Many of us struggle in our relationship with food daily. I’m sure many of you have tried dieting, exercising to the point of exhaustion, and even have gone to the extreme of starving yourself, just to find your so-called “self-control” failing you. You may feel as if you have an addiction to food – You have an uncontrollable desire to eat everything in sight that isn’t nailed down, while obsessing over every bite.
You may have tried to fight it, telling yourself “if only I could get my food under control, then everything would be better.” Or maybe you have blamed a specific nutrient, such as gluten, or the time of day you eat, etc.
I’ll let you in on a little secret; this problem has nothing to do with the food itself. It runs much deeper. In fact it’s connected to a spiritual problem, one that may be in many areas in your life. When you are finally able to deal with the “real issues,” the food issues clear up. Usually on their own, but some added guidance from professionals might not be a bad idea.
So here are some things that I have discussed with many of my clients who struggle with these same issues. They have worked for them, so apply them to your life and see your relationship with food improve.
First of all, you cannot rely on anything external to satisfy you. No object, place, or person is a reliable source of happiness. The reason being, once that “thing” has lived out its fifteen minutes of fame with you, it loses its appeal. Basically, in order to be fully satisfied you need to find happiness from within. Reconnect with you.
Sometime you may also feel “controlled” by something or someone outside of you. When this occurs, it’s because you are giving that object, or individual, the control. In addition you may determine your own self-worth based on the outcome. Just like how outside objects cannot truly satisfy you, they can’t ever truly define you either. Don’t forget this.
Another tip, and this one is really helpful, is check in with yourself instead of resisting the temptation. I know that it might not be the first thing on your mind when that overwhelming desire for food takes over, but take a moment and ask yourself “why am I doing what I’m doing?” Those compulsive behaviors are usually techniques that are developed to deal with feelings or underlying insecurities. When we don’t deal with those real questions, the “cookie jar” wins.
One thing I keep repeating to my client’s is “fast results equals fast failures”. What this means is that dieting doesn’t work. Yes you might get to your “goal” faster, but once you hit your “goal” then what? You go right back to how you were eating before. People do this so often, trying one diet after another, that they truly forget how to eat for themselves. Did you know that if you just listen to your body, you can reach your “goal” and maintain it? It may take a little longer than you would like, but your setting a solid foundation of positive eating habits that you will be able to maintain for a lifetime. This is the idea behind Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch MS, RD, FADA. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It has been very helpful for many of my clients, and is a philosophy that I follow myself. Your body knows exactly what you need; you just need to trust her.
Finally, know that you will never be, and never have been, perfect. And that’s okay. No one has. Until we embrace that fact that eating is a part of life, and there is no reason to control or manipulate it to be the “right way”, we will struggle. There are not “good” foods. There are not “bad” foods. There is however, your intuitive nature. Get in touch with yourself. When we start listening to ourselves we will know exactly what to do. Feel free to apply this to other areas in your life as well, such as relationships, or decision-making.