Shortly after a session with a client, I received a message from her. I could hear in her voice she was still processing some things we had talked about. She said, (and I’m sharing this with her permission, of course)…
I always feel like I need to be busy and getting things done. Then, I get overwhelmed because I put too many irons in the fire. But I think what I actually need is to do fewer things that are more enriching. I don’t need to be busy, I need to be fulfilled.
This is what shows up when you get underneath the food stuff. It turns out that what you’re struggling with has very little to do with “getting in control” with food, and a lot more to do with figuring what you really want. Then the food stuff gets much, much easier.
My client is nailing something important here.
The busy, busy, busy is the same as trying to control what you eat.
You keep busy because it feels good to check boxes and feel like you’re getting things done. In reality, the goal is for everything to be done so you can relax. But there will always more to do and I’m going to guess you rarely let yourself relax.
Similarly, watching everything you eat makes you feel like you’re in control with food. In reality, it makes the foods you’re telling yourself you can’t have more enticing. This leads to eating more than you normally would, because you feel so deprived, you often spiral into a binge.
So instead of focusing on the crazy-making things that you think will help you lose weight (i.e. fighting to control food and forcing exercise), take my lovely client’s “ah-ha” and run with it, do less busy and do more of what feels fulfilling. You’ll get what you were craving all along.
How to make it work for you:
As I told her, it’s great to have these moments of insight. But until you take action, nothing changes.
- Pull out your favorite journal or use the Notes app in your phone, Write down three things that make you feel fulfilled. In other words, write down the things that make you feel most like yourself, full of joy and at ease. Those things.
- Schedule time for these things in your calendar. It doesn’t have to be a big time commitment. For me, I have a reminder pop up in my phone for a social media and cell cut off time before bed. This helps my mind and body fully relax and I can enjoy reading a few pages of a book I’m into.
- Take it a step further, see how doing these things impact your hunger, cravings, mood and energy.
Have fun with the process of getting to know your body!