A nasty, negative voice in my head was triggered last week when I saw photographs of an old friend in a fitness competition. I was amazed at her hard work but the nasty negative voice in my head, my ego, began instantly to compare my body to my friend’s. My old diet mentality revved up. “You are unlovable,” the voice bellowed.
“Wait a minute,” said a little voice inside me. “You are lovable no matter what. Don’t you remember the promise to yourself? The message of your Nutrigal Pals: ‘Stop dieting and start loving’?” These thoughts ping-ponged in my mind.
This nasty thing, this thing I have with food and body image is a monster waiting to pounce on me when I feel the least vulnerable. And it’s not really about weight or the scale. It’s about the messages my mind tells me.
Somewhere in my life journey I learned to equate weight with self-worth. I told a friend recently that my weight is the reason I am unlovable; the reason I’ve been single for 5 years; the reason I’m sad, mad, and angry. Although a part of me knows this is absurd the message is so old, so insidious, so ingrained, so cunning, that I fall for it every time.
My ego intends to keep me safe, meaning isolated from people. It tells me that everyone I get close to will abandon me so I’m better off alone at home. On such nights I isolate in front of a TV screen and I eat mindlessly. I’ve been doing this most of my life. It has kept me ‘safe’ from the world for years. Ironically I love people. I have a great network of friends whom I love dearly, but they often need to drag me out. I’m grateful they are willing to ignore my protests and insist I socialize.
When I began to observe my egoic thinking one thing became clear, it never has my best interest in mind. In fact it’s the opposite. The very thing it tells me to do to keep myself safe is the thing that keeps me in pain. When I isolate I’m not allowing joy into my life; I’m not allowing myself to be loved; and I’m depriving myself of the joy of actively loving others. To make matters worse the 5-10 extra pounds that I believe make me unlovable are sticking to me like glue because the form of comfort I allow myself is junk food. I’m not saying that if I lose 5-10 pounds my troubles will subside. I’m saying my nasty, negative voice sabotages my efforts to be healthier. I now challenge these thoughts and ultimately my emotional eating.
I’ve been conducting groups for fellow emotional eaters called Nutrigal Pals. As a dietitian I bring in a lot of education, formal texts, and homework but the best part is the power of the woman to woman support. Some say teaching is the best way to learn and with Nutrigal Pals I’ve been learning, growing, and moving forward. I pass on to my Pals the techniques that have been the most helpful to me. The discussions we have are a form of inquiry; why we can’t stop the behaviour that is hurting us; why difficult relationships and inability to set boundaries leads to emotional eating; how bringing mindfulness to our daily lives alleviates overeating episodes; how saying ‘no’ is a powerful tool; how to reduce stress in our lives; and how to decrease toxic people, places and things in our lives.
Everyone can do this work, it’s a simple process. The hard part is moving through your ego’s resistance to healing. Once you decide to override the ego’s lies you are on the path to healing. If you want to know how to start I encourage you to read https://nutrigal.ca/2013/03/02/the-dilemma-of-the-stressed-out-corporate-woman/.
Upcoming groups start April 28th at Fallingbrook Family Chiropractic and will focus on two areas: 1) Mindfulness – body and food. 2) Gentle inquiry. To reserve your seat email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if your ego gives you a hard time – don’t listen!