Are you more or less constantly thinking about your weight, or whether you’re eating or not eating? Do you find that at times when you start eating that you just can’t stop yourself? And then when your clothes don’t fit do you decide to resolve that by eating more?
Often as a consequence of this common behaviour is that you will feel bad about yourself and imagine that everyone is thinking how big you are, thus increasing your anxiety about your eating and image, so that you eat more to comfort yourself.
You might not believe it yet there are steps you can take to get you out this self-destructive cycle and turn around the negative feelings that you experience.
When we are in these ‘mind-traps’ we are habitually repeating thought patterns and acting on them without questioning where they come from and what they do for us.
A simple question such as: ‘What will that do for me?’ can often be the beginning of understanding ourselves better and our behaviour. Approaching the problem in this way can be the first step towards doing things differently.
It works like this: a bad experience gives you the urge to go to the biscuit tin and eat as many biscuits as you can. But this time, instead of binging on biscuits, as yourself: ‘What will that do for me?’
If the answer is something like ‘It gives me a treat,’ ask yourself: ‘And if I have this treat, what does that do for me?; Again, wait for your answer, it may be something like, ‘If I have this treat then I will feel appreciated.’ If this is your response carry on and ask yourself: ‘If I get to feel appreciated, what does that do for me?’ Listen for an answer and keep asking yourself the same question, until you can go no further with your responses. What you’re looking for is the higher motivation behind the behaviour ‘eating too many biscuits’. By doing this on a regular basis you will get in touch with what you really want and take your first step to controlling the food cravings.
I worked with a client who was unhappy with her weight and eating. Her name was Mary, a wife and working mother of two young boys. We did this exercise and she realised that she wanted to feel comforted.
When we looked at other aspects of her life it became clear that she never put herself first in terms of what she wanted and one way or another she now felt unappreciated and lacking.
Mary also realised that rarely gave her self permission to have ‘me time’ to do things like soak in a luxurious bath, or go out with friends, or watch what she wanted on TV, These all may seem like small trivial things, but added together they became the source of her feelings of being invisible, not appreciated and generally unloved.
Mary worked on creating ways that she could reward, comfort and appreciate herself that didn’t have to mean eating. Very soon she became very clear about her goals and how to achieve them. People around her noticed a change and responded by being more receptive and positive towards her. As a result, she easily shed weight, looked and was much happier, and forgot all about eating for comfort.