It’s important to know why you crave food, what lies behind weight gain, because you might have been labouring under the illusion that it was foods themselves that were keeping you overweight, when it’s something else entirely.
It’s true that changing your relationship with food will help you find your desired body shape, but that’s because normalising your eating will bring to back into a balanced weight and the body you’ve wanted for, how long now? But the bottom line is that using tactics that turn out to be this weeks fad or last weeks flavour don’t really help, and they’re certainly a distraction, that in the long-run work against you.
Do you ever find yourself saying things like this to yourself:
- I’m hopeless at dieting
- I can’t lose weight
- They work for other people but not for me
If you have been saying some of these things to yourself, as a put-down, it’s not helping either.
But diets do work for some people, and it’s most likely when all the chairs are stacked up simply ready, or that what created the weight-gain was a phase of disruption, rather than a well established pattern.
Of course it doesn’t always last and if that same person has an emotional trauma in the future there’s nothing to say that they’ll not fall off the wagon and get triggered back into those old familiar patterns.
And there’s nothing to say they won’t, it all depends on how much the pattern has changed, it can depend on so many variables, and weight gain can become more complex as we age, especially when hormonal issues kick in.
Listen to what you’re telling yourself
You may or may not be aware but your mind is always listening, whatever you say to yourself about your weight, eating and body image, is what your mind and outer experience delivers time and again. You’ve probably heard this saying before:
You get more of what you focus on!
Which translates as, if you keep telling yourself how hopeless you are when it comes to losing weight, then guess what you’ll be hopeless, you may even put more on over time.
And I know it from my own experience!
If you crave food you might find that your cravings move around, from one food to another, and this happens for a number of reasons, such as:
- Hormones: At certain times of the month or in certain phases of your life
- New habits: Which form more easily because food is the place you turn to for comfort
- Associations: Foods you ate that re-visits a moment in time you shared with others
- Cultural links: As part of an event or celebration
- Other people’s expectations: What is accepted as the norm within your family or friend circles and accepted as the norm
- Men and women: Being treated differently growing up
If we briefly look at the last point, as a woman did you grow up being treated differently to your male siblings, and as a man did you have allowances made that your sisters didn’t?
I know that happened in my family home, and I was very resentful in my teens, where decades later I learned that my brother’s perception was rather different to the one I took away, when I felt he was favoured.
Which only goes to demonstrate that a shared experience doesn’t necessarily mean the same experience of itself as far as the participants are concerned.
As a parent
I’m not a parent, I have the experience of being a child who lost a parent quite early (at 13 my father passed away following a chronic illness) which brings about a different set of challenges. That point in my life brought about substantial change in every which way.
But as a parent have you unknowingly inherited any unwanted methods of parenting from your parents, do you sometimes feel surprised when you hear yourself saying the exact words, using the exact tone that was used to you, while momentarily remembering how uncomfortable those words felt?
Because we often continue the patterns that we were raised by, and as parenting doesn’t come with a manual, there are as many parenting styles as there are parents.
Just because it was said to us and we’re now repeating it, doesn’t make it right or wrong!
But when a moment like that arises it’s a good idea to take stock, become aware of it and look at whether it’s a useful pattern to continue.
Have you become an alien to your kids?
It’s something you can look at. For example if your children struggle in an area of their life, can you assist them in finding their own solutions, rather than telling them to do x, y, and z?
This can be a huge challenge for a parent, and teaching your kids to take responsibility from the outset by using a hands-off supportive approach is time consuming but it pays off massively later.
The downside is the later you start the harder it is, and most parenting doesn’t introduce the idea of taking ownership of cause-and-action until kids become adolescent, when their hormones are raging and the last thing they probably need is an unrecognisable system at home.
Raising children can be likened to making a Christmas cake (please excuse the frippery) but you toil and toil, adding all the required ingredients, at every turn, at all the various, yet rigid (systems imposed from the broader society) stages, and finally the proof of the pudding is whatever turns out of the tin on the big day.
What is your family history?
If you take a moment to consider your own history there are probably examples you can think of where your parents asked something of you they would not have asked of your opposite-sex siblings? Are you continuing that same pattern, because this keeps unwanted behaviours bound in! Have you gone the opposite way just because you rebelled?
This might be a triggering topic for you, something that has you running to food for cover, as the cravings rear their sexist heads. We’re not beating anyone up here, no matter how much angry or passive aggressive your behaviour has become for you with others or you with yourself.
It is what it is, and it’s better out than in, because where family patterns have resulted in unhelpful patterns with food, types of relationships and behaviours, it’s wise to look closer to home for the insights.
No-one wittingly set out to relay these patterns onto you, everyone in your life was doing the best they could with what they knew at the time.
So the next time you crave food, take a moment to think about it if you can stop yourself in time, and see if you can track it back to where or when it started.
P.S. I’d love to hear what you’re doing that is bringing you into more vibrant health and vitality. If you’d like to read more posts you can find the Addictive behaviour series here…
Take the next steps
Are you ready to take some active steps towards changing whatever is upending your attempts to find a way into making better eating choices, if so these tools DO MAKE the difference.
You can receive a Backstreet Pass for more tips, reports and updates on the form below: