We can spend so much of our lives waiting.
Waiting for something to happen.
Waiting for things to get better.
Waiting for the ideal moment.
I know I did (and sometimes still do).
There was an awful lot of time between acknowledging to myself that I had an overeating problem and healing my relationship with food.
Most of that time I spent waiting.
Waiting for something to happen that would resolve my difficulties.
Waiting to read that “one thing” in a book so everything would click into place. I’d have that “Eureka!” moment and my issues would be solved.
Waiting for someone to come along and rescue me. They’d utter the magic words and, hey presto, I’d be fixed.
I was also waiting to tackle my overeating when life became easier and calmer, when I had the psychological space to focus on it and the time necessary to devote to it.
I’d say to myself “when things get better I’ll deal with my bingeing, but right now I’m just going to go ahead and eat this thing I know I don’t really want to eat, and lots of other stuff too”. What I was telling myself was that I could only overcome my issues when the timing was perfect.
It took me a while to figure out that it doesn’t work like that.
There was no perfect time and there were no ideal conditions.
No one was riding to my rescue.
One of the reasons I was turning to food was to deal with life itself. So rather than waiting until life was less challenging and demanding before focusing on my eating, I had to focus on my eating precisely when life was challenging and demanding.
It was this realisation that helped me embrace my unique, messy, imperfect path towards normalising my relationship with food.
I had to learn to stay alongside myself emotionally and lean into difficult feelings, rather than attempt to avoid them by reaching for food.
I had to cultivate a caring, nurturing voice within me that would comfort and reassure me when I was upset, rather than criticise and shame me.
I had to decide that I wouldn’t allow setbacks to defeat me (and there were many of them).
The compulsion to continue to abandon myself emotionally and overeat was powerful but I found a determination I didn’t know I had. When I felt myself being pulled away from focusing on my eating and a voice within me said “not now”, I would answer firmly “YES – NOW”.
Because if not now, then when?
I had had a dysfunctional relationship with food for years. If I wasn’t going to look at it now, then when?
I also stopped waiting for my life to begin until I felt I looked acceptable. I was always putting things off until I had lost weight, waiting until I was thin enough. But I realised that when I was telling myself “I’m not thin enough” what I was actually saying was “I’m not good enough”.
The belief “I’m not good enough” was poisoning every aspect of my life and making me feel rubbish about myself. So it had to go. I worked to replace it with more realistic and positive beliefs about who I really am. It still rears its ugly head sometimes but I tell it to take a hike (usually less politely).
How many times do you say “not now” to yourself?
Perhaps you think “I’d really like to wear that outfit” but then you tell yourself “not until I’ve lost weight”.
Possibly there’s a particular food you’re hankering after but you tell yourself you can’t eat it until you’ve earned it.
Maybe you’d like to meet someone and have a relationship but tell yourself you have to be slimmer for anyone to be interested in you.
Life can end up being on permanent hold.
I don’t care what size you are; you’re entitled to enjoy your appearance and wear the clothes you want to wear. You’re entitled to eat and take pleasure in food. You’re entitled to loving, supportive relationships. You’re entitled to laugh, have fun and live your life. You’re entitled to feel good about yourself. There’s no reason to wait.
We can spend so much of our lives saying “not now” to ourselves. Try saying “YES – NOW” for a change and see how that feels.
Because there is no better time than now.
So what are you waiting for?