Overeating, binge eating, emotional eating. For almost everyone I talk to and work with, these negative eating patterns are a sign. A symptom. A red flag showing you that something is off in your life.
Eating more than your body needs with accompanying negative emotions such as guilt, overwhelment, loss of control and embarrassment, tells you that there are other areas of your life where you feeling less than positive.
I had a conversation with a friend today and she was describing how something in her life wasn’t going well and people would say to her;
But at least you are healthy.
You can be thankful that you live in such a great house.
And those things are true. And wonderful. And ARE something to appreciate.
But when you are feeling afraid or helpless or worried or powerless,
Having someone tell you that you ought to be be grateful,
can feel dam well annoying.
That goes for trying to appreciate on your own too.
It can make you feel WORSE because a now you feel bad for not being thankful enough.
Or you end up putting a fake happy mask over the dread and anxiety you are ACTUALLY feeling.
In those situations,
trying to be grateful is doing no good.
The whole point of being thankful is to elicit within you a FEELING of appreciation.
If the opposite is happening, you are better off not writing your ‘3 things for which you are grateful’ list.
Sure, when you are feeling more neutral or in a more positive mind space, appreciation is awesome! And I can’t recommend it highly enough.
That’s because when you are in a more positive mood, it’s not such a big jump to CREATE the feeling of appreciation .
But going from powerlessness and worry… is too large a leap.
What to do instead?
Aim for feeling SLIGHTLY better.
Not all the way in love with life and brimming with gratitude.
Just slightly shift your focus onto a thought that feels a little more calming. A bit more broad. A touch more gentle.
‘I am doing OK. Not great, but OK’
‘This is tough but tough can get easier in time’
‘Breathe. Take in a breath. That’s all I need to do right now’
‘I don’t need to fix this all at once.’
You will know you have found a more helpful thought when thinking about it makes want to breathe a little sigh of relief. When you feel your shoulder relax a little. When you feel the worry lines on your forehead soften a smidgen.
Then keep doing that.
Choose a slightly improved thought.
Let yourself notice and acknowledge that you were able to every so gently shift the feeling within you.
Do that, and you are on your way to effortless, great-feeling, overflowing states of appreciation.
What’s normal and what’s normalized are two very different things.
What has become normalized:
Deciding to quit sugar and then discussing with friends how bad you have been this weekend because you ate WAY more than you ‘should’ have. Obsessing and worrying about when and what to eat. Never knowing what is the right choice. Being ashamed of parts of your body. Having to ‘work off’ something you have eaten. Failing this diet and that diet. Falling off the wagon. Having to HAUL yourself back onto the wagon. Guilt. Embarrassment. Self-deprecation.
Just because something is common, doesn’t make it normal
What IS normal?
Finding it easy to choose the foods that you love and that help your body to thrive. Having vibrant health and radiant joy. Moving your body for pleasure, energy and enjoyment. Eating in accordance with the signals from your wise, wonderful body. Savoring and relishing what you eat. Having a food relationship that is nourishing and ease-full. Not having to worry or feel bad about when, how and what you ingest. Making choices that love and support your most vibrant self.
So it’s January, prime diet starting time, and I want to know:
Did you choose to try follow a few new rules, deny yourself your favorite treats, tell yourself that this time (this time i swear!) I will finally get control of my eating and sort this body out? Did you choose to give this controlling your body and your eating with outside ideals and restriction another go (even though deep down you know it ain’t going to work)?
Or have you chosen to set yourself free. To start eating for pleasure and joy and radiance. Have you chosen to make peace with yourself and peace with your plate? Have you chosen the path of discovering how to be a happy, healthy, peaceful eater (and woman) not just this month but every year to come? Have you decided that enough is enough and you are FINALLY READY to let go of what isn’t working and embrace the intuitive, vibrant woman you feel you can be?
Whatever your choice; you are a brilliant, wonderful human being. There are no wrong answers.