If you’re anything like me, or the me of old but the not-so-old-me-that-I-don’t-remember me, you know what it’s like to obsess over food. Obsess over weight. Over calories. Over good food versus bad food. Over punishing yourself for wrong choices. As a compulsive dieter and emotional eater you’ll understand what it’s like to go all day eating “good” foods, sticking to the plan you stayed up til midnight devising and promising to yourself that THIS TIME you will stick to it and then all of a sudden your face down in a pool of curve embracing carbs and the only way out is to eat your way through it all. I’ve been there. Often. Not too long ago in fact. I’ve found myself time and time again resisting food for most of the day, eating healthy meals and snacks and then WHAM! 3pm hits and it’s like the fridge automatically opens itself up and empties its full contents into my mouth leaving only the well meaning carrot sticks and grapes behind.
Food has been constantly on my mind for, at least, the past decade. At least. I have had a war with food for a long time and it has been torture! And for those of you that get it you will get that after the binge comes the guilt. Then with the guilt comes the feelings of being a failure and so therefore the intake of more food before finally the promises that tomorrow will be different. It’s tough. It’s a daily, fucked up, tough cycle. Something only first worlders have to whinge about which then makes us feel even shitter about the fact our problem is that there is too much food and yet somewhere else in the world children are starving!
Some of us use food like a drug. We become addicted to the short term joy it brings us. It’s like a security blanket. It keeps you safe. It never lets you down. The food is always there for you. The hollow fullness is always there to comfort you. But it’s not really. I made this discovery recently. Although I can admit that I’ve really known it for a very long time. I’ve also known the reasons why I have spent way too long overeating which is, ironically, to feel small. To stay insignificant. Because being small and insignificant meant I was safe and hidden. That my low self worth and insipid guilt of my past actions couldn’t be seen. That because of these past actions I must remain with my head bowed in an apologetic stance for the rest of my life. Not worthy. A failure. A fat failure.
In my recent revelations I’ve learnt some new ways to move beyond my decade+ long food struggle. I’ve seen the light so-to-speak and my entire day is NOT filled with food thoughts. I eat when I’m hungry. I eat what I want. I am smiling. I am happy. I am still considered overweight and my outer body doesn’t yet reflect my inner body but I’ve let my security blanket go and I want you to join me in the revolution of being in control of food.
So without further adieu here are my five tips.
1. Quit dieting.
For food obsessors dieting is like putting a lit ciggie in a smokers mouth and telling them not to suck it in. Right? It’s torture! Dieting instantly fills you with a mix of hopefulness and dread even more so if you’ve been dieting on and off for years. Dieting means restriction, not having what you like – or think you like. Dieting means failure. Failures mean bingeing. Bingeing means you are back where you started. Get off the cycle! Ditch the diet books, like, seriously, throw those fuckers out don’t even try to sell them on Facebook Buy & Sell – they are not worth a cent! Steer clear of gossip magazines with a bikini clad celeb on the cover and the headline “How she lost 15kg overnight”. And run the fuck away from googling anything keto/paleo/atkins/dukan/cabbage soup diet related and unfollow all those instagram feeds where the motto is “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. None, and I will repeat this for you, NONE of these diets are helpful when you are obsessed with food, an emotional eater or compulsive dieter. I don’t say this to take away the hope for a slimmer you I tell you this because our “diet” begins in our minds and not with a restrictive food plan. So I am sorry but what works for your best mate, your father in law, your sisters-friends-mister isn’t the kind of diet you need. For most of us it’s a mind thing not a diet thing. Please remember that.
2. Keep track.
No not of your food! Keep track of your emotions. Your thoughts. When do you start obsessing? If you feel like it is all of the time, which was me, then think about when your food obsession is at its worst for you? Is it after dinner is finished? Is it after a session at the gym or is it, like me, the minute you get home from school pickup? We are a slave to our thoughts so recognising where they happen, when they are the strongest, what can set them off and what can ease them will really set a solid foundation of understanding your triggers. With understanding comes power and with power comes the confidence to move forward. We want to move forward because I sure as eggs don’t want to be an eighty year old woman still bitching and moaning about my weight. I want to fucken live a full and exciting life. Something I have been working on A LOT in the last 12 months and I have to say I like this moving forward trajectory thinga-me-bob.
3. Pull the Wonder Woman Pose.
Yep it sounds silly and it’ll look silly too when you are standing all super powerfully in front of the fridge or in line at Maccas but guess what? It works. It is proven that standing in the Wonder Woman pose will give you more power and more confidence which then gives you the capability to make a better choice. Even if it’s assertiveness towards a kitchen appliance and all it’s contents or the pimply boy waiting to take your order. This power pose communicates not only to others but more importantly to yourself that you are serious and in control. You. Are. In. Control! Hold it for two minutes. Chest out, shoulders back, feet apart and fists on hips. Oh and remember to breath! You can also use a power pose while you are eating! Yes good posture will slow your eating. It’ll raise your awareness and it will make each mouthful mindful. Shoulders back. Head held high. Eat with purpose. Eat with control. Why? Because food does not control you. Wonder Woman is your girl! Channel her.
4. Find your cheerleaders.
Surround yourself with love and support. Find “your person”. Find your best supportive babe. That one person who will not judge you, the one who will stay neutral to how you are feeling now but will always offer encouragement for the steps ahead. Cheerleaders are the bomb. They get you. They also see you for who you truly are and they want you to love the absolute shit out of you as much as they do. It really is true. They can see all the good parts of you that you cannot see and they want you shine. So shine you fucking Goddess, SHINE!
5. Enjoy food.
Don’t be scared of this one but learn to enjoy food again – for what it is. Food is fuel but food is also a part of daily life. We cannot just give it up, go cold turkey and wait for the shivers and shakes to stop. But food really needs to be put in its place and it is up to us to do it. See it for what it is. Tell yourself that because we are the lucky ones there will always be enough food. That chocolate will be there tomorrow and the next day and the next day. It doesn’t need to be hoed down in one go. It is not going anywhere. It will always be available. It is just chocolate. Don’t count calories. Don’t claim food as “good” or “bad” it’s just food. Once you tune into your body you will naturally gravitate to what makes you feel light and bright. It’ll take time but how long has it taken you to get to this point – with no success.
What happens from here on in is a deeply personal transformation. Something that is not clearly visible to the eye but it is there. People will notice. The mental transformation, for us, is the most important stage. A body transformation cannot be sustained without a stable mental change. And let me tell you once your mental transformation begins the body transformation doesn’t have much significance anymore because you will learn along the way how amazing your body has been during the time of mental anguish you have just endured. You will recognise the strength your body has had to have over this time and how supportive it has been to you to keep getting up and trying again and again. Don’t blame your body. Thank it. What a gift you have been given. Now go. Go stand in that wonderful Wonder Woman pose. Because you, my friend, are not small and insignificant at all. You are purposeful and powerful.
Shine on Goddesses!