Hacking Thy Food Woes (Part 1)
WOOHOO! New year, new you! This year will be different. This year, your laundry list of goals will be fulfilled and you will take down the world like the boss that you are. You’ve committed to a new dietary program, joined a gym, picked a program/hired a trainer, and even bought new sneakers. That’s what’s up.
(Typing that kind of stuff makes me vomit a little in my mouth.)
Now that we’re encroaching on the halfway mark into January, the reality of your ambitions has set in. “F*CK! THIS IS WORK!?” Yep. It is. Welcome to the party that is real life. Sarcasm and being a dick aside, making lifestyle adjustments is hard as hell and will be accompanied by many an up and down. Perhaps some crying, yelling, anger, and depression may be involved as well.
It’s time to cut that out. Let’s talk.
In the beginning…
…there were commitments to making certain dietary choices. Whatever path you choose to walk, hopefully this will help you realize what is causing your woes. Everyone has a different situation, so I cannot possibly address them all. My goal is to touch on the mysterious ‘why’ behind your emotional roller coaster.
- It isn’t the food.
- It isn’t enough time.
- It isn’t the right food.
- It isn’t enough food.
This is the basic outline of what I think most folks are going to deal with, in the order that I would guess is from most common to least. Please feel free to argue, share, or add to anything I write about in this series since the goal is to shed some introspective light on what is going on inside your head – not mine.
It isn’t the food.
This is the hardest hack of all so I want to get this right from the get-go. Maybe you’ve decided to cut out sugar, maybe you’ve just decided to tackle emotional eating, or MAYBE even a wild Whole30. Whatever your deal is, most food related goals involve not turning to food for comfort.
WELLLLLLLL. F*ck. You’ve just had your coping mechanism torn out from underneath you that you’ve been using for 20, 30, 40, 50+ years.What now?
I do not know you and cannot tell you how to cope with what life has thrown at you, personally, but I can give some advice that has worked for me and those I know. If you have committed to a journey of self discovery through food, why not use it to explore other aspects of your being?
Get a cheap notebook and write down anything and everything you are feeling. Dump the contents of your mind onto a piece of paper. This activity can be an enormous release of all the negativity you had bottled inside. If you don’t want anyone to see it, destroy the paper you wrote on or hide it. I also like using journaling for exploration… come up with a list of questions and actually write out your responses.
How do I feel today?
Why do I feel this way?
If my feelings are negative, is there anything I can do to change it right now?
If I cannot change my negative feelings right now, worrying is useless because it is beyond my control. When the moment arises that I can fix it, I will, but not before because I can’t.
If I can change my negative situation – I will do it. Then it is no longer a problem!
This activity really helps make these “BIG” issues almost non-existant, or at least reduced.
I talked about journaling and meditation in my stress reduction posts, but they’ve both helped enormously. Meditation is about being present. Being present means you are living right now, not in the past or future. Wherever you are, whatever you are touching, smelling, tasting, hearing, and seeing, it is right.this.second. By focusing on what is going on around you, you cannot be upset by what occurred in the past or the future because it isn’t happening! So simple!
Read a book, explore something new, or simply step out of your situation for a time
As a last resort, if the above doesn’t help, try doing something else. Distract yourself from your misery and break the pattern of negative emotion. Some of my favorite things to do are reading, going to the movies, making dinner with a friend…. the options are limitless. Simply divert your attention to something more positive.
At the very least, read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I’m almost halfway done with the book and I cannot express how much it has instantly helped me calm the hell down. Instantly.