Updated: May 21
Why you do not need more control around food
You wake up in the morning and the first thought that enters your mind is; “f**k sake why has this happened again?” The morning after a binge or ‘slip up’ is met with guilt, shame, feeling sluggish, bloated and angry with yourself for what you have done.
So, what’s the next step you take? What to do after you have binged?
In the past, when you have been able to make changes to your body I am sure this required a hell of a lot of willpower and self-discipline. So, your brain immediately decides that if you had more self-control and discipline you wouldn’t have let yourself down last night.
This must be the answer!
So, you give yourself a good beating, pick yourself up and set out on a journey to get everything right today. You WILL get back on track and NOT fail again. You start planning and tracking the meals you are going to eat, eliminating all your bad foods, any temptations and allow yourself only those foods with the lowest calories to ‘make up for yesterday’. The day is spent religiously sticking to your plan, thinking about food, your next meal and how many calories you have consumed. This takes a lot of energy, focus and discipline.
The need for today to go better than yesterday starts to send you into a spiral of fear of slipping up. You worry about people, places and situations which you know are triggers. You look for ways to avoid these things altogether because there may just be too much temptation to bear. You must get back on track!
You may find short term success exercising this strategy. Through sheer force, grit and determination you may be able to get yourself back on track. However, if you ask yourself; “how long did this work for me in the past?” The chances are not that long. I mean if this strategy truly worked for you, you wouldn’t be where you are right now! You can stay in control if you are constantly on high alert for anything that can knock you off track. But your willpower and discipline is like a muscle, it can only keep operating at such high intensity for so long. Suddenly something happens where it feels like that part of you just takes over AGAIN!
Maybe you have found yourself in a situation where you were not totally in control of ALL of the food available. One ‘untracked bite’ turns into two and before you know it you are off on autopilot.
Maybe you have had a really exhausting and stressful week at work, with your family or your kids and you just need a break! Some escape from all of that pressure and overwhelm. Before you know it you are back where you started.
Maybe everything had been going perfect and then something happened, at work, at home, in your relationship where you were hit with anxiety, stress and overwhelm that you immediately turn to food to switch off from the craziness.
Or maybe those urges and cravings, which you could manage at the start of the week have been growing stronger and stronger until you just cannot fight or resist them any longer. The only way it feels like to escape the pain is to give in!
The main problem is the belief you are holding, that you need more control, more willpower and more discipline to stop this from happening again!
As a former perfectionist I was stuck in this belief throughout my Eating Disorder. But, the more I tried to gain control over my eating, the worse and worse it became. I ended up even further from where I wanted to be and even more trapped than when I started. My need for control was out of control! Therefore, I suddenly realised that control was just an illusion and the reality was, I has ZERO control!
Wanting to control is the same as wanting to be controlled
When you try to control something, whether that is food or your body the reality is at some deep levels you are actually wanted to be controlled by these things. Since your freedom depends on them, you are literally handing over your power so they get to decide and dictate how you feel. This places you in victim mode, where you are vulnerable and powerless.
As a result of this need for control you find yourself:
Feeling excessively controlled, restricted and deprived
Fearing losing control. The stricter things have to become for you to stay on track, the more fearful you become of losing this precision
The truth is that, the control strategy may have worked for you in the past, but it is not a sustainable way of living and this is why you may be finding yourself bouncing back and forth and never really feeling comfortable and settled in your body. To fully and permanently overcome your struggles with food, you must be willing to change what you are doing. Typically, people who want to control everything are very willing to change others and their circumstances, but not so willing to change themselves. The person who needs change the most is YOU! This means learning how to be more flexible in the way you ‘do life’ and build the skills to be able to make smart decisions when life gets challenging or throws you a curveball.
The longer you fear losing control, the longer you will keep feeling stuck and you are just going round and round in circles. If you get really honest with yourself, face the reality of your current situation and have the humility to accept that what you have been doing for the last 5 years clearly is not working, then perhaps it is time you owed yourself an opportunity to learn a different way.
If you would like to finally unleash yourself from your struggles with food, weight and your emotions once and for all, then book in for a private 1:1 chat with me HERE.
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