It’s been a while since my last post on ending food obsession so I thought I’d add my third installment today.
To be honest, ending food obsession is an ongoing battle. We reach for food (or other substances or other outlets) when things seem out of our control.
I know this is true for me. When I am under stress, I want something that will ease my mind and give me that sense of control. Food has been something I have used to cope. But because it causes me to get obsessive with it, I’ve learned to break this pattern of thinking and behaving.
I’ve had to get to the cause of the stress and look deep within myself, which is not easy. It’s much easier to stuff my face with food or to start a new diet to comfort myself and to gain a false sense of control and security. Looking deep into what I am really feeling and experiencing is the more difficult choice, yet the one that brings the most clarity and eventually peace.
Give up Control
We as humans loathe change and we loathe feeling out of control. We want things to go just as we planned and for many of us, when things don’t go our way, we freak out.
When I got into my car accident a couple of months ago, I felt that I was not in control what so ever. I was stranded on a highway for over 3-hours in the snow and felt terrified and alone. I had to spend the night in a hotel in a random town and I was upset that things didn’t go my way. And to be honest, I turned to food at this time. I stuffed myself silly with junk food. I wanted to feel better because things were not going as I had planned. I wanted to feel good and I wanted to feel in control of something.
I continued to stuff myself for a couple of weeks after the accident. I didn’t write about it because I was embarrassed that I had ‘relapsed’ so to speak and turning to food to cope.
However, before this pattern got the best of me, I beat it. I made the decision and made a conscious choice to actually deal with the fact that I didn’t have control over that situation and things like that happen in life. We can’t escape that! I can not control everything in life but I can control how I deal and cope with these situations. And after a couple of weeks of being ‘off course’ (and not to mention feeling miserable about myself), I changed my thinking.
Making Positive Choices
Life is all about making choices. We have the free will to do whatever it is we want. It’s in our best interest to make positive choices and to go through life with love, compassion, and understanding, but sometimes we don’t always do this. We make decisions that bring upon negative consequences. In most cases, when we make a bad decision or choice, we learn from that mistake by suffering the negative consequences. Every choice we make has a consequence, good or bad.
For instance, when I live in a food obsessed world the negative consequences I suffer are guilt and shame. Guilt and shame is something that I can change. I don’t have to feel this way, but I choose to since I am making the choice to do something that harms my body, mind and spirit and I know deep down that my behavior is wrong.
However, anyone that suffers from any kind of obsession knows that you do get something from it. We wouldn’t do something so often if it didn’t give us something back in return. And for me, it’s a sense of control and comfort. Yet what I have come to realize is that that sense of comfort and control is fake. I’m masking what I am feeling and hiding underneath a layer of false security.
I’ve had to completely overhaul my thinking and behaviors. I’ve had to retrain how I react to situations and I’ve had to form new habits and behaviors. How have I done that? I work on looking deep within my self, my Soul, the true essence of my being, and separating that from my physical body.
I’ve mentioned before that I am not religious, I am spiritual. My beliefs help me tremendously with how I think, feel and act. I don’t want to preach to anyone on this blog (that’s not what I am about, but I don’t mind sharing what I personally feel), but having a belief in something that is much more than the physical Earth that we live on, has been my life savor.
Separating YOU from your BODY
I read a lot of books on spirituality and they help me tremendously (I am currently reading this book and just read this book, which was fun). I read a little bit each day (or at least try) and that allows me to get daily reminders that I am more than my physical self. For me, separating the true essence of who I am (my soul) from my physical body is key in beating food obsession. When I am able to separate the two, I see things differently. I think differently. And most importantly, I act differently. I am a much kinder and caring person to myself and to those around me.
One Day at a Time
On Tuesday I had the urge to binge eat. I was bored. I had already finished my dinner and even dessert. But I wanted more. I wanted to be “comforted” for some reason. (**Side Note: Let me be clear: I was NOT physically hungry. I was actually past my fullness. I don’t want to confuse anyone that restricts their intake. If you are hungry, then by all means EAT. But I had eaten probably well over 2500 calories for the day and was full).
Inside, I wanted to be more “full” though and feel the comfort from food. In particular, I wanted cereal. Bowls and bowls of it. Something about cereal attracts me to over eat it. It’s like it’s never ending because you can keep pouring more and more bowls! But I didn’t do it.
My urge to eat came about around 6pm. I made the choice to ask myself what I truly was missing. Or what I truly needed. And the simple answer: I was bored. I was on the couch watching TV and wanted something to do while watching TV. So I decided to give myself something else to do besides eat. I tried on clothes! I’ve been meaning to do this. I wanted to go through my closet to see what sorts of clothes I had before I did some more spring shopping.
This diversion from my food thoughts was key that night. I was no longer bored and actually had fun trying on my old clothes coming up with new outfits. I even picked out something to wear for Easter.
By 9:30pm I actually felt real hunger and did end up having some cereal. But just one bowl. I didn’t keep refilling my bowl (I’ve done this in the past…refilling over and over again until completely stuffed). I just simply had a snack and got ready for bed.
Listen, I am not perfect (and don’t try to be!) and I don’t have this all figured out. I really do take this food thing one day at a time. And while I am comfortable around food and enjoy it immensely, especially in social situations, I still have times when things in life to get to me and I turn to it for that sense of comfort and control. This is something I am beating little by little. Each success I have is another step towards ending food obsession and even greater steps towards my own personal development and growth.