Transforming a Food Addiction
Transforming a food addiction - Taking action to beat food addictions
In order to transform a food addiction and beat it, you first have to be ready to acknowledge that there is a problem and your relationship with food is not a stereotypical ‘normal’ one. If food addiction creates an image of gorging and bingeing on food and you’re nothing like that, then you’re not alone in thinking that’s not you. However, food addictions can include anything you don’t have full control over eating or leaving, even if it’s once in a blue moon that you have that particular food. From sugary foods to bread and milk products being the most common addictive foods (that’s a WHOLE other blog!!)
Once you recognise that you have an unhealthy connection with food, you have to take yourself through a specific thought process.
My top tips for this are:
· Don’t start to obsess about your food obsession!
· Try not to get angry or frustrated at yourself.
· Don’t start starving yourself or moving into a crash diet.
· Start to wonder why this food addiction has come about.
· Stay hydrated and allow your body to start processing and eliminating some of the toxins from your body so you can think and act clearly.
· Put actions steps in place that will build a network of support to help prevent this situation arising again in the future.
Accept what is:
You must accept a food addiction in order to beat it. Doing this is NOT giving up lady! If you can accept it for what it is and where you are right now, come at it from a point of kindness rather than anger, then you can observe that this is merely a side effect of a deeper problem. Your realisation of the food addiction has made you aware of that problem. Your mind has done the most amazing thing in helping you to realise there is something amiss, albeit it hasn’t been good for you.
Thoughts become things:
You see, thoughts become feelings which become actions which become results. When you break that down backwards to find the root cause or to make changes, the most common mistake you'll make is that you don’t go far enough back through that cycle.
THOUGHTS - FEELINGS - ACTIONS - RESULTS
So when you realise you are overweight, that is your result.
When you recognise that it is a food addiction or unhealthy relationship with food that is the cause of being overweight, they are your actions.
Here’s where the usual backstepping stops, but it’s key to continue back further!
When you notice that you eat addictive foods or eat too much when you are happy, sad, stressed, tired, excited, these are your feelings.
When you can see and observe your mind and thought processes behind why you eat comfort foods when you are happy, sad, stressed, tired, excited, you can identify the root causes of your thoughts.
As you go right back to your thoughts and feelings around the unhealthy connections to food, you can start to break them down; break them down and you can change them. Changing your thoughts will change your feelings, changing your feelings will change your actions, changing your actions will change your results…see where I’m going with this?!
In essence, acceptance = understanding = knowledge = wisdom = choices = change.
As you go back to those thoughts and feelings, I encourage you to express unexpressed emotions behind the addictions. Address them in a safe supported way; journalling is a powerful self-help method, as is reading and learning from experts, but professional help generally creates the fastest, permanent change with the most support to move forwards.
As you move through life as a recovering food addict, you do need to maintain a raised awareness around some things, because naturally, you don’t experience every situation that has triggered you towards your food addiction in a matter of days to overcome them; they arrive unpredictably and over months, and years.
Recognising when food addictions rear their ugly head and when their triggers occur is paramount to overcoming them in every aspect of your life. Keeping a journal is a wonderful empowering method to log your emotions and build patterns and pictures of your feelings and actions towards food through life.
‘You don’t conquer your food addictions, you leave them behind.’
You will notice different layers of emotional triggers; for me personally, my core error in thought was that I didn’t feel loveable, which altered so much for me in my feelings, actions and results when I resolved it. But as life went on and months passed, there were a couple of others; rejection and self-worth. I only know this now because I had to experience a situation that made me feel the feelings of being rejected and not feeling good enough, in order to observe what effect they had on my eating patterns and then correct them. I’m sure there will be more still too. The key difference is this; becoming aware of them is not a weakness, it’s a strength, because now I know exactly what to do to quash them and understand the REAL truth about myself.
Christmas, holidays, going on training courses, arguments, partners and friendships, having to speak publicly, abuse, the list goes on and on. All link back to emotions, but in the moment, something physical is in control of your relationship with food.
There are obvious food triggers for many people; sugar, wheat and dairy being the most common – ice cream, chocolate, pizza and pasta, cheese, bread and butter.
What is yours?
Beating a food addiction:
Here are my four steps to beating any food addiction:
1. Work out what your food addictions represent-what are the feelings and thoughts behind them? What is the food addiction a cry for help for? Is it not feeling enough in any way? Wanting to be bigger to be unattractive or to protect yourself? (For example)
2. Create new beliefs around those thoughts to change your feelings about them. Use affirmations, statements, post it notes, phone reminders, screensavers to literally oppose those old thoughts with new empowering positive thoughts that will become your new beliefs.
3. Repetition-Authority-Impact. Any new thought or feeling has to be reiterated with repetition, authority and impact, just like the old ones were that became your reality. Ask a friend or tell yourself forcefully, out loud ‘you are enough!’ over and over like a stuck record. Get your friend to stand up while you sit down and feel the authority and impact their words have as they tell you everything your mind and body need to hear to heal yourself.
4. Get support, accountability and put solid expectations and systems in place to deal with new triggers as they may occur and prevent relapse into old ways.
‘You are a work in progress, you always will be, with or without a food addiction.’
As soon as you understand that you should always have been hearing these powerful positive things about yourself, throughout your life, you will make these four things part of your every day life and make up for lost time if necessary. As you make those changes, your relationship with food will change; maybe subtly, you don't crave those late night snacks, it's been three weeks since you had chocolate, you realise the office stress is no longer driving you to cream cakes.
You can do this, lovely lady.
Next week-I’ll be bringing this all together so you can make a personalised action plan for yourself to beat your food addictions. In the meantime, ensure you are subscribed to receive this as it goes live via the following ways:
Have an amazing day and week, beautiful women!