Do You Become a Munching Maniac at Night? Yep, I Know. Read This.
I was having this conversation with a new client just the other day. She was regaling how, no matter how many nutrition and personal development books she reads (and over the years there’ve been a few), she can’t seem to get a permanent handle on her food. When she feels icky, anxious or out of control she either puts herself on a strict diet (no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, no FUN) or eats everything in sight.
“I’m just an extreme type of person,” she cried. “I see things in black and white and really struggle in finding the middle way with my food!”
Holy goodness do I know about being an all or nothing kind of girl. In a sea of unknowns we crave certainty and what’s more certain than locking in on a new diet or eating a pint of ice cream? Both feel wonderful...for a hot minute. And then, you feel slimed and stuck. But really, if you can’t control what’s happening in your marriage, at work, the economy, with your best friend, at least you can have some say as to what goes in your mouth, right?
Believing we’re fat then looking to food for control OR comfort becomes our knee-jerk reaction to stress.
We hide from what needs addressing in our lives by busying ourselves with detoxing then downing cake, under-eating then over-eating, obsessively exercising then resenting it, all in an attempt to numb our underlying truth.
“So tell me, Dana,” I said to my client, “What else is going on in your life right now?”
She told me about a disagreement she’d had with her boss which she worried would impact their dynamic, the new guy she was dating and her fear she was getting too attached, too soon, and the fight she’d just had with her mother.
“Damn gurl,” I said. “See, it’s not that you’re a control freak nut who can’t figure her food out, it's that either going on a diet or seeking comfort in cookies is how you deal with the stressful parts of your life you feel you cannot control. It’s how you create order in a chaotic world."
“The issue,” I continued, “Is that whether you are on a strict Paleo diet or downing half of a pizza, neither makes you feel any more settled or at peace.”
Dana took a deep breath to let it all settle. “So then, what do I do?”
Together we dug into her need for control and laid out a plan of how to openly address the stress in her life. Two weeks later we talked and Dana felt lighter. She felt relieved with the realization that her instinct to restrict her food while simultaneously binging on veggie chips didn’t mean she was out of control or fat.
In addressing the truth of her concerns rather than numbing them with all or nothing thinking, she began to loosen her grip on food, started to feel more settled in her skin and her eating, magically, became easy.
I believe that though you may struggle with finding the middle way with your food, you don't have to. I believe that when you get overwhelmed and knee-jerk to thinking you’re fat and your food is out of control, then scramble to get yourself in-line with an eating plan, you haven't lost your mind but instead are seeking order in the middle of chaos.
There is another way. It starts with looking at what really needs viewing.
I have one more spot open in my private coaching practice and if you want this other way, click here and we’ll talk.
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