It’s not unusual to get frustrated on your journey towards living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, it’s quite normal. Eating whole natural foods, forgoing the bombardment of sugary, salty, fatty foods is no easy quest given it’s flashed on television and store shelves, along with friends, family and restaurant outings. Notes I receive from my reader base often start off with panic that they will not make it, that it’s too hard with all the temptations, that they want to quit.
Bobbie comes to mind as I write this. Bobbie is raw with the challenges that come with weight loss and changing her relationship with food. She has gotten through lots of difficulties in the past week, but recently she ran up against some emotions that have gotten her down and made her physically sick, as she states. Food came calling, the gooey, yummy kind of food.
Often when we go through struggles, they take hold and grip us something fierce. Emotions of sadness ensue, bringing on tears, not to mention physical aches such as headaches and stomach discomfort. To stop the pain eating a warm and fuzzy seems the solution to our suffering.
Bobbie is no different. She’s discouraged. She’s eaten and exercised on point, and looks amazing to prove it. But forgetting the accomplishments, she’s basking in the wish for something to fill this ache within. It’s not unusual to blame the frustrations on the kids, a husband, or wife, or the work environment, or heck the political unrest, or even that darn virus that keeps on giving.
But the question is, what do we do when it feels like a vicious cycle of no promise to succeed. I think, keep going, don’t stop. One hiccup is not the end it’s rather the beginning. It’s an opportunity to dig in deeper and look for obstacles standing between successes and quitting. It’s a chance to fine-tune what’s going wonky in your process.
Every endeavor in life that’s worthwhile will bring with it obstacles.
Bobbie is angry, feeling forced to do something she doesn’t want to do, eating whole natural foods. I get it. It’s not uncommon to have anger on the march towards a healthier relationship with every meal. I too didn’t think it was fair when I was where Bobbie is today, many years back. I too wanted to quit, give up and give in to the treats calling me.
Working your way out of an eating disorder or poor food choices is not an easy feat. Questions of why an eating challenge bubbles up surfaces. Or Bobbie pondered why she had to eat one way when it seemed like the world was eating another? Many working through eating issues gain and lose weight only to gain it again, creating another why.
When I spoke to John, who lost three hundred pounds over the course of three years and now maintaining the loss for five years, we reminisced. He often questioned his ability to keep the weight off. There’s no graduation, it’s a continuous change. Staying vigilant and eating natural foods, adding in moderate exercise, is a way of life. A simple formula that’s not so simple day after day until you accept it as the norm.
John says, “I guess you could say The Powers that Be dealt these cards. Perhaps I signed up for this eating thing instead of another obsession because we know there are plenty of obsessions to go around.” He’s right. There’s always another obsession lurking in the background.
I remember in the Twelve Step Rooms complaining and crying out how hard it was to stay away from all those goodies out there. That it was not fair. Why me? The rooms called it a “pity party” I was embarking on. This made me even angrier.
The truth of the matter is we have choices. We can eat whatever we want whenever we want and wherever we want and in whichever quantity we want. But… then we have to accept the consequences.
I think the culprit is the diet mentality. It’s hard to escape for sure when everything is about diets. As the Obsession Specialist, I get it. Embarking on obsessions about our food, obsessions about our weight, our clothes, our bodies, aging is endless. ON and on I could go on obsessions, which is why I write books on obsessions. It’s never ending. I guess one could say I’m obsessed with obsessions.
If you are like Bobbie, take hold. It’s going to get better. John and many like him found their healthy path. He, too, sounded like Bobbie once upon a time. It’s normal. Change is never easy, but it’s possible and doable.
So, Bobbie, I’m so sorry you’re in a bad space. Changing the way we think about food is no effortless task, particularly when we ate in a certain way almost all our life. I always think of food recovery in three stages.
1. The Honeymoon Stage: We are giddy and happy and we feel great about what we’re doing because our body is slimming down and we’re looking good.
2. The Emotional Stage: This is the stage where we have emotional struggles we have to work through. They stem from our childhood and all the difficulties of life along with missed dreams and opportunities.. It’s at this stage we want to eat a bunch of goodies to make ourselves feel better. We can’t put a finger on what it is, but we know something is terribly wrong. This is where Bobbie is powering through.
3. The Spiritual Stage: The third stage is the best of them all. I like to think of it as our arrival stage. It’s spiritual. We no longer are about our bodies or what we eat or what we look like, but rather we are in a very content space. It’s living in the now, at the moment, embracing our blessings.
It takes going through all the stages to get to the final one. And some people vacillate between all three throughout their whole life. Giving up is always an option, but I ponder, what do you give up on? Are you struggling with an obsession? What struggles have you powered through with success?
Life is a miraculous journey, and it’s sad when we make it about food or our bodies. I am here for you and I definitely have been where you are. It’s not fun! But it’s also a turning point. Hang in and hang on!
Thank you for being a part of the reading blog forum of this blog. If you have something you’d like to say, I’d love to hear it. YOU are important and your words need to be heard. I’m here for you.
To learn more on recovery from food addiction, eating disorders, weight issues, dieting, and aging, please check out my Release Your Obsession Series.
Stay tuned…you never know where my mind will wander…
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Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.