I want to start off by telling you a little story about a woman who struggled with orthorexia. For those that don’t know, orthorexia refers to anxious-obsessive behaviour over “clean eating.” It’s another form of food-obsession, but it’s masked by a fixation on healthy clean foods.
During her darkest hour, she was doing two workouts per day which included strenuous activities like long-distance running and CrossFit circuits.
Even though she was doing two workouts a day, which requires many calories to sustain, she also continued to restrict her diet far below a sustainable level.
She calorie-counted to the extreme.
She knew it wasn’t healthy, but all she wanted was to control the shape of her body. She wanted to maintain her identity as someone who had will-power; someone who was in control.
Although she claimed to be in the best physical shape of her life, it didn’t feel like enough. She no longer trusted herself to make decisions about food and whenever she ate some sugar she went all in and binged.
Her self-esteem was crippled because she couldn’t reach her goals, which were set way too high. As a result, she would find herself sitting in the car parked up somewhere binge eating “bad foods” and hiding the wrappers.
She hid the evidence from others so they wouldn’t know how much she had eaten…
That woman was me!
I’m sure you can all relate to experiences of body dysmorphia, body hate, and shameful eating behaviour.
When we feel like a failure, it’s only natural to try to hide the evidence.
Shame is an ugly beast.
I was pondering the question, do we binge eat at night because that’s when our willpower is the lowest, or because that’s when no one is looking?
Sigh. This is the hell of chronic dieting.
We eat normally in front of our friends and then stuff our faces once we’re alone.
Why do we do this?
I think a majority of it stems from the idea that certain foods are “bad” and that eating them makes us “bad.”
According to Google, the definition of shame is “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour.”
When we think that it’s wrong to eat certain foods, then we feel like we’re wrong when we eat those foods, and we become ashamed of ourselves.
Well… screw that.
Feeling ashamed of the way we eat only pushes us further into the hellish cycle.
We become embarrassed by our bodies, so we eat. Then we become embarrassed by how/what we eat, so we eat in secret. Then, all hell breaks loose.
Our social lives crumble. Our confidence crumbles. Everything crumbles.
So what’s the path out of this mess?
I think it starts by ending the war with yourself by giving up dieting and restriction.
That doesn’t mean always and forever allowing yourself to binge eat everything in sight… but honestly, that’s actually the mindset you need. (Before you dismiss that, hear me out.)
When practising feeling your feelings you must allow yourself to proceed with the binge if that’s still what you really want. The majority of the time you won’t want to. But this is a promise you have to make with yourself.
What I teach is about giving up control, not gaining control.
Because ultimately, we can’t actually control anything… We can take actions towards our goals but we can’t actually control the outcome, that’s out of our hands!
Reverse psychology is key. It will feel very risky and scary, and that’s how you know you’re doing it right.
All foods are allowed.
This is how we disempower the foods that beckon us. It neutralizes the “bad foods” so that they aren’t bad anymore.
As a result, we neutralize shame, too.
When foods are no longer good/bad — and they’re just the yummy edible things that our body is asking for — it’s harder to feel ashamed of what we eat.
There’s no more reason to hide. To help with all of this, here are some new goals I suggest:
No more hiding.
No more restricting.
No more numbing.
No more “bad foods.”
Way more feeling.
Way more trusting.
Way more “allowed foods.”
Way more getting quiet to honour what your body is asking for.
The path from food-obsession to food-sanity will take an enormous amount of effort — but the right kind of effort.
Instead of bending yourself over backwards to eat the exact right thing (and failing), you’ll be bending over backwards to become authentic.
And when you slowly begin to embody your authentic self — the part of you that wants to save the world, and also wants ice cream every once in a while — everything unfolds.
Everything just falls into place.
If you need help with your journey from food freak-out to food freedom, I can help you. I know the exact steps to get you there. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I am saying it’s going to be worth it!
Take my hand and let me guide you. Click here for a free no-obligation call to see if coaching is right for you.
So much much and light,