How can you trust your body to naturally manage your appetite when you’re terrified of losing control with food?
Sandy, My question, the No 1 question for me, is how do I let go of the fear that overwhelms me every time I think about eating to my body’s promptings? I restrict and then binge, restrict and then binge; and, yes, I KNOW it’s the totally wrong thing to do, I know it’s the very thing that’s keeping me trapped in this cycle…but I’m terrified to just let go and let myself eat what I want.
I’m scared I’ll eat and eat and eat and never stop eating until I explode. Yet I know that’s not true, as I had a long,long few years about a decade ago when I ate exactly as I pleased, looked my best ever, was as healthy as they come, was 100% happy etc. I maintained a normal weight for me effortlessly, didn’t even own a pair of scales.
Somehow, though, during a stressful period, I slipped down this rabbit hole of restrict/binge, and now I can’t get out of it, even though the stress is long over.
And now, no matter how much I tell myself I won’t “lose control” I get scared of what might happen, and I just carry on in the same old vicious treadmill circle of hell. How do I face/break this fear? I don’t know if it’s fear of fat, fear of losing control, fear of change or what, but I’m literally petrified with it.
Any suggestions greatfully received – including a verbal kick up the backside if you like: I feel I certainly need something to jumpstart me off this sticking point. Thank you for reading this. ~ Jan
The Answer: Feel The Fear …
Hi Jan 🙂 Gee this seems to be the topic of the moment, I’ve had several questions really like this, so I decided to answer it as a Big Question. I think it’s time to do a teleseminar on this one!
So there’s a few things going on here by the looks of things – there’s:
- restricting your food
- the absolutely predictable, completely natural biologically driven binge – no it’s not a character flaw – and
- a third natural response of being scared that you’ll eat and eat and eat till you explode, because that’s what you’re doing when you binge. Without the messy exploding part of course 🙂
- And your head knows the way you’re behaving around food is the ‘wrong’ thing to do but somehow you can’t stop doing it.
I won’t give you a verbal kick up the backside Jan because I don’t do that and I reckon you’re already giving yourself a hard enough time, lovely lady!
This isn’t logical because though it seems to be a physical problem it’s not – it’s an energetic one. Bear with me and I’ll unpack it.
You nailed it when you said that there’s all this fear – of fat, of losing control, of change, of…. something … which all started during a really stressful period. Maybe the way you responded to the stress was to control your eating, because it was the one thing that you could control.
Emotions are the way our energy system lets us know what’s going on. E-motion = energy in motion.
What I know about stress and the body’s energy system is that stress can be so overwhelming that it causes ongoing energy imbalances. These become physical and chemical. When we treat the energy system using EFT Tapping, we ease the emotions that are driving the obsessive thoughts and the behaviour.
I’ve seen it over and over and over.
The relief it brings is enormous.
There’s a powerful physiological push to go for sugar when we’re stressed too – that’s another post I’ve meant to write (reminder note to self) – but for now just forgive yourself for craving sweet things when you’re stressed it’s what your body wants, it’s not a weakness despite what you’ve read elsewhere.
You don’t need willpower to restrict your food either, because the feeling of control and calm you’re trying to get by restricting your food is just naturally present.
Then you can use all or your adult smarts to make choices in partnership with your body, and not trying to force it to your will. And you already know you won’t win because our bodies are the result of thousands of generations of survivors of war and famine. No way will the brain beat the body in this instance. Removing the feeling of stress so that brain can logically engage seems to work though.
For anyone who is working through something like this on their own, I’d start by using the Personal Peace Process. It goes like this:
Write (not type – write with pen on paper) exactly what’s happening, truthfully and simply, one statement per sentence. Jan your list might start with:
- I’m scared I might lose control if I don’t restrict my food.
- I’m scared I might eat and eat and eat until I explode.
- I’m so tired of this cycle.
- I have so much fear about not controlling my food.
- I’m scared to trust my body.
Keep writing until you have about 50 statements on your life. I know 50 seems like a lot but you’ll be surprised how quickly you get to that number.
You’re listening to your body now and it will give you surprising information that you may not have been aware of before now.
When you’ve got 50, read the list from top to bottom. Which statement has the biggest emotional ‘zing’ for you? Write ‘1’ next to that statement. Keep reading. Which statement has the next strongest emotional ‘zing’ for you? Write ‘2’ next to that one. Keep going until you have at least ten statements numbered.
Now You Start to Tap to Relieve the Charge
When the intensity of the first statement has reduced to a 1 or a 0, move on the second statement. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.
You’ll be surprised how quickly the charge reduces. You’re working with your body’s energy system and once it starts to flow, it really flows.
Will working on this top issue fix the whole thing?
As you said in your question, there are several issues going on here. As you deal with the stuff you’re immediately aware of you’ll get to the deeper issues; they’ll just come up, you probably won’t have to dig for them. There are always more aspects to every issue than we’re aware of, almost always unconscious of course!
How can it be that simple? It does seem simple – actually it is simple. But it’s not easy. This is difficult painful stuff Jan. It’s only when living with the pain is tougher than facing it that we let it go – we humans don’t like pain, will do almost anything to avoid it!
But when you remove the emotional charge you can start to think clearly, and then you can work with your body and you’ll never worry again about losing control with food. Believe me, this is way easier than having to manage it all, all the time – that’s just exhausting!
Your body is so wise Jan, you already know that because you lived there for years, before the stress threw you off course.
What do you think? Let me know how you go.
A note to other readers: If you’re dealing with a similar issue, please follow the process even in you can’t find your own words for this. It honestly helps.
Otherwise you can:
- buy the Personal Peace Process Journal to do more in-depth work on your own
- take a look at the teleseminars around this topic
- book in for a one-on-one session with me
Do You Have Your Own Body Image Question?
Feel free to ask your own body image question by filling in the form at this link – I’m happy to answer it here on the blog.
What to you think of the suggestions I’ve given Jan – please leave a comment below.