When I say compulsive eating, I mean shoveling food in your mouth over the kitchen sink, because you just broke your diet.
I mean sneaking candy out of the office candy jar, because you can’t stand the thought of working.
I mean licking your plate clean at every meal, because the thought of leaving food makes you physically anxious.
I mean living your life eating your feelings, and constantly struggling to regain control.
We think lack of self-control is our issue, but it’s actually the force we exert over ourselves that is causing our problem. Our resistance, our fight, our constant self-criticism; those are the roots of our compulsion.
If you’ve been chronically trying to control your weight or resist certain foods for longer than you care to admit, I challenge you to try something radical…
1. Allowance: When we allow ourselves to eat without guilt, compulsive behaviors wither away. Our bodies cannot rebel against something that we are not fighting. What rules can you let go of today? Can you allow yourself to eat with intention, or even pride?
2. Awareness: It is impossible to be aware and compulsive at the same time. Compulsion is an escape from reality. So the antidote must be to get super, hyper, into reality. Taste your food so thoroughly that you could describe its exact flavor, texture, temperature—like a gourmand critiquing an exquisite dish. When we seep awareness into our food, we can’t eat frantically, anxiously, or mindlessly.
3. Self-Care: Lack of self-care is the primary reason why many people eat their feelings to begin with. Eating emotionally is an attempt to take care of yourself with food, when you could be caring for yourself in a more productive way. Next time you lunge for the fridge, identify the need you are trying to meet with food; is it the need for connection—i.e. you’re lonely?; the need for excitement—i.e. you’re bored? How can you address those needs in a deeper way?
4. Acceptance: Meet yourself where you are, and allow yourself to be imperfect. Letting go of chronic dieting and emotional eating is a long journey and you may want to reach out for extra guidance.
Be gentle with yourself, above all else.
Isabel Foxen Duke is a Certified Health Coach and Emotional Eating Expert. She helps women make peace with their bodies, so they can stop obsessing about food and get back to living awesome lives. Your weight dramas are scared of her. For more articles, visit www.IsabelFoxenDuke.com and download How To Not Eat Chocolate Cake.
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