Today I’m popping in to answer FOUR common questions I get asked about how to heal your relationship with food and your body.
1. I try so hard to eat healthy during the day and then as soon as I get home I’m straight to the fridge. How can I stop this?
I’m going to start out by saying that when I hear and read that people are ‘trying’ so hard to be healthy I can understand WHY at some point it all collapses. And here’s why: It’s because this ‘trying’ to be healthy is essentially all about restricting.
What do I mean when I say ‘restriction’. Restriction can be emotional (how you feel when you eat something e.g. shame, guilt, self loathing) AND physical (what you’re actually doing e.g. avoiding/ abstaining from sugar).
So it’s only natural that after a certain point in time you WILL only naturally engage in some ‘rebellious’ eating…which is ironic really. But as food is biologically designed to give us pleasure, it doesn’t surprise me at all to see people who have restricted and deprived themselves for some time, eventually permit.
Addressing this sorts of question with my clients (more on that process here) involves addressing WHAT I think is the ‘real’ problem beneath emotional eating, which is emotional restriction (that is the shame, fear of weight gain, or feelings of failure associated with emotional eating). This is what I believe turns eating a few squares of chocolate into eating the whole damn block (aka a ‘binge’).
2. I used to diet for YEARS and still kind of do. But now I’m more accepting…though I just can’t stop reaching for sugar. My eating habits are SO bad. What’s the deal?
I believe that all cravings stem from restriction…which is the case in point in his question. And therefore I don’t believe that cravings can therefore be managed with ‘restriction in disguise’ techniques such as eating more veggies (a theory called crowding out), eating a tablespoon of coconut oil or drinking lots of water.
While many women tell me they ‘aren’t restricting’, their struggle with ‘sugar cravings’ is generally stemming from some form of the emotional side of restriction (defined above).
I’m seeing a HUGE and SCARY rise in the type of emotional restriction that lends itself to a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way of eating. For example let’s talk about all the press stating sugar is WRONG, POISON and the DEVIL. This can then lead us to feel guilt, shame, self loathing and obsessive preoccupation when we eat the food in question, which then often leads people to restrict.
BUT ironically this will lead to a rebellious mindset and THEN rebellious behaviour around the food. As a general rule of thumb restriction will inevitably lead to binge eating at some point (which is why diets- which are based on restriction- NEVER ever work…and many people gain the weight right back- if not MORE of it).
You can read more about restriction here.
So now we have covered restriction and how it is generally the real reason behind the ‘sugar cravings’ my question for you is: Are you restricting in some way or another (emotional or physical??).
3. Is it possible to be healthy and be a ‘normal’ eater?
OF COURSE. Normal eating isn’t something you do per se, it’s a way of thinking. Furthermore normal eating is not defined by what you eat, but rather how you feel about what yourself. If you want to know more I wrote about it here.
Being ‘healthy’ is so subjective BUT the point here is that a ‘normal eater’ doesn’t feel the emotional investment with food that the ‘non normal eater’ experiences. So they aren’t looking at a carrot and thinking ‘I MUST, ought or should eat you because your healthy and healthy is the ONLY way to eat’. They eat carrots because they eat to feel both physically and mentally nourished.
Thinking about food from a judgmental point of view is irrelevant for the ‘normal eater’. Food is just food.
So yes, you can eat healthy food from a ‘healthy’ mindset which in my point is the whole ‘thing’ we are ALL in some way or another trying to unlock for ourselves.
4. How do I learn to ‘love my body’. Nothing seems to work
I’m going to be straight up here: If you haven’t honestly and deeply addressed your self-judgement around food or your body, your fears of gaining weight or “losing control,” or your food-related conditions for self-acceptance…then there’s a reason why nothing seems to be working…because you have only tried one thing (the same thing), which is dieting.
Many of you know by now that I believe that many of the real issues people are crazy around food is because of body image issues in disguise.
I believe that body image issues fuel the restrictive eating…that then fuel the ‘I’m stuck- help!’.
Step one in achieving body acceptance is identifying your rationalizations for body shame (e.g. ‘but it’s all for my health’ or ‘loving myself as is will make me fat’ or ‘but no one will love me if I’m bigger’)…. and challenging the validity of those beliefs.
If you want to hear from me more often right into your inbox, pop your details in the form below and I will send you 2 RAD freebies and exclusive insights that only my VIP newsletter crew get.
If you think I’m onto something good and you’re interested in working with me, click here to find out some details on my private coaching.