I am always excited by the first week of facilitating a Craving Change™ program when a new group of women comes together to help support one another in a common goal. What is exhilarating is that the women do not yet know what the common goal is. Is it another secret method of dieting? Many times, members admit to over-indulging during the week prior to our first meeting with foods they label “bad”. They join the group with the understanding that we will be discussing the whys and hows of eating but they still have the mindset that they are going to be put on another diet. These women have tried and “failed” every diet out there. Sure, they may have lost 10 lbs here and there but after all that deprivation a switch is thrown and the uncontrollable eating begins again. Back comes the 10 lbs, and a few more. It is not uncommon to hear women on the first night label themselves as guilty, out of control, or hopeless in their relationship with food. Some are surprised when I tell them we are not going to talk about nutrition. Let’s face it, we all know that eating a bag of chips for dinner isn’t the most nutritious thing to eat.
What then is this group about?
After facilitating over 20 of these groups this is what I know for sure:
- The group is about our relationship with our selves, which ultimately reflects our relationship with food. Revive our relationship with our selves and our relationship with food begins to heal.
- The biggest changes are perspective and an understanding that self-deprecation does not work. When we shame ourselves for doing something “bad”, we become like a rebellious child and end up repeating that behaviour.
- The most beneficial part of the program isn’t the information that the program provides but the sharing of experiences, insights, and the dynamic of women helping women.
- Ah ha! moments are big turning points for the women in the group. Countless times I’ve heard women say, “I had an ah ha! moment this week and know I will be changed forever.”
- Learning to be curious about an uncomfortable eating episode is more productive than beating ourselves up over it. For example, we ask questions like, What happened? What was going on? What was I saying to myself? What was different (or the same) this time?
- Women learn to question their thoughts. Many times, women get an urge to bolt from the group. This often happens when their inner voice starts whispering, “This isn’t going to work. You need to go on another diet.” This reaction is normal and usually playfully admitted to the group. Women challenge this thinking by learning to ask, Is it true? Will another diet solve my problems? Has dieting worked in the past? If I try this new method, isn’t it possible that something will change? Why do I want to run? What am I afraid to feel?
- During a Craving Change™ group women learn to put themselves first. Feeling frantic or not knowing how we feel can leave us desperate and vulnerable. In that moment, I suggest we ask, “What can I do to take care of myself? Is there something, anything, I can do right now to take care of myself.” We learn that self-care isn’t selfish in fact it’s the opposite.
There are many other amazing moments as these courageous women take their first steps towards permanent change. How about you? Have you got a support system to help you make changes?