How do we make our bodies more important than ice cream when we feel like the world is crashing down on us?
I was having a discussion with one of my clients. She was extremely disappointed in herself because she had been so good with her balanced eating, exercising, and taking care of/loving her body — until the previous day. These were her words: “I really thought I had finally ‘gotten it.’ I was so good for more than six weeks without any hard work and effort. Eating healthy and loving my body were so easy… until yesterday, when my co-worker really pissed me off. I was so upset that I ate a whole pint of ice cream last night. Now, I am not so upset that I ate the ice cream; I am more disappointed that I gave up on my goal and on myself.”
So, how do we make our bodies more important than ice cream in that moment when we feel like the world is crashing down on us?
First, please do not think I am judging eating ice cream (or any other fun but not-so-healthy food), because I am not. On the contrary, we should eat whatever makes us happy. But we must be honest with ourselves about whether we are TRULY happy after eating a whole bag of chips. (This is one Universal TRUTH: without honesty, you won’t find happiness.)
You see, if you are still searching for happiness, that means you haven’t yet found what satisfies you. Also, it means that bag of chips is not your happiness. There are many ways to reach joy and happiness, such as creating music, painting, writing, charity work, finding your passion — or, what I coach, creating a happy, fit, and healthy body.
The happiness from eating the bag of chips lasts 20 minutes while you eat it (and maybe a little after that), but then those feelings turn into regret, guilt, and eventually, anger that lasts a whole night and continues into the next day. On the other hand, the happiness from overcoming the impulse to eat a pint of ice cream starts with the discomfort of fighting off the urge, which can last the duration of those 20 minutes of chip-eating joy. However, if you overcome the impulse, the ecstatic feeling of being proud of yourself will last a whole night, and you will wake up in the morning with a joyful feeling that will stay with you for the rest of the day.
You might say, “Well, that all sounds great, but how can I actually do it?”
Before I get to the answer, I want to point out that there are only two types of hunger: Love hunger, and Fear hunger. Every time we eat, we either eat because we love our bodies and we want to nurture them, including when we have special celebrations, and in those times, we eat out of joy. Or we eat because of fear or anger, and this type of hunger is a monster who is hard to control. When you are consuming food to feed your fear, your body is not processing your food as well as when you are feeding your Love hunger. This is because your digestion and metabolism are affected by the tightness of your intestines, and only partially producing digestive enzymes. Fear, anger, anxiety, and sadness impact your stomach and slow down digestion. This can interrupt the harmonious flow of your gut’s delicate rhythm. Failure to properly digest your food leads to more gas, bloating, weight gain, and even nutritional deficiencies, which can cause unhappiness and, once again, bring you back to the never-ending search for happiness.
So, before you cave into your ice cream (or any food that has been stealing your power and freedom), see ‘who’ is asking for the food. Is it your Love, or your Fear? Remember, whoever you are feeding is growing!
Now, the second, even more important part is: you must go beyond the Present moment. Although I have written an article about how important it is to be Present to lose weight (you can read it here: Why Being Present is Crucial to Losing Weight), to overcome the impulse to eat out of Fear, you must expand beyond your Present moment.
This is why: in that Present moment, when you want to eat ice cream in an attempt to “get even” with the person who has hurt you or the life that is unfair to you — instead, try to expand that Present into tomorrow morning when you wake up. How do you want to feel? Then, once you ‘see’ that feeling, what will be your next move to get there? Just like the great chess players, talented artists, and dream makers, you must have a target, a desired final result, and every time you struggle to find the next move, expand beyond that moment into the final result and move toward it (not away from it).
So, to recap, my advice on how to resist the impulse of uncontrollable eating is first to see ‘who’ is hungry, and then if the answer is Fear, expand that Present moment into tomorrow morning and stay with your goal of waking up happy and proud of your body. Your goal is not the ice cream; your goal is YOU, the Masterpiece.
And as I told my client, hearing and knowing these words doesn’t matter if you won’t apply them in that most critical moment. It is just like learning to swim; no one can help you to swim on your own until you take that very first stroke. But I am not here as someone who wants to preach or scold you for eating a whole bag of chips. I am sharing these words because I want you to swim across the ocean with me.
Wishing you only Happy eating and happy swimming.
Love & Light
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