Are you detached from your feelings and issues in your life?
Your abusive boss just called and left you a voicemail – grab a cookie. You and your spouse are distant and unengaged – grab some Ben& Jerry’s at night instead of talking or fighting. You have a toxic relationship in your life and don’t know what to do anymore – except eat chips and salsa. You have some plain old yucky feelings at the pit of your stomach or all over and you don’t even know what they are or where they are coming from – time to hit the pantry for something …. Anything, (anything junk food that is).
Do you feel defeated and depressed about your weight?
You’ve tried to lose weight, you’ve put in effort in the past, and it just doesn’t work, so now you feel so defeated you don’t even bother. Sad about your body, and so instead of eating one cookie- you eat the whole box because your hopeless and you’ve given up. After that you feel even more depressed leading to your next poor food decision. You might be self-sabotaging because you feel hopeless and lack motivation.
Is your identity linked with food?
If you want to feel better- you eat, if you want someone else to feel better – give them something to eat, it you want to celebrate, eat. Just like any other dependence, when you choose to stop, there is a great sense of loss. Eating, food, and socializing with food is a part of who you are, and if you’re honest – maybe not a good part, but you feel scared to let go. It’s like taking away a security blanket leaving you feeling naked, cold, and insecure. It’s time to explore other parts of yourself that you might have been out of touch with because of your eating.
Do you play the victim role?
“Everyone in my family is overweight, it’s in my genes, and it’s not fair.” Playing the victim role is one of the most self-destructive belief systems someone can have, and its guaranteed to block you from growth, healing, motivation and weight loss. If you’ve fooled yourself to believing that it’s beyond your control, and that the rules don’t apply to you because your situation and body chemistry is different, you have very little chance at any weight loss. There’s no bother trying if it’s beyond your control.
Deal with psychological issues psychologically!
Self-medicating your loneliness, stress, or depression with food offers instant gratification, while feeling our feelings, processing our thoughts, and reaching out for real help doesn’t offer the same instant gratification and can be downright scary – but it works. The next time you start walking over to the kitchen ask yourself what you’re really feeling. Is it true hunger? Is it frustration? Is it sadness? Ice cream in itself is not bad, it only becomes bad when you’re using it to cover up your feelings, what your heart is trying to tell you, and slowly silencing your true and authentic self. So next time pause, pick up a journal and start getting to know yourself again. You might just surprise yourself. Above all else, practice self compassion and be patient with yourself.