If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ll be very familiar with the notion of control around food.
Diet books advise you to “control” your intake. Bootcamp challenges encourage you to “control” your cravings. Self-help programs that try to stop the cycle of emotional eating tell you to gain better “control” of your feelings so that you don’t stuff yourself.
But do you want to know the truth?
Control of your cravings and control of your feelings is a fallacy, at least in the long term.
Because although you might be able to “control” yourself from eating those chocolate biscuits today and although you may be able to “control” your urge to have a slice of cheesecake after dinner today…
How long will you be able to maintain that “control”?
Are you going to be sitting there in 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years, still in full “control” and having successfully avoided an entire food type?
And this, my friends, is why diets don’t work.
Binge-eating isn’t just an emotional issue. It’s a biological response to food restriction. When you restrict yourself, your body perceives the threat of starvation as a real risk of long term damage or death.
You’re sitting there, saying “I will NOT eat the cookie. I REFUSE to eat the cookie. I will NOT give in to the cookie!” for the 8th day in a row and at the same time time, your body is saying to your brain “Hey, ummm… do you know she’s starving us? This isn’t good. Release the hunger signals to let her know that she’s harming us.”
So, although you might be able to “control” your food for a short period of time but at some point, you’re going to start wanting that food again.
And, like a big red button with a “DO NOT PUSH” sign… well, you’re going to want it even more the longer you try and “control” it.
This isn’t about stopping trying to control your food intake. This is about acknowledging that in the long term, you just don’t have control of what your body needs from you.
Your body dictates what it needs from you, and it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to nurture and cherish your body.
When you stop trying to “control” what your body needs, you’ll find that you:
- Crave the “naughty” foods (which, by the way, shouldn’t be referred to as bad/naughty/wrong) less because in practicing moderation, you’re not setting yourself up to reinforce mental patterns of feast vs. famine;
- Remove the emotional connections to certain foods that keep you trapped in dangerous cycles; and
- Are much better at actively listening to what your body needs from you – because it’s hard to know what it truly is trying to tell you, when you’re always commanding it to shut up!
When it comes to your motivations for caring for your body, it’s crucial to assess the place within you that they come from. Do they come from a deep desire to do what’s right for your body, or are you actively trying to pigeonhole your body into what you think it should need by controlling it?
I’m a firm believer that health is a holistic effort and when you’re actively trying to pit your mind against you’re body, you’ll end up with nothing but conflict.
Self-love and respect for your body is harmonious. It’s holistic. And it’s the difference between beating yourself up for what your body needs from you, and creating a thriving relationship between yourself and your body.
What will you choose?