Have you had this happen? You find a way of eating, of being with food that feels good to you. You are starting to feel grounded and back in control. Suddenly, without much warning, a voice inside of you begins to whisper to you of going back to old ways of eating. Of trying to eat like everyone else, or why the holidays are a perfectly reasonable time to do that. This happened to me recently.
So imagine that you have managed to shift some destructive patterns of eating, the ones that really keep you addicted and miserable, when it happens. You are faced with a conflicting mix of thoughts and feelings. On one hand, you are beginning to feel better. The self-hate and sense of being so out of control is waning. Your confidence to keep promises to yourself and stay the course is beginning to solidify. And yet...
JUST WHEN YOU START TO FEEL SAFE
Just as you are finding your balance in this new way of living without your addiction, those seductive thoughts begin to return. Thoughts that undermine the choices you have made to put down the food and learn to live the life that you were longing for. Thoughts that think maybe it looks better over there- where people eat whatever they want, indulge in special holiday foods or drink, believe that they can deal with a night of eating their trigger foods and still return to their "sobriety" around food tomorrow.
THE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES ARE CONVINCING
Yep, they are seductive. We have short memories. I know I do. Just before the holiday last week, I was shopping at Whole Foods. They really know how to make their products sparkle- even a bin of brusse lsprouts looks tempting. Anyways, as I noticed all of the holiday foods and displays, I found myself slipping into one of my favorite food-fantasies.
My biggest food fantasy, otherwise known as "the lie I like to tell myself", is that I can eat in a way that is elegant and refined. The times I am triggered around food are usually when I need to accept that I have an addictive response to food, and cannot eat like other people. No matter how many times I have learned otherwise, there is a part of me that slips easily into denial and then self-pity. Especially this time of year.
Do you have a fantasy that keeps you stuck? I am guessing you do- denial or "deprivational-thinking" are what keep us in the food, when we know in every possible way that we do not eat like other people.
Back to my walk through Whole Foods- I saw the pretty holiday food, and began my descent into "the big lie". I imagined myself eating daintily the little treats and special foods of the holiday season, a glass of something sparkly in my hand. I imagined myself mindfully eating and enjoying the food and the event. It was a lovely fantasy, a powerful and recurring fantasy- it is not however my reality.
My reality is not quite so pretty, dainty or serene! Something happens to me, but after all these years and tons of research I am still at a loss to adequately explain it. But when I am "in the food", it does not look like the scenario I painted above.
For you and for me, it's essential to see the "big lie" for what it is- the thing we keep telling ourselves that keep us from doing what we need to do to find freedom from food addiction. It's just the truth. If we cannot name our reality around eating behaviors, triggers, and other patterns, we are destined to remain stuck.
What is your version of "the big lie"? Here are some favorites:
* I will stop eating like this after the holiday
* I can eat like everyone else and still stay in control
* I can handle just one
* Just this once
I know- don't shoot the messenger- it's hard to admit we are different, and that our way has not worked. But you know what they say, you know about "the truth shall set you free"? Where is not telling yourself the truth keeping you from the life that you want and deserve?
Copyright 2007 by Lisa Claudia Briggs . All rights reserved.
Information Obtained from IntuitiveBody.com is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your medical professional with individual concerns.
Lisa Claudia Briggs, MSW, LICSW is the Founder of Intuitive Body. She is a Holistic Intuitive Therapist, and Eating Disorders Expert and Mentor. Lisa has helped hundreds of women and teenaged girls heal their eating and body-related issues for the past 20-plus years. Visit IntuitiveBody.com for more information.