Don’t you wish someone could tell you how close you are to finally resolving your weight issues and food obsession? Don’t you wish someone could say, “If you just keep at it and understand why you eat you’re certain to stop binge eating?”
Or even if it would be heartbreaking, wouldn’t it be nice to be told that you’re wasting your time going on yet another diet, so that you could move on, try another tack, or simply eat foods that bring you personal pleasure and release your obsession from food, with no other aim in mind?
I’ve counseled thousands of patients and spoke to large groups over the years. Even though I may not able to personally work with each of them, I can usually say something definitive about what their next steps should be. I often see when their diet is wasting their time.
No matter where you are on your own food path, it’s smart to periodically take stock of where you’re headed, and revise your eating plan as necessary. Here are some steps you can take to do just that.
Recognizing Yo Yo Dieting Isn’t Working
I’m often asked how I went from overweight to normal weight after years of bouncing up and down with my weight. Let’s be clear, I was the yo yo dieter of the year from early adolescents through my thirties. My weight and my relationship with food were a constant struggle for me until I began to understand my chemical reaction to certain foods. After years of trial and error, research, clinical knowledge, weight loss, and stability of weight, I recognized eating whole, natural foods free of sugar, flour, and wheat restored my moods and I instantly became calm and centered.
Eat Three Meals and One Half-Meal Daily
These days, I follow a simple formula breaking down each meal with structure (four meals a day each consisting of specific foods: fruit, protein, fat, vegetables, low fat dairy, and whole grains) and commitment rather than eating randomly. I also include daily exercise such as walking or biking along the ocean and try and live my life as a prayer.
Progress Not Perfection
No, I am certainly not perfect (and realize I sound as if this is so easy), and life is not always bliss. I would love to eat any food I want, but I realize the consequences aren’t worth the indulgence. I do get mad at life when I’m tired and work too many hours, or when I have to turn down an invitation to an event because the atmosphere won’t be conducive to my bringing my own foods, or when everyone will be eating a delectable piece of chocolate cake and I’ll be stuck eating a piece of fruit with yogurt. But, no matter what life struggles present themselves, I know that binge eating simply isn’t an option—nor are sugar, flour, or wheat on my food list, because I understand that the sleeping giant of addiction within will wake, and chaos will return with a vengeance if I ingest any of these. I compare my situation to that of a heroin addict, who can’t have just a smidgeon of heroin; he must abstain completely to stay clean.
Make Room—A Higher Source Is Present
When I began to follow these specific guidelines—even when I didn’t want to—my negative mind chatter quieted, and for the first time I could become still, and hear God’s whispers. I connected to my inner strengths, and a spiritual understanding emerged in me. I found inner peace, God, and love. Love for myself, others, and the universe evolved inside me.
Not only was I calmer, kinder, and less self-centered, but I began to perceive a bigger picture. I saw food as real and not real: God’s food and man’s food. I chose food of the earth, sea, and air rather than processed and boxed. I turned to God, and the “noise” in my head ceased, and the addiction flattened. These days, I eat to live rather than live to eat. Healthful foods and a refreshed faith are now my fuel to retain optimal health and weight.
At the very beginning of this blog, I suggested it’s possible to release your obsession from food addiction when you let go of diet mentality if someone can lead the journey or point you in the right direction.
Here’s a little piece of hope: If your immediate thought was, I can’t live with obsessive eating any longer, then you are much closer to making peace with your food addiction than you might think. The battle is much more chemically imbalanced than you might think. Those who can’t be dissuaded are much more likely to reach their goals, regardless of the path they originally chose.
Photo by: Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego