Have you ever noticed how you often reach for that piece of cake, cookie or chocolate bar when you aren’t really hungry? Do you wonder why you can never say no to that second helping at dinner time. Perhaps it is a mystery to you, why you are still hungry after a big meal. Do you regularly experience shame and guilt about the food choices that you make?
One of the things we notice in our own personal transformations and with working with our clients is that food is rarely just a means to fueling the mind and physical body.
Food is intertwined in an intimate relationship with self and is a huge part of our social and cultural beliefs, habits and traditions. More often than not these relationships create addictive, binge and secret eating habits that not only damage the physical body but shun our minds into the darkest recesses of shame and guilt.
One of the simplest way to explain the emotional connection to food and the addictive, binge and secret eating patterns that can ensue is this. Food is a form of Safe Love. When you are feeling:
Food is often the companion of choice to comfort and restore some sense of calm, happiness, security and love. For some this relationship can mount until it reaches obesity, eating disorders, chronic lying and ailing health. For others it is an odd occurrence that is deemed to be under control. Either way the common theme is the same. We eat sugar filled processed foods, chocolate, crisps, huge portions and more than we need, to fulfill an unmet need. When the feeding frenzy is done we realize that the unmet need has still not been met and now we feel ashamed of our behavior and guilty about the damage done!
We totally understand this shaming cycle that can occur over and over. We have both been there. I can remember a specific time when I stuffed myself with a whole box of cookies in an attempt to feel something other than the emotional pain I was in. I sat in the car park hiding them on the passenger seat next to me, afraid someone would catch me out! Justifying it to myself by saying; “They are organic and gluten free, it’s okay you deserve it.” By the time I was half way through I had already had enough but pushed through knowing I had to finish the box, because hey if I was going to feel crappy and guilty afterwards it had to be worthwhile right? I barely even tasted the cookies as I drove home munching through the rest of the box in some kind of Cookie Monster craze!
I am pleased to say that we both now have coping mechanisms in place that allow us to look for that sense of Love and Connection from a truly nourishing source. It doesn’t work every time, BUT when things go wrong we now understand why and have some simple steps in place to help us better manage the situation without perpetuating a downward food fest of binge eating.
Here are our favorite fail safe’s for avoiding addictive, binge and secret eating:
1. Keep your Go To binge foods out of the house, it will be much easier to steer clear
2. Always have a fall back person who you can contact when you are feeling vulnerable, someone you trust and who will not make your feel judged or ashamed
3. Stop and ask yourself these questions: Is it serving my health? Why do I want this food right now? do I 100% want to eat this food right now?
4. Shift your state by doing something else, movement is a great energy shift and being in nature is hugely nourishing
5. Sit to eat, eating on the go does not engage your digestive system nor does it create any kind of respect for your food
6. Be present with your meals, really taste, smell and feel the food in your mouth. Often we are not present with our food. We chew little and swallow huge mouthfuls. It’s no wonder the body is not sure if it has actually eaten or not!
7. Opt for high quality ingredients cooked from scratch, having a high sense of worth for your food often transcends into a high sense of worth for self
8. If you do slide into old patterns try journaling the reasons, triggers and emotions you experienced in the run up and during the event, this will help you to navigate past the vulnerable spots in the future
9. Don’t become a member of the food police. Have fun, eat things that excite you, taste great and serve your soul once a week, call it an amnesty day. You will be much less likely to binge
10. Be honest with yourself. Hiding foods away and being secretive about your eating habits only serves to fuel the feelings of shame which will drive you further into the addictive eating patterns
If you need help and support to overcome your food addictions, binge and secretive eating habits from coaches who have been there and brought the T Shirt over and over, BUT are now in control and living healthily with foods, then drop us an email.