Why is Change Such a Challenge?

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.

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Food for Thought: Step Forward into Growth

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” – Abraham Maslow

How often have you found yourself at that difficult crossroads?

A part of you urges you to step back, insisting you stay in your comfort zone where it’s familiar and safe. “Keep to your usual way of thinking. Continue your old patterns of behaviour. You know where you are then”, it says.

But, like a persistent child tugging at your sleeve, another part wants your attention.

Rather than stay safe, it compels you to move forward. “There’s more for you than this. You know there is”, it whispers, as it hints at an exciting future you’ve yet to discover.

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Gentle Reminder: Paying Attention to Pleasure

“I hate food.”

“I wish I didn’t have to eat.”

These are some of the things new clients say when we start working together.

Years of dieting and dysfunction with food have left them desperate about what to eat. Food has become the enemy and, understandably, they feel it would be simpler if they just didn’t have to eat at all.

Meals are often such a minefield that eating has no pleasure.

One of the best things about normalising your relationship with food is you get to enjoy eating again (or perhaps for the first time). As you learn to give yourself absolute permission to have exactly what you want, the sense of deprivation that contributes to binge eating begins to fade away.

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Expert Insight: Soothing with Words and Compassion, not Substances

“The fundamental problem is that if we have not been appropriately soothed and have not had carers who have sufficiently helped us to manage our feelings, we are likely to have great difficulty managing them as we grow up and in adult life*. We badly need the skills of emotional regulation because otherwise we are at the mercy of our feelings…

Many people, of whom you may be one, self-soothe not with words and compassion but with substances and activities. The compulsive exerciser is making himself feel better by his exertion; the drug addict or problem drinker is using substances to escape from feelings he can’t manage; the person with disordered eating is using her preoccupation with food, weight, shape and size to deal with feelings that she doesn’t know how to manage in any other way.”

– Julie Buckroyd, “Understanding Your Eating”

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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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