How many of us can resonate with the words food obsession and food control ?
How many of us have ever felt an incessant urge to be on top of everything - our work commitments, Calorie counting, weighing food, calculating macronutrients, or pre-planning every morsel of food we will eat.
How many of us have become so obsessed with reading articles around the health properties or ‘harms’ of certain foods, watching endless ‘what I eat in a day’ You tube videos and episodes of Come Dine With Me and other foodie programmes, alongside hoarding multiple collections of cookery books (most of which we haven’t attempted to make even a handful of recipes).
Alternatively, the images and videos we see allow us to gorge ourselves with the very thing we are obsessed - addicted even - with avoiding and controlling at all costs …
In a way, even the process of trying to strictly regiment our lives around food can give us an instant buzz that is almost as satisfying as eating the actual food.
There is a reassuring feeling that now, even for a split second, our life feels neatly in order and under control. Feelings of being safe, worthy enough, controlled enough and good enough are a fleeting reality. A vague momentary sensation that we impulsively chase like a child running after the ice cream van … (only this time there is pleasure in knowing that we can say no to the ice cream!)
The feelings of control around food may feel instantly pleasurable but we know that they are just a short lived experience - a distraction from our reality of not feeling good enough, worthy enough or in control. It allows us to suppress our real feelings and fears down, down and down until we can no longer hear or physically feel them.
All feels well with our control over food, until we break one of our food rules. Regardless of whether it was an accident, forced or because we finally honoured our physical hunger, we feel as though we have fallen from grace. We have fallen off track, become out of control, and now we welcome that horrible feeling of not being enough …. hello withdrawal symptoms from food control !!!
That calm, collected ‘got it together’ person suddenly feels as though the floor has collapsed beneath us, we internally begin to shake with fear about what happens next, and all hell breaks loose. We feel (unnecessarily of course) guilty, out of balance, out of control - aggressive even ...
Everything we previously suppressed under the weight of food control bubbles violently to the surface, as our usual control system becomes completely unhinged.
We hear ourselves shout
“ NO NO NO! I can not be like this. I cannot be out of control. I can not allow my weaknesses to surface, or for people to see the real me and my problems ”
We might even feel guilty and unworthy for showing our true human vulnerabilities, and the very fact that we are not as in control of our life as was once reflected in what we ate (or didn’t eat).
We may even feel guilty for even thinking about food now that we have eaten something and let that control slip …. we feel non-intitled to step anywhere near the object we feel sabotaged by and unworthy of receiving without burning it off, purging or waiting it out until we feel hunger once more. That nagging, dulling yet familiar and secure sense of hunger.
Shaking like a full fat bag of crisps being opened, we wonder when we can eventually push this relapse episode behind us, so that we can ram our foot right back into the stirrup of control. We enjoy the ride of being in the drivers seat - definitely not being under the wheel of all the pressure that we have subconsciously stacked up against ourselves.
We yearn to suppress everything bubbling up - down down and down again.
As you may be able to see or have felt yourself, the need to remain in control of food can become very much like an addiction. Although perhaps not biologically identical, I feel there are many similarities here, and i’ve also witnessed the feelings in my own body.
The natural high from remaining on top, feeling superior, and sneakily hiding our true selves away can feel incredibly pleasurable - like a very short-lasting drug that reassures us of our own existence when we have nothing else to go on…
You may even wonder, who are you without your food obsession? What the heck would you think about? What would you fill up so much of your empty time with - the time that would used to plan meals, count calories, assess the ‘goodness’ of your intake’ ?
Of course, there is so much more to us than a food obsession, and in fact, there are limitless things we can do and become without it. However, it feels far from that when you are stuck in the depths of it all.
The food control and the inevitable hunger we feel throughout our day can also be a natural high in itself. The feeling of lightness when the rest of our world and mind seems heavy and dark. At least we can numb that out through hunger and food control … the main way we have chosen to cope.
The act of having our minds so deeply immersed in food can be soothing initially. Until food is actually consumed and we then feel no right to even think about food due to feeling unworthy and guilty once more if we do. Seems crazy right?!
We have easily fallen into the trap of becoming dependent on food - not eating food, but obsessing and controlling it. Through knowing more about food and how to avoid it, we inevitably end up delivering ourselves a pizza topped with false security and unstable self-worth.
These types of obsessions can also play themselves out in relation to other modes of our lives - work, money, education grades and even trying to live up to the standards of some ideological group or belief system.
The desire for control and superior knowledge can become insatiable. And yet, we know deep down that our obsessions, ironically, lead to feeling hungrier. Hungry for life and real soul satifsaction. Real life experiences that aren’t dulled down by an addiction for control.
At our hearts core, we thrive off living more spontaneously and going with the natural ebbs and flow of life - eating opportunities included! We weren’t born to live in the pit of food obsession - it keeps us functioning at a level of fear rather than fulfilment.
Despite the initial comfort or even the drug like effects of food obsession, it never ever leads to a truly healthier or happier life. Within the obsession bubble, we become self absorbed and unable to fully enjoy the precious moments that life brings. We miss out on vital opportunities for connecting, creating and just being.
It is part of my mission to empower you with the confidence and tools to break free from addictive food obsession. It no longer serves you or ever alls you to be completely you.
There is always an opening opportunity for you to realise this. A chance to know that you have the strength and inner wisdom to finally let go of the food obsession.
Only then can you begin peeling back the many layers you have been hiding behind - allowing you to bring up whatever has been bubbling away beneath the surface of your authentic self.
At first, what you experience may not be a pretty picture. But its not meant to be. Like unblocking a pipe filled with dirt and toxins that have built up for years, at first your emotional flow may feel dirty and untameable.
But stick with it, and allow it to just flow until the clear waters come. They will flow once more, especially when there are more individuals around you who compassionately support this process (the most important being your compassionate self).
Simply know that you deserve to feel fully alive and worthy of food and life without guilt or living in a world of food obsession. It will take time to let go of all the habitual urges to control food, but as your actions do the opposite of these urges, your thoughts can only naturally flow in one direction …. becoming more and more congruent with what you do.
Becoming free from any form of food obsession is rarely an easy flowing task, but it is 100% possible. Not only that, but it is your birth right to be free - to live in your fullest joy, truth and finding meaning from your experiences.
Food control and obsession offers nothing when you are once again fuelled with your own self-compassion and permission to enjoy food while following your own nourishing routes to happiness, health and wellness.