What’s eating you?

I host an event each week, it’s a support group for anyone who finds this topic of eating challenging (to be honest I think we all struggle from time to time.) It is called Food Story Swap.

Anyhow, in our last discussion…it came up that when it comes to emotional eating it can helpful to ask what is eating me? It can become habit to turn to food as a way to cope with unwanted feelings. The way one gal put it, “sometimes I know I am not hungry but I still have to eat food.” She wanted to know why that is!?

I encouraged her that the fact that she is aware (that it isn’t her stomach that is hungry) is awesome. The first step is awareness. Next step could be when the feeling comes up to ask herself, if it isn’t food she needs…what is she hungry for?

The Power of Now!

I was once asked, what would your 90 year old self think of your current body? Of course I immediately had my answer… an aging version of me would be so grateful for all my body can do now and also the health and energy I do have right now.

The point being, there is a power in living in the now. I find it can be so easy to think I will be happier when I’m thinner and in better shape. But, what if we just slowed down and lived our best life right now? What will I really be able to do better or enjoy more when I am thinner?

If I’m totally honest, I WAS on an emotional “high” when I got to my goal weight…but the feeling was quite temporary! True happiness comes from inside us!

Why I quit dieting?

I want to share my story (in hopes it may help another soul suffering as I was) This story is about the most significant thing I’ve experienced in my life.  A choice I made that redefined my life….the day I chose to quit dieting forever!

When it began, I guess I was around 12 years old….to be fair….I was going thru adolescence. As I evaluate the situation now, I'd say there were two things going on. One is that my body was changing as a preteen, and if I had just been less judgmental, I likely would have thinned out as I grew taller after that. But peer pressure is powerful. And I had some very thin friends. The other challenge was hormones. I was feeling real stressed and learned a unhealthy coping mechanism, that food makes you feel better (at least temporarily.) So sometimes late at night, Doritos did the job of making me feel better. Hormones do even out naturally for most teens, but bad habits are really hard to break. But hindsight is 20/20, right?

I am pretty sure I began with atkins, and then I did the cabbage soup diet. At some point, I began to run and bike a lot. I tried gagging myself and starving myself. Then I found a phamplet while in walmart.  It taught me a pound is equal to about 3500 calories. If you want to lose a pound you have to eat or burn that many calories less than your body needs to maintain your current weight.   For an average gal that is about 2000 calories. So it instructed me to keep a journal. Daily I would write an inspiring quote at the top of the page. Then I tracked my weight daily, my exercise, my water and then my calories.  I remember vividly the summer I found this and was most dutiful. I was drinking safeways seltzer raspberry water (zero calorie) eating plain cheese bagels for lunch and working at the local boys and girls club. I have good memories of times with my cousin there, but truly deep down inside I was miserable. I thought it because I was not thin enough.

Fast forward 20 years.....

I was always on a diet (most days had fallen off the diet and every time that happened, I told myself I would start again the next day) I considered myself a will-power weakling.  I imagined that if I could just get to that magical number on the scale it would make me happy and literally everything would be ok.

It didn’t matter what it cost of my time, energy, happiness, money and my health.  I was so stressed. I had adrenal fatigue and my body just wouldn’t work quite right. I gave this number top priority in my head and believed it was literally going to change everything for me. To me, if I could just control this one area of my life, everything else that didn’t seem right or fair… everything else that was not in my control seemed it would be better if I could just get to goal. And so I gave it my all. And it took my all from me.

Due to the stress of being a perfectionist about not only my weight, but also everything else in my life ( as a mom to 4 kids with lots of needs, a wife, a friend to many and a working mom at that) my quality of life wasn’t great and that is putting it nicely. I finally told my husband “I let that number and all the beliefs I had about it steal decades of my life.  I HAVE to figure this out". (That was the day I found answers. I found the institute for the psychology of eating. All the information totally resonated with me. Marc David’s studies literally gave me my life back. Slowly but surely I’ve been introduced to myself and who I really am.

I’m a psychology of Eating Coach. I found I really love to support others, but I wasn’t so good at taking good care of myself.  In practicing coaching myself I become a better coach to others.

Fixing my parachute

Research shows that 98-99% of people who do a weight loss program gain it back and more within the first year. That proved true in my life. But, even knowing that fact...I found myself still trying to beat the odds, for years. I spent almost 25 years yo-yo dieting. I felt if I could just get to that "magical" number, everything would be ok after all. But the harder I tried, the harder it got to stick to a program to get there.

What changed, you may wonder!? Well....I found the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Every podcast I heard resonated with me. I finally felt someone understood my struggle. In one of his lessons Marc David (the founder of the Institute) gave this analogy for dieting and it clicked. He said something to this effect. . If we were going to go skydiving and I told you there was a 1 - 2% chance your parachute would work, would you actually jump?

At the point in my training that he said that, I had been working to put my scale away and stop obsessing about the number....but I hadn't been able to do it. But in that moment, it finally connected for me. I had been trying to get to that number and stay there via dieting for almost 25 years. Why would I keep doing something that wasn't working. I finally realized....I need to "fix my parachute" (my mindset) if I want any plan to work out the way I had hoped.

And so began the total transformation in my mindset toward dieting. I'm so grateful!