In my coaching practice I often work with people who know that the way they are eating is not good for them. And yet they cannot stop eating in an unhealthy way, what not only leads them to gain weight but also a to whole host of other health issues in the long run.
More often than not it is not a lack of knowledge that leads people to eat in an unreasonable way. The real causes behind an unhealthy eating behavior are much more complex and can be of physiological, biochemical or emotional nature (the 10 most common reasons for cravings I explain in my lecture “Balance your life” – what nourishes you off the plate).
When I work with people 1:1 I usually ask a lot of questions that go far beyond their eating habits. The answers to these questions allow me to get a better picture of the lifestyle of my clients. Because often times we are so busy trying to fix our eating habits but forget, that we need to be nourished on different levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. And more often than not people can get rid of their unhealthy eating habits without even talking about food.
“If you eat in a way you know it's not good for you, it’s not about food. With food you want to distance yourself from life when it’s not the way you want it to be.”
It's worth taking a closer look here, because your eating habits are never the problem, but mostly the solution to a much deeper problem that you're trying to numb or compensate with food. So there's no point in trying to change your eating behavior or discipline yourself if you don't know the root cause.
The first step is awareness – what’s really behind your cravings? What do you want food to give you what you can’t get otherwise? You need to find out the actual reason behind your eating behavior, so that you can validate whether it is true and than create a new context in which you don’t need the unhealthy habits any more. The next step is practice. It will take some time and effort to become comfortable in the new context, especially if you have been confined in the old programming for many years (e.g. in the unconscious belief that you are somehow not enough).
At the same time it’s important to balance the effects of you unhealthy eating behavior, especially if it has been going on for a longer period of time. Binge eating (combined with periods of starving) can not only lead to weight gain, but also distract many other functions in our body – just thinking of lack of nutrients and hormonal imbalances which can wrack havock in your body long term.
Getting to the root cause of an eating disorder or unhealthy eating habit is crucial for a healthy relationship with your body. Because first of all you have to value yourself enough to take good care of yourself. Just think about it: why would you take good care of yourself if you don’t like yourself very much? Or if you think you are a failure?
Whereas when you value yourself and the amazing being that you are, you would do everything to give your incredible body all the nutrients it needs, instead of filling it with junk what would only lead to guilt and shame and therefore promote the next binge eating.
If this is something you are struggling with please don’t hesitate to ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with you! But humans will always do more to avoid pain than they’d ever do to feel joy. And if your unconscious pain is bigger than your goal to lose weight and feel good, than you’ll forever fall back in this cycle of binging and starving, which will have long term health consequences – weight gain is only one of them.
Please remember: life is precious and you are unique! Please treat yourself accordingly as there is no other you on this planet.