that was once me.
It could describe your relationship with food. You may know the pain and shame of feeling unable to control your eating. You may also know how it feels to have your shame reinforced by looks and comments from people who don’t understand. You might know how their behavior and failing to understand what drives you only increases your shame and pushes you into more eating on the sly. You may know how horribly awful it feels to hide your “habit.”
While scientists argue whether food is an addictive substance in the true sense of the word, it doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t. You know that you use food in a way that abuses both your body and your mind. Unlike the alcoholic or the coke fiend you can’t just stop using the substance. If you’re using food in an abusive manner you must change your relationship with food.
Changing your relationship with food is accepting “food isn’t the enemy.”
Your thoughts about yourself and your inability to “control your eating” is the enemy. You already know that trying to eat less is a counterproductive first step. Been there/done that/ate more!
The first step isn’t eating less is challenging limiting beliefs. The following beliefs take away your power to change your relationship with food.
1) I am ashamed of the way I eat because of my choices and quantities.
2) I am addicted to (fill in the blank ____ sweets, chips, pizza______ food in general or some other food addiction not mentioned)
3) I don’t deserve to eat food I enjoy because I’m so fat.
4) I don’t have willpower.
5) I can’t change my relationship with food because I’ve tried and failed (one or many times.)
Practice saying these affirming statements. When you change how you talk to yourself you give yourself power to change your beliefs so that you can take charge of your actions instead of thinking food controls your actions.
1) Eating is a normal behavior. I will eat what I want, when I want it, in front of whomever happens to be around. I refuse to allow anybody, including myself shame me for eating! Say it and do it!
2) I am not addicted to (___fill in the blank___) I can enjoy all foods in balance and moderation. Say it and believe it and you will be able to prove that it’s a true statement.
3) I deserve to enjoy every bite of food I take. Repeat this often. Eating is supposed to be a pleasure for every living creature on the planet regardless of weight.
4) I can have what I want. It’s a matter or identifying what I want. Willpower is not a useful weight management tool. It forces you to think about what you can’t have. Thinking about what you can’t have only makes you want it more. Focus on what you want!
5) I can have a healthy and satisfying relationship with all foods. I will not run away from the foods I love; I will learn to love them more by eating them in balance and moderation. Throw away all the books and diet plans that reinforce the false notion that you’re unable to control your “addictive food substances.” Your goal is to learn how to eat what satisfies you in balance and moderation. Diets that have “forbidden foods” keep you weak.
Surround yourself with supportive, non judgmental people to help you avoid retreating back to your limiting beliefs.
Food isn’t a drug. It’s a necessity for life! Get strong and stay strong by allowing yourself to eat any food and be confident that you have the power and ability to eat it in the context of an overall healthy food plan!