Once upon a time, I believed the following to be true:
“If I let go of my control around food, I will eat everything that isn’t stuck down and I will gain 100 kilos.”
As it turns out, it’s the BIGGEST MYTH EVER.
If you are anything like I was, I felt like I had to control my food and place strict rules on myself otherwise I would eat anything and everything. I was terrified that if i let go of all my food rules the flood gates would open and there would be no turning back. I’d be swimming in a sea of donuts and salt & vinegar chips.
So there I was, thinking I was being a ‘good girl’ for having all of these wonderful strict rules in place, but much to my confusion the very thing I was trying to avoid (eating anything and everything) was happening on a regular basis. I was binging and emotionally eating and feeling totally out of control. What was I doing wrong?!
Here’s the kicker:
The more you try to you control something the more it controls you.
So if we translate that to food:
The more you try to control your food the more it controls YOU = you feel like you have NO control.
Phew. Wrap your head around it and let it sink in.
When I was working on cruise ships (I was a professional dancer), I became a bit more… nutrition savvy. I wanted to learn as much as possible about it. But I took everything I read to the absolute extreme. Things I had learnt that were intended to be guidelines, I morphed into strict rules around food. How many calories per day I should be having or which particular foods were strictly off limits, for example.
As soon as I started living with these rules around food, I thought I felt safe, in control. But in reality I was completely disconnected from my body’s innate wisdom. I actually felt stressed, trapped and a little bit crazy. I was living in food prison.
I was so obsessed with following these rules and controlling that it became a bigger priority than having fun, relaxing, socialising or enjoying the moment.
There were times where I was so hungry and felt overwhelmed with stress because I had already eaten my daily quota of food. I would try my absolute best to control myself in these moments but before I knew it I would be heading to the crew mess, I’d grab something that I ‘wasn’t allowed’ (cake, bread etc), sneak it back to my cabin and eat it as fast as a could. A lot of it. Hoping no one would catch me. This was a regular event and was always swiftly followed with massive pangs of guilt, self judgement, panic and disgust.
I felt out of control.
Little did I know at the time it was my attempting to control food which made me feel like I’d lost control.
Now let’s also touch on the actual reason I was so tightly controlling my food and was scared to let go: I was scared of gaining weight.
I was eating (or not eating) in fear of gaining weight or not ever losing weight.
But all that did was lead me to binging and chronic emotional eating (read: RELIEF from the restriction).
It was after many years of this perpetual cycle and lots of craziness that I finally saw the light. I finally understood that in order to reclaim my sanity around food I had to let go my control around food. Letting go didn’t mean eating anything and everything, it meant finally tuning in to what my body wanted. With no rules or guidelines to follow other than to eat to feel good I could finally hear what my body had to say.
For the first time in years I felt back in the flow around food. I felt free.
I was finally letting my body take it’s own natural course. No longer trying to control my appetite, my cravings or my body’s signals.
The answer to your food prays isn’t getting more control. The answer is letting go, tuning in and trusting.
P.S If this resonated with you and you felt yourself nodding along to my story, I’d love to offer you 1-on-1 guidance to find your own freedom around food. Maybe you’d like to book in for a FREE 30 minute discovery session with me? You can click here and use the form on this page to get in touch.
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