Expert Insight: A Gentler Way of Dealing with Yourself

“Change happens the way a plant grows: slowly, without force, and with the essential nutrients of love and patience and a willingness to remain constant through periods of stasis.

If change is what you want, you need to find a gentler way of dealing with yourself and others.”

– Geneen Roth, “Breaking Free from Emotional Eating”

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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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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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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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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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Season’s Meetings: Shields Up!

It’s a good old-fashioned Christmas meet-up with family, friends and acquaintances.

So who’s here? There’s your aunt who tries to emotionally manipulate you. There’s that old family friend who always makes inappropriate remarks about your body. Over there’s your cousin who never fails to give you “helpful” diet tips. She’s talking to your mother who’s giving you “that look”.

And there’s you – mindlessly eating mince pies in an attempt to deal with the stress and misery.

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