Anyone with compulsive eating tendencies has at least a couple strong beliefs about how they relate with food. These beliefs usually go something like this: (some are ones I used to believe about myself, too!)
- If I go to parties, I can’t help but eat the food there, whatever it is. And I always stuff myself with it.
- If my partner/mother/daughter/coworker makes delicious food for me, I can never have just some of it, I always eat way too much of it.
- Cheesecake is my weakness. I can never say no to cheesecake.
There are beliefs like these ones, which have to do with circumstances and people. And then there are general beliefs, which are usually the really long-held ones that we believe and act from constantly:
- I have been dealing with food addiction all my life, so it will always be a challenge for me.
- I am a huge emotional eater.
- When I start eating, I can’t stop.
- I don’t have the willpower to say no to great food even when I’m not hungry.
These beliefs are causing digestive systems everywhere to be overloaded, just as Greenstar juicers get overloaded when you try to juice sourdough bread.
Believing in our own stories about who we are and what we are and aren’t capable of causes us suffering in body, mind, and spirit.
But the truth is, who we really are is beyond our addictions, dysfunctions, and fears. You may have heard the quote by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Who we truly are at our core is a being who is naturally capable of a balanced, relaxed relationship with food. Somewhere underneath all our stories, we are a person unafraid of food, easily able to say no when we’re not hungry, stop when we’re full, not stuff ourselves, and who gravitates towards healthy foods that nourish. This might sound like the picture of perfection and impossible from where you are, but I am sharing it simply to remind you of your inherent balance. We will all get there in time, so long as we feed ourselves copious amounts of love, kindness, and tenderness along the way.
It is not a matter of, “How do I control my compulsive eating?” It’s a matter of “How can I let go of the beliefs I have that are covering up the true me that does not, and has never, had a compulsive eating issue?”
When we catch ourselves thinking these kinds of thoughts, buying into these belief systems, acting as if they’re true, question that voice.
Really, will food always have to be a challenge for me?
Is it actually true that I don’t know how to take care of myself in other ways than food when I’m not hungry?
What would I do and feel now if I believed I can handle the discomfort or emptiness or pain that may arise when I don’t use food? If I believed I was a person with no issues surrounding eating? That I was perfectly in balance?
Sometimes, the compulsion to eat will drop away completely in that instant of questioning. At the very least, questioning will continue to put cracks in the beliefs. Go on, try it.
What are the beliefs you have about yourself that you have or need to question? What happened when you did? What beliefs replaced them? I’d superbly love to hear from you!