How Do You Soothe Yourself Without Food?

Back in my binge eating days, I’d often hear a soothing little voice in my ear.

If I was having a tough day at work, the voice would whisper: “it’s OK, pick up some food on your way home”. Like co-conspirators, the little voice and I would plan the binge I’d have later.

Planning was part of the bingeing ritual and looking forward to it helped me get through the day. I’d feel excited as I imagined all the food I was going to eat. All those “bad” and “naughty” things I felt I wasn’t allowed because I was firmly entrenched in the diet mentality.

But the little voice gave me permission. After all, it told me I was having a difficult day and food would make me feel better.

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Food for Thought: Finding the Sanctuary Within You

“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” – Hermann Hesse

If we’re so used to experiencing inner turmoil rather than inner peace, it’s hard to believe there might be a calm place within where we can find refuge.

A major reason for binge eating is to gain relief from the chaos inside.

We turn to food to quiet our fretting minds and soothe our jangled nerves. Eating offers us a time out from feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

But it’s only ever a temporary vacation from our troubles. And what follows – physical discomfort and self-loathing on an epic scale – ensures the holiday wasn’t enjoyable.

Food can never give us the peace we crave.

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Gentle Reminder: Dreamers Who Do

When I meet clients for the first time, I usually end the assessment by asking how they’d like their relationship with food to be.

“Just normal” is the almost universal response.

They then explain they don’t want to think about food all the time, they just want to eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’ve had enough. They don’t want to binge or overeat. They don’t want to obsess about food from the second they wake up until their frazzled heads hit the pillow at night.

It’s a lovely goal.

It’s an achievable goal.

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Expert Insight: Looking the Wrong Way

“Body image is quite independent of physical appearance. Someone with high self-esteem tends to view her body favourably, regardless of how she actually looks.  

The weak connection between body image and physical appearance means that changing your looks won’t guarantee a lasting improvement in self-esteem…you need to get past your appearance and focus on your other personal strengths as well.”

– Rita Freedman, “Bodylove”.

It may come as a surprise that body image really has nothing to do with how you look.

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What’s the Downside of Daydreaming?

As you elegantly step out of the limousine onto the red carpet, cheers instantly erupt from the waiting crowd. You reward them with a dazzling smile while the night sky lights up with hundreds of flashes from paparazzi cameras.

In one perfectly manicured hand you hold the new diamond-encrusted phone Apple designed especially for you. In the other, you clutch the Oscar you won the night before for Best Adapted Screenplay of your own best-selling novel (your legendary acceptance speech was both hilarious and moving, by the way).

Your phone rings. It’s Adele. What? She wants to duet with you on her new album? Well, how could you refuse? You’re not sure how you’ll squeeze it in, what with addressing the United Nations, the fitting for your new Marvel superhero costume, and collecting your Nobel Prize in Stockholm. But sure, Adele, anything for you. Suddenly, you hear a loud voice say:

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Food for Thought: Water Your Dreams with Optimism

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”  – Lao Tzu

So you’ve crystallised your dreams for the coming year and you’ve planted the seeds of your desires in the (hopefully) fertile soil of 2020.

Now take a moment to look inward and tell me – do you expect your dreams ultimately to grow and blossom, or wither and die?

Be honest.

Your answer makes all the difference.

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A New Year’s Day Reminder

If you wrote a New Year’s Day letter to yourself (remember Season’s Greetings: A Letter to You?) here’s a friendly reminder to open it.

Enjoy reading your letter – I hope it brings you comfort, insight and encouragement.

If you haven’t written your letter yet, it’s not too late. Why not take some time to write one now? If you’ve immediately dismissed this suggestion, maybe ask yourself why. What’s holding you back?

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