What if you woke up tomorrow and stopped hating your body? What if you no longer experienced stress about emotional or binge eating, dieting or weight? What if you had no “drama” at all in your life. What would you think about…and do, throughout the day, instead, to occupy your mind?
I have worked in the emotional and binge eating recovery field for eighteen years now (plus a few decades of my own struggles). I see some universal themes. Here’s one I hear often. “What will I fill my head with if I’m not obsessing about food and weight?”
This week, a client of mine who is no longer using food and body dissatisfaction thoughts to distract her from uncomfortable feelings, shared this. “Now that I have all this brain space, I realize I’m bored. I really need to bring some new things into my life. I really need to make some plans…not just make plans to make plans and to get rid of the feelings. I have a new term for that, ‘slamming it’. I used to get really busy with a project just to be busy, just like I used to distract myself with food thoughts. I don’t want to do that anymore.”
From another client this week, who has done a remarkable job creating the life she always wanted and now recognizes how she previously used work and family crises, as well as body dissatisfaction, to keep her mind occupied. “I had been so preoccupied with other dramatic events, work, event planning, that stopping the focus on food and really honoring my body’s own satiety and hunger signals became easy. But now that I have no drama in my life, I’m kind of bored. I need to focus on how to just be in the present moment and just be okay in my own skin. Or I’m afraid I’ll turn my focus back to food.”
If you spend a lot of time obsessing about food, weight, and/or dieting, and nothing you have tried along those lines has worked, maybe the issue is not really about food, weight, or dieting. Maybe it’s about a coping strategy, a way of thinking you developed a long time ago to distract you from other thoughts and feelings you’d rather not tolerate. Is it possible you’re consciously or unconsciously stressed or anxious about creating the life you really want…or, you’re not sure how to fill your day with healthier thoughts…or how to become comfortable in your own skin?
Consider the benefits of weighing that instead…
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in emotional and binge eating issues. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org