Healing your relationship with binge eating, chronic dieting and body shame
“I’ve tried everything to lose weight and my body just won’t budge.”
“I’ve tried to diet and I lose a little weight then gain even more back! I just can’t stick to anything!”
“When I lose a little weight, I seem to sabotage it by bingeing or eating ‘bad’ foods.”
“I’m a failure when it comes to losing weight. I don’t have the willpower to stick to anything and I just can’t stop eating!”
“How can I make things work in so many areas in my life but I just can’t get a handle on my food and body issues?”
Sound familiar? This is such a common conversation many women have with themselves and each other. I’m sure you’ve heard it plenty of times. Maybe you’ve even had these thoughts and conversations yourself.
Here’s the good news! You CAN find freedom from the hopeless cycle of food and body shame and actually have a healthy relationship with food and your body!
The Dieting / Shame Connection
You may have been battling food and body issues for years! Each new hope and intention to make this effort THE ONE that will work often gets met with a feeling of another failed attempt.
Struggling with food and body appearance and becoming highly focused on changing it can lead to shame, depression, and unhealthy relationships with food and exercise.
It can feel like a vicious cycle! Finding your thoughts and emotional energy revolving so much around food and your body (what will you eat/not eat, feeling discouraged, feeling shame, feeling hopeless, feeling lonely, and eating or restricting again to soothe those feeling).
So much “if only” thinking plagues those who think that just a bit more weight loss, or landing at a particular weight, or a particular way of eating, or over-exercising will make it all better.
Don’t go down the rabbit hole. You will only be opening up to:
feelings of failure
potential for eating disorders
or deepening an existing eating disorder
The only way out of this is to find your own unique path to transforming your relationship with food and your body -- finding out what keeps you in the vicious circle first so that you are free to make your own decisions about what is uniquely right for you.
Your own unique path to healing your binge eating, chronic dieting and body image
This post is the beginning of a series on transforming your relationship with food and your body image. In the coming weeks you can read about the variety of ways to break out of the chaos and find your own unique path to healing.
Where can you begin?
Here are some important areas that we will dive more deeply into through this series, but you can begin to set your path today.
Say no to diets
Plenty of research is confirming for us that diets don’t work!
From genes to evolution to psychology there are many forces impacting a person’s body weight and shape. Then putting a restriction diet on top of that sways the balance AND increased stress which can lead to comfort eating. The shame that develops over repeated failed attempts also increases the chances of comfort eating or binge eating.
Embrace an attitude of body acceptance
There is such a strong pull for appearing a certain way and so many messages around what bodies "should" look like. This is a non-stop trap and finding your freedom from it comes from self and body acceptance. There is so much meaning in how we view and take care of our bodies.
Body positivity is a movement which promotes acceptance of our bodies rather than being in battles with them. It promotes the value an individual has as a whole person rather than placing worth on what someone looks like.
The terminology of body "positivity" has shifted a bit more to "acceptance" because the goal isn't always that you must feel positively about how you look. Sometimes you will just accept that "this is how I look and I am a whole person with many qualities, including, but not only about my body shape / size."
Finding your connection to who you are, your value as a person, your own beauty, your living peacefully in your skin will allow you to separate from the societal pressures to look a particular way and truly embrace who you are!
There are 2 books I highly recommend and refer to for my own clients. Both very accessible and empowering with useful exercises. Dig deeper with these.
Get to the root cause of your eating behaviors and body shame
Exploring what has led you to your relationship with food and your body shame over your lifetime is a significant piece in your healing and recovery. It really matters to know yourself and what keeps you in pain and stuck? Self-awareness is always the most valuable tool you have. It will allow you to change your relationship with food and your body, building your insight about yourself, and then really knowing how to move forward once and for all.
Mindful eating and body mindfulness will allow you to know what’s driving your eating and body shame, as well as allow you to nourish your body and soul with food.
With so many diets and wellness plans dictating what to eat and how much and when, people lose track of knowing what their own bodies need. They lose track of when they’re truly hungry or full. And, worst of all, no longer trust their body cues.
When you plan to eat mindfully and really tune in to your own body, you will find a way to naturally and authentically take care of you, what your body needs, and trust you are a self-regulating, self-knowing being!
Enjoy your food and exercise without judgement
Embrace and enjoy eating again. Play with your food, food choices, restaurants, recipes. There are no good and bad foods! No need to be scared of food.
Also important is to embrace fun, feel-good movement. Break out of the rules that you must exercise a certain way for a certain length of time or to compensate for something you ate.
Find the joy in your body when you play and move the way that doesn’t feel like punishment, obligation, or just plain old work. Notice your whole self and the mood lift that comes with that.
You may have found your way here because you've gotten so disillusioned from chronic dieting or the "wellness" advice swirling all around you. Or you may feel out of control with your eating. Or, you may still be searching for the "right" plan for you.
This is exhausting! This doesn't need to happen! I never want you to feel this way again.
Make a decision today to take a look at your own unique needs and trusting yourself. You’ll really get to clarify what has been keeping you stuck so you can go forward much better equipped to heal your food and body image issues.
I'm so pleased about this journey for you.
Ready to settle your embattled relationship with Food & your Body? Grab your FREE Worksheet here to begin your healing journey towards real freedom from that deeply-rooted and exhausting struggle. Recovery IS possible!