In the last blog, I talked about avoiding the pitfall of going on detox diets, cleanses, fasts or other codes for weight loss diets in the New Year and instead 1) letting your body do the work it knows how to do to take care of you and 2) doing a body RESET for the New Year. Shifting the ways of thinking that reinforce your obsession with food, binging and body dissatisfaction is also an important part of the process of transforming your food addiction, binge eating and emotional eating. Eating is so automatic that you may not realize how much your thoughts and emotions play into what you eat, how much you eat, and why you crave your food fixes. Because your response is so automatic, you may feel as if you will never be able to break the hold that food has on you. To break that automatic response, you need to be mindful. Being mindful is like being a fly on the wall and having the emotional distance from your actions. Doing a New Year's reset on your mind means learning how to be more present and mindful about your eating behaviors and your thoughts and judgments about those behaviors. It means identifying patterns and reducing shame and guilt. An example of a pattern: one of my Anchor clients talked about realizing that whenever she gets overwhelmed – too much to do, too many projects, too many feelings, she turns to food. Another talked about when she has emotional upheavals, a break up or a move or even a positive event like a new job, that can make her want to binge.
How much of your time or energy do you spend thinking about food or your body?
If you think about that, you may find, like many of my patients in the Anchor Program that you are spending up to 70% or more of your time and energy on worrying about what to eat, planning a binge, thinking about your body, deciding to restrict, thoughts of dieting etc. So how present are you with your partner, spouse, children, at work, etc. when you spend this much time on your binge eating, food addiction and emotional eating? When food is substituted for a sense of aliveness or for soul satisfaction (part of the Five Levels discussed in previous newsletters), it can never truly fill that need. You may feel a sense of discomfort, dissatisfaction, or letdown after a binge for this very reason: food isn’t giving you what you truly need. By being more conscious of your thoughts and emotions, by being more attentive, the balance of power may shift in your relationship with food Going from a strong emotion directly to bingeing or obsessing about food is often an automatic response, and you may find yourself going quickly from a strong emotion to a behavior without even realizing what’s happening. The key to changing this is uncoupling the emotion from the behavior. To do that requires that you stay mindful every step of the way.
All the best,
PS: These steps may seem monumental—perhaps too overwhelming or frightening to even contemplate. If you are ready for expert help in dealing with food addiction, emotional eating or binge eating, schedule a free consult.