If you struggle with food, I have a question for you…
Do any of the following sound familiar:
1- That was a tough workout! I’ve earned this meal.
2 – It’s a celebration, all rules off!
3- I’ve had a hard week, and deserve this glass of wine.
4- I lost 5lbs, and will reward myself with a “cheat” meal of pizza and chocolate cake!
5- I ate “clean” all week – I’m awesome! OR I ate crap all weekend – I’m such a failure!
If any of these sound familiar, I’d like to challenge you to explore eating WITHOUT tying food to reward that needs a good reason (eg. a celebration) or having had to earn it somehow (eg. being disciplined all week or having done a long hike)?
For example, could you go for an ice cream cone (or fill-in-the-blank) for the fun of it, for no real reason at all, except to enjoy one?
If not, consider what it might be like to give yourself permission to have something you’d normally consider a “treat” food, without a story around it that it’s “bad”, or a fun/sneaky act of “rebelliousness”, or needs to “earned”, or serves as a “reward”, or “celebration”, or has any tie whatsoever to your value, worth, or deserved-ness.
The mere thought of doing this may cause some inner disturbance.
You may hear an inner voice cry out, “No way! …If the house of rules comes down, you’ll eat ice cream every day until you can’t get off the couch anymore. This can’t happen. Don’t even try it.”
And I’m here to say, “Try it.”
Put on your researcher hat, and see what happens.
Finishing off a tub of ice cream (or whatever “treat”-food) can stem from a few places, including mindlessness, rebelliousness, and filling an emotional need.
It does NOT stem from a conscious mindful choice based on love and respect.
My feeling is that although the fear-based mind may have you convinced that without strict food rules, you’ll become an out-of-control eating machine, the truth is likely the opposite.
As you release these “rules” in favor of mindful choices, love and self-trust, my experience has been one of freedom and healthy, life-nourishing eating habits.
Here’s what I want you to know, and what I’d like you to practice believing over the next the while:
- Food does not need to be earned.
- Food does not need to be deserved.
- Food is not a measure of your value.
- Your food choices do NOT reflect your worth.
These beliefs may be hard to let go of because they serve you in some ways. You may believe they help keep you “within reason” and in line. But do they really???
Notice that these beliefs sort of serve you, but actually carry stronger backfires.
We all have an inner rebel that seeks freedom. She doesn’t like to be controlled. Yet the controlling nature of these scripts will eventually, inevitably trigger that inner rebel.
And you know how that story unfolds… does lying on the couch holding your stomach, moaning in pain, and berating yourself for having been so stupid and out-of-control, and re-strategizing your Monday plan – again – sound familiar?
As you release these beliefs, you may even notice they become less of a pull in situations you’d normally find yourself merrily feasting, like at a birthday or Christmas dinner. Because when certain foods are off limits except in certain circumstances, we tend to over-do it when we have the chance.
These over-indulgences reinforce the belief that we can’t be trusted with such foods.
And then we react by reinforcing strict rules and guidelines around them.
BUT when there are no limits, and your guiding star is LOVE, as opposed to food-rules, the game changes…
Food becomes no longer either something to fear, or something to overindulge on while you have the chance. It becomes something to truly enjoy – and without any script or story that pulls you into the cycle of guilt, shame, control or binge.
Love chooses in favor of your well-being. It forgives, but does not enable; it provides freedom of choice, but does not lead to choices that bring about inner pain and turmoil.
So this week, I’d love for you to practice challenging the beliefs that food needs to be earned, deserved or used as a reward. Practice choosing those foods just for fun, for sake of releasing those story-lines, and practicing being with food in a love-your-body kind of way.
- What foods do you choose?
- How much do you eat?
- How do you feel eating them?
- How do you feel afterwards?
If this is all new, expect to experience some initial discomfort, as what happens when we change our belief system and habits. Expect that your fears or inner critic may get loud. But keep practicing. As you give yourself permission and freedom, and choose with love, you’ll build inner trust, and those inner fears will ease off in place of inner peace.
I’d love to hear from you. How does this land? What thoughts does this evoke? What has been your experience with any of this?