It always amazes me how out of control I can feel in certain areas of my life. Take eating for example, or being critical, or ignoring my housework. How is it that we spend our whole lives trying to control our external circumstances, yet we can feel completely out of control in our habits and our behaviours?
I can manipulate and control my life to look good on the external, but have such lack of control with the internal. Do you ever feel this way?
Many people who struggle with anxiety, depression, or stress tend to mask it with food. We live in a culture with the attitude of “I deserve this”. For example, “I deserve to sit in front of the TV and eat cheesecake, buttery popcorn and 2 glasses of wine, I had a long day” (True story.) However, the truth is, we deserve to live a healthy, and vibrant life free from bondage, and self inflicted harm.
Marketers know we think we deserve this…
Do what tastes right
Sometimes you’ve got to break the rules
Have a break, have a Kit Kat
– Kit Kat
Hungry? Why wait?
When I was in the thick of anxiety, I could not eat for the life of me, and I lost a lot of weight because of it. It wasn’t a healthy weight loss, and it was not helping my failing mind one bit. I was starved for nutrition. As I began to force feed myself I soon found comfort in carbs. If I was feeling rattled, a piece of bread would instantly calm me down, or a slice of cheese would help me sleep. I slept with food by my bed side, incase I woke up with an anxiety attack.
I do believe in that season my body and mind actually needed the constant nutrition to keep me stable, but eventually, as I began to mellow out, I continued a relationship between anxiety and food. Within 6 months I gained 20 pounds.
I give myself grace for that season and I am now on a journey to reclaim that part of my life back. Hence the pantry full of seeds and painful thighs.
I completely empathize with the emotional eater. Sometimes you just need a break from the whirlwind inside. However, in excess, or with bad choices, we can begin a cycle of bad nutrition that can actually bring on more stress, anxiety, depression, and not to mention the stress caused by low self-esteem and health problems.
Today I want to open our minds up to the idea that it’s not our food that is making us fat, but our thoughts.
Every action or reaction begins with a thought.
“I’m hungry – I don’t want to wait”
“I’m so mad at Betsy, I’m getting a donut!”
“Worst day ever! Pass the chips.”
The reason us emotional eaters never find much success in our diets is because we work on the external to the point we give up, because our thoughts always win. We count calories , starve, go to meetings, and run like a mad woman, and then we hit a bump, a crisis, a busy week and we fall off the wagon. I know the cycle, and during this whole regime our thoughts hate us! “This is torture!” “I wish I could eat that and not get fat” “why do I have to try so hard?” “How am I going to resist the birthday cake?”
Do you notice a lot of negative thoughts surrounded by our external self-discipline? Eventually that will dominate and you’ll quit.
We need to stop the dieting and start taking our thoughts captive, we need to stop menu planning and start thought planning, we need to stop running and start resting our minds. When we get to a place where our thoughts are in alignment with our weight goals then we will find lasting success.
So here is a challenge for us, be aware of our thoughts, write them down. What do we tell ourselves before we have a 2nd piece of dessert, or what do we tell ourselves when we feel depressed and the food comfort idea pops in our heads?
I began reading a book on my kindle called The Thin Woman’s Brain: Re-wiring the Brain for Permanent Weight Loss. It’s basically cognitive behavioural therapy for weight loss. I recommend it, if you recognize that your thoughts are making you fat.
Here’s to wellness!!!