Hi Babes! Today’s post is about why self control and willpower are not the answer to our food obsessed problems. I know, bummer, we always think that is the key but it’s not.
If you are consumed by thoughts about food, like it takes everything in you to not eat the entire box of oreos in one sitting, while hiding in your room so no one can see, this post is for you.
If you are constantly thinking about what you should eat, what you shouldn’t eat, when your next meal is all the while day dreaming about pillowly soft cake donuts, this post is for you.
Typically what happens is we will be going along our merry way, eating the “OK” foods on our list when something happens. We get stressed, or sad, or anxious so we end up going straight to the freezer and start binge eating ice cream out of the carton while still standing up.
Been there, done that….,
When we realize that we have broke our diet we feel monumental amounts of shame and guilt, so we decide to eat everything in site because our “diet” starts again tomorrow.
We tell ourselves that we will use all our willpower to make sure that this does not happen again. We will follow our diet perfectly and everything will be great. We will exhibit the most epic self control anyone has ever seen.
Except that it never goes down like that.
I hate to break this to you…, I really do but , there is just no amount of willpower or self control that will stop this from happening again.
And as you might know from experience, the more tightly you grip on to control in one direction the further and faster you are going to swing the other way. Hello binge-cleanse cycle, anyone? Its the classic pendulum swing of the typical dieter. The more you try to stop it the more it keeps happeneing.
What you resist, persists.
It might sound counter-intuitive but you we have to let go of the idea of controlling ourselves. To help you come out of this pattern imagine not trying to follow your diet perfectly and just trying to eat normally.
Think of the most normal, rational eater you know.
The type of person who eats an appropriate amount of food for their body type, seems to eat whatever they want, stops when they are full and does not at all seem even the slightest bit controlled by food.
You know the type.
The person who can eat a couple tacos and then be done with it. The type of person who has maybe been eating a little crappy for a couple of weeks and can very casually start to make healthier choices so they feel better without being like “I am a disgusting fat pig. I need to go on a diet.”
What is the difference between you and the normal eater? How is their thinking different. A normal eater isn’t fighting the urge to binge on foods all day. trust me. That’s not what is keeping them from eating all the things.
Its not that they don’t think about foods ever, its just that their thoughts are very different from those of someone who is obsessed with food (i.e. binge eater, dieter, or eating disorders).
They don’t have boundaries to eat within. They don’t say if I eat this way “I am ok” but if I eat that way “I am absolutely, definitely NOT ok, I am a horrible person.”
They don’t have those restraints or thoughts. They are not that emotional about food, they are not full of willpower. Eating an entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting would kinda make them sick so they have no urge to do that. Its not self control.
People often tell me I am so disciplined around food to which my response is always the same. It has nothing to do with discipline.
I don’t try to fight myself from having a cookie if I want a cookie. I care about feeling good physically and creating vibrancy in my beautiful body machine so I use that lense to choose whether or not to eat one.
My focus is not on being thin so food is about nourishment, not gaining or losing weight. That difference in thought is fundamental to having freedom around food.
It all boils down to mindset and how you percieve food and how it impacts your body.
I used to be so obsessed with being skinny so everything I ate was either helping or hurting that goal of the perfect body. In order to loosen the grips on food I had to be less attached to the way I looked.
Excluding those who need to lose weight for health reasons, like chronic illness, the only reason people go on a diet or try to restrict what they are eating is because they are concerned with the way their body looks. Period.
So if you are obsessed with food, try to shift your context for it. Food has to become less of a function for being fat or thin and more about fueling our body to create the life and health we want.
Once I started to shift how I felt about my physical appearance, the less I felt I needed to control the food I ate thus controlling the size I was.
In essence, I had to stop thinking that having the perfect body mean’t having the perfect life. It wasn’t until I became more confident in my my skin and realized that my self-worth had nothing to do with my size, that I was no longer obsessed with food.
If you are in the middle of an effed up relationship with food, then start looking at the relationship you have with yourself and your body.
It starts there.