When you’re feeling like food is the ONE thing that consumes you 24/7, it can feel overwhelming to think about how to stop obsessing over food. I’ve taken 3 of the most important shifts to start with to help your days feel more free!
1. Let weight loss come second.
No, it’s not bad to want to lose weight (I just wrote about that here). But what is damaging to your healing is letting that be your #1 focus. When you’re constantly striving to be somewhere “else” (a lower weight, a smaller size, a more toned body, etc), you’ll continuously be disappointed.
But if you can let your focus be on balance, on health, and on nourishment, it shifts the game completely.
When your focus is balance, you know there will always be this ebb and flow as you learn how to balance all the things life throws your way.
If your attention is on health, you know you’ll always be exploring new ways to deepen your own connection to your body.
When your effort is on finding nourishment, you know your needs will always be changing as you enter different phases and stages of life.
Putting weight loss second alleviates some of the obsession, because there is this big sigh of relief from your body. Your body whispers a big “thank you”…because she knows you’re now working FOR her, not against her 🙂
2. Let your LIFE be the ice cream sundae.
Geneen Roth talks about this concept in many of her books. We often fantasize about food, dreaming of the moment everyone in our house goes to bed and we’re free to sneak into the cabinet to consume bite after bite of chips, ice cream, and leftover brownies…(and no one will ever know!)
It’s our secret gleeful moment of the day. We feel rebellious, elated, and seduced by what that first taste of ice cream will feel like going down our throat…
But what if we made our LIFE that exciting, that gleeful, and that fun?
What if our life was so fulfilling, so satisfying and so purposeful that we didn’t need the ice cream sundae to be our fantasy?
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to quit your job, move across country, or start volunteering with underprivileged children in Africa.
What I’m talking about is beginning to create moments in your day that fill you from the inside. Find something, anything in your day that feels exciting to you.
It could be…
…walking outside in a garden to take in the incredible smell and sight of flowers
…blasting your favorite tunes to have a dance party with your family (THIS is my favorite!)
…getting lost in a game with your child or pet
…taking your lunch break out of the office instead of working at your desk
…reading a few chapters of a new book you picked up at the store
…heading out to the best people watching place you know to observe the world
…watching something hilarious on YouTube (Have you seen these?!)
If food is the most exciting part of your day…that won’t change until you replace it with something ELSE that feels fun, nourishing, rewarding or exciting.
3. Never let yourself “start over”.
I have probably said “I promise, tomorrow I will eat super healthy and get back on my game” a bazillion times throughout my life. This was often after a binge, after I felt shitty about about I ate or after a holiday meal.
It has never, not once “worked” for me.
Starting over always meant following a plan or a set of rules. And when you go on something, inevitably, you fall off.
Instead of “starting over” ask yourself: how can I eat in a way that serves me today?
If you’re feeling sluggish from too much food the night before, maybe it will feel nourishing to eat lighter foods.
If you had way too many desserts during the work day, it may feel better to have a protein heavy dinner to balance out the sugar.
Notice it’s not a “starting over”, but more of a shift to balance out the body.
When you look at how to FEEL better with food, it shifts you out of the diet mentality and into a more kind, conscious, nourishing mindset!
#2 is something that came up for me in my counseling in the last year. From a very young age I learned that food was my source of pleasure. The rest of my life was falling apart and not as I wanted it to be. I turned to food as my joy, comfort, and pleasure. After 20+ years living this way, this is a hard habit to break! Thanks for your encouraging words
It definitely is a hard habit to break! Which is why it’s just focusing on something doable (like finding something in your day) instead of revamping your entire life. Food can still be pleasurable…it’s just finding the balance of not having it be the ONLY pleasure 🙂
I’m so glad 🙂 XO
Wonderful article. Since being a small child foood is where I found my pleasure. The only time my family spent my together was at the supper table.
My relationship with my father was based on him buying me treats whIle spending time together. Sugary food was and still is the answer. Praying I can find another way.
#2 I love. I am trying to find something that give me that same feeling of eating a good meal. I have to remind myself it takes 66 dats to create a new habit.
Being aware of this is the most important step…then you can begin to explore what DOES bring you pleasure. Just asking this question opens the conversation for you to begin to hear the answers 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Annie!
I find many times it’s being present for the small moments that can feel “delicious”…watching the sunset over the mountains here in Colorado, reveling in the clouds floating across the sky, seeing the endless enthusiasm my dog has for chasing a ball…when I let it, it can fill me up from the inside 🙂 Thanks for commenting, Yolanda 🙂