While the process of change never runs smoothly, sometimes it feels like an endless battle with yourself which can wear you down and make you feel like giving up.
So let’s examine some of the reasons why change might feel like such a challenge.
It’s not coming from a helpful place within you
Often the attempt to change is motivated by your Inner Bully who says you’re unacceptable and have to improve to earn your place in this world. Trying to change yourself to please others isn’t healthy motivation and doesn’t work. The only motivation for lasting change comes from an authentic place within that is concerned for your wellbeing and wants the very best for you.
You’re still stuck in the Diet Mentality
This is the number one reason for struggling to normalise your relationship with food. Rather than giving yourself full permission to eat exactly what you feel like when you’re hungry, you’re still telling yourself what you “should” be eating and judging your choices. You can’t have one foot in the diet camp and one foot in the eatonomy camp – free yourself from diet hell and commit to healing your relationship with food once and for all.
You don’t really want it
You do, but you don’t. A part of you can be invested in maintaining the status quo so will sabotage your efforts. It’s vital to explore your conflict about changing. A dysfunctional relationship with food often acts as a distraction from the real issue that you’re scared to address. What do you feel powerless to change? Who will you be without your issues with food? These are important questions to examine.
You’re measuring the mountain
You see recovery as a monumental climb and your Hopeless Side is kicking in. Your problems seem insurmountable and you feel overwhelmed. While you should have an idea of where you’re heading, it’s important to keep looking straight ahead, not up. Don’t measure the mountain – stay focused on the best thing to do for yourself in the moment.
You’re not a priority in your own life
You want to normalise your eating but you don’t want to give it your attention. Unfortunately, you can’t heal your relationship with food while remaining detached from yourself and your eating behaviour. You and your issues need to be at the top of your priority list. That would make a nice change, don’t you think?
If it’s not perfect, it’s not good enough
You Inner Bully is judging your every step and telling you it’s not good enough, so you feel despondent. Rather than supporting yourself through the process, you’re criticising yourself and expecting it all to be perfect. Change is never perfect, it’s messy – embrace the mess, learn from your setbacks and support yourself unconditionally.
Do any of these resonate with you? If so, it would be good to explore them further by writing some notes. Maybe you have some others to add to the list. Whatever’s coming up for you is all information useful to your process, so pay attention.
So how do we make change less of a challenge?
Check your intention
Do you want to resolve your issues because you feel you’re not good enough or because you care about yourself? Only the latter is healthy motivation. Stay grounded in the authentic part of you that knows you deserve self-compassion and self-care. Maybe this side doesn’t feel very strong. What could you do to strengthen it? Writing a list of realistic beliefs can be useful. For example, “everyone deserves to look after themselves, including me”.
Watch your language
If you hear yourself say “I’ll never change” or “this is too hard” that’s the Hopeless Side talking. Become adept at spotting any other defeatist messages and replace them immediately with words of encouragement. I bet you’re great at encouraging others. Now’s the time to do it for yourself. What a difference it would make to hear yourself say “keep going, you’re doing so well” or “I’m proud of you”.
Put yourself first
Things don’t get better because we ignore them. They improve because we give them the attention they deserve. You’re worthy of a peaceful relationship with food, so put yourself at the top of your priority list. When you notice you’ve slipped down the list, just keep putting yourself back at the top. It doesn’t mean you ignore your other responsibilities; it just means your needs are as important as anyone else’s.
Maybe some other ideas are coming up for you that might help. Again, take note. The answers to your struggles lie within you – whatever you think and feel is far more important than what I say. You’re the expert on your issues.
When you’re aligned with your authentic self, change isn’t a challenge. Instead, it’s a gentle process of consistently doing the very best for yourself in the here and now, in a supportive and caring way.
While there’s no magic bullet for recovery from binge eating, there are shifts in perspective you can make right now to help yourself. If you do, it’s likely you’ll begin to find the process of change a lot more rewarding and much less of a challenge.
There’s an opportunity for you to explore your individual struggles with change and find some help at this month’s eatonomy group on Saturday 28th March, as we examine “Why is Change Such a Challenge?”.