I have been talking a lot recently about how counter intuitive dieting is and how it is actually not saving your ass in the long run at all. See here, here and here. If you’re new to my work I really encourage you to read up on what I view as the ultimate end point to all of this ‘craziness around food’, which is essentially to become a normal eater. I describe what that looks like in detail here and here.
So to those people who ‘get’ the gist of what i’m saying BUT are still stuck around the ‘what can I do’ part here’s some of the best advice I can give you:
1. Stop dieting (aka relinquish control):
It might sound obvious but it really needs to be said: I honestly can’t write enough about the fact that relinquishing control is the KEY or better put, the ONLY way to eradicate the diet-binge cycle….because you can’t win in the long run…you can’t beat natural biological processes that exist to keep you alive…which includes protecting you against starvation).
- You’ve got to find a way to actually work out what you need to let go of in your life. Chances are letting go of the control around your weight isn’t the ONLY thing you’re going to need to relinquish…..because you’re controlling your weight for something in return (e.g. ‘success’, ‘beauty’, ‘popularity’ etc). Check in with areas of your life such as career, finances, relationships, exercise and ask yourself “What is and isn’t working for me”.
- Ask for feedback from trusted people only. Ask them “What would you encourage me to let go of [in the areas which concern you]”
- Work out how it is you want to feel in life (see here) and then work out what might be one thing you can do, in each of the ‘problem’ areas which will help you start to move towards feeling this way. Action is the only way to start moving forward.
2. Find a life outside of food:
Yes, that’s right…back in the day you actually had a life that did not revolve around food 24/7. You weren’t born obsessing about food- which you need to remember. SO, if you weren’t born obsessing about food and you have in fact learned to ‘do’ this, you can most certainly unlearn this. And the best way I know how to do this is listed below.
- Start to explore your interests, passions and things that excite you (even slightly) beyond food. What would you like to be doing if food wasn’t taking up so much of your ‘brain space’? What excites you even slightly beyond food? If you could do anything without ‘failing’ what would you do/ explore/ investigate?
- Think of the next step you can take to get one of these things underway. e.g. investigate your interest on the internet, ask a friend to attend a class with you, calling up and asking for more information, book a complimentary call with that coach you’ve been stalking for awhile.
3. Get some fresh perspectives:
You will only get what you keep getting if you keep doing what you’ve always done.
There’s no other way to say it. I teach my clients to mentally separate weight from health, which is critical in overcoming feeling crazy around food. Furthermore feeling crazy around weight and subsequently setting weight loss goals etc is a defence mechanism you have been trained into believing is the only way to be ‘content’ with your body. HELL NO!
- Grab a journal and dig deep: What does weight mean to you? What does health mean to you? What do you ideally want health and weight to mean to you? What do you want health and weight to mean to your children/ future children?
- Silence that ‘voice’: Understand this voice aims to keep you safe and wants nothing more than to protect you (from the judgements of others mainly when it comes to weight and your body)…but ‘it’ isn’t needed when it comes to food and your body (we do need a protective voice when it comes to some other things in life, but no, not when it comes to food). I like to say a little ‘speech’ to fear when it comes knocking, letting it know that is likely to co-exist with any change I make towards healing my relationship with food and my body, but that it’s not calling the shots. Write your own one. See here for my video blog on this topic.
4. Stop body hating:
This tip has so many elements to it but basically what I mean here is start opening your mind up to the fact that liking your body is A HUGE point of difference between “normal” and “non normal” eaters AND it will destroy disordered eating. Promise. Essentially we hate our bodies because of this preconceived idea that our bodies dictate our core self esteem..or in other words that our bodies determine WHO and WHAT we are (e.g. successful, beautiful, healthy, wealthy, sexy, popular etc).
- I strongly believe that unless you do the work and compartmentalise “health” from “weight” you’re not going to get anyway FAST. So step 1 is to identify your rationalizations for body shame, and challenge the validity of those beliefs (hint: go to the previous actions in point 3 and ask yourself ‘what is making me believe this’ next to each of your rationalisations).
- It’s essential to really get underneath your diet/ body hate triggers too. Start to identify what in your life is triggering you to body hate/ shame/ blame (e.g. a newsletter from a certain health blogger, an instagram account, magazines). Find what they are and get rid of them.
- Screen your judgments about others. When we can stand up for others and individuality amongst peoples bodies being ‘ok’ we can start to appreciate the idea that we are not all designed to look the same way. Be mindful of your conversations with others AND your own thoughts: Are you shaming, labelling, judging and gossiping about someones body? Makes a decision to disengage from these conversations. Make a point to compliment others (privately or in person- always appreciated!).
5. Focus on taking good care of yourself:
When so much of your time is going towards fighting food, thinking about food every waking minute and obsessing about your body, it isn’t surprising that all of my clients admit that caring for themselves is ‘long gone’. Here’s the thing: Those people who take good care of themselves appreciate themselves and generally this people don’t attach food to their core self esteem. So, the bottom line is: You’ve got to invest in making yourself feel mentally ‘good’ if you want to end the battle with food and your body. Because when you feel good you don’t want to punish, hurt and hate yourself.
- Create a list of things you actually enjoy doing…even if you think you ‘might’ enjoy them, write them down.
- Every day go to your list and do at least one thing (bonus points if you do MORE than one)
- Once a week I strongly encourage you to let someone else ‘treat’ you. This could mean letting someone pay for you when you’re out OR buying yourself something you wouldn’t normally purchase like a massage, manicure etc.
If you found this post helpful and know others who would too then I’d LOVE for you to share it with your friends. Want more information like this except of the exclusive type sent straight to your inbox? Sign up using the form below and I look forward to seeing you on the inside every Friday with fresh perspectives on how you can heal your relationship with food and your body.