I have come to understand that food addiction is real…
There are many who suffer from food addiction throughout their lives, going from diet to diet, gradually sinking into lowered self-esteem and increased feelings of worthlessness and failure.
If you find yourself obsessed with food choice, constantly worrying about what to eat but mainly what you shouldn’t eat, feeling trapped in your head, full of mindless ego chatter about how weak you are to give up, and that you are a failure for eating that chocolate/crisps etc. There is a way out, but you have to embrace a few things first. If you are ready for happiness and change you have to commit to simple but consistent steps – each of these remain non-negotiable.
- Declaration: I am a food addict, as with any other addiction it will never fully leave you – you will always be an addict. When you accept this fact, it is much easier to move forward.
- Reach out: Share your feelings and ego thoughts with someone who will be nonjudgemental. If this is not possible, write it down. Pour it all out onto paper. This will help more than you know. When we understand – really get it – that these ego/chimp thoughts are not real, this is a revelation. Although, do not expect this to happen overnight. You have a journey to take and it takes consistent practice.
- Listen: This is something I practise every day and when I say listen, I mean finding quiet time every day to listen to your inner self. It has taken me a long while to understand what this is and also why it has been so challenging. Generally, we are not introduced to meditation or any sort of quiet time as children in our present society – although this continues to be adapting. My house as I grew up was always loud with music or tv, my parents left the television on all night to have a constant comforting source of noise. I struggled with quiet because I didn’t know how to be with myself, alone with my thoughts was scary. However, with consistent practice, I have found the most amazing peace. As a mum and teacher these are short moments, none the less even more precious and I am beginning to hear…
- Replace: It takes time to change the chatter that has existed for so long. It will not happen overnight, but with consistent practice, it will change your life. I don’t even know exactly when my negative voice left. My realisation came when I was faced with a new situation a few weeks ago where I had to reach out of my comfort zone, and here it was my old ego – nasty! It actually shocked me. It is funny really because with a heightened awareness I told it off quite sternly and quickly engaged positive mantras and took myself off to do some mindfulness. It seems that my ego is here to stay, I just have to make sure my practice stays consistent. Write down some positive and loving statements about you and say them over and over again daily, preferably in a mirror to start. You are love, fear is just an illusion. You deserve to feel amazing and loved in every moment and you are.
- Be active: Find an activity you enjoy and make it a regular habit. Start very simple, for example, take a walk every day for 10-20 minutes and or follow a beginners yoga routine from youtube * This is a real game changer and for me is a mental health strategy I will always be grateful for. If you do not have a consistent activity practice, this will change your life forever. Having never been a runner or ‘sporty’ for that matter, my love of running outside was a surprise but the feeling of being close to the river and in nature is wonderful and an absolute tonic. If you would like to know more about how to introduce and keep habits check this link: http://passionatenutrition.co.uk/how-to-create-healthy-habits-and-break-the-unhealthy/
- Choose to be happy now: Happiness is a choice
I have read many books and watched TED talks that discuss happiness, one of my favourites is Shawn Anchor ‘the happiness advantage’. However, I think that each of us needs to really savour the statement and let it sink in. It was a revelation to me that you could choose happiness and I remind myself of it daily. So, don’t wait to be a certain weight or shape to be happy, choose happiness now, it is in your power.
- Be grateful: A gratitude practice can lift you out of any negativity if you have children introduce them to gratitude or thank you’s as my girls call them as early as you can. You can buy children’s gratitude journals. Starting off the day writing as many things that you are grateful for is a psychological technique that works to get the positivity flowing by focusing your brain on the good things. It doesn’t matter if you repeat yourself. State what makes you feel happy, what you enjoy seeing, who and what you are thankful for. Being grateful allows you to give to others and feel pleasure for their happiness, enjoy these feelings and write them in your gratitude practice.
- Remove trigger foods: ‘If it is in your house it is in your mouth’
Foods that call you and beg you to overeat/compulsively eat them – however healthy they are – need to be removed from your cupboards/fridge, at the very least for 21 days. Sometimes these are the foods that cause you intolerance issues and you can feel completely different after a few weeks without them. I do not like restriction usually, however food addiction is not the same as an uncomplicated occasional food craving, as you know if you have read this far.
These 8 steps do not take a lot of time each day, but if you commit to doing them you will have overcome more than you know in one year. Consistency is the key! You already have the knowledge to live a healthy lifestyle, it is your mind that will help you be the real you.
Lots of love and health,
* helpful links