Here’s a post I started writing a few months ago and finally finished!
It started out like any other Tuesday/Thursday afternoon in this, my era of post-law firm employment. Forever multi-tasking, I was listening to a recorded lecture for my Integrative Nutrition program while deep cleaning yoga mats for my yoga studio’s work-study program. Debbie Ford, internationally recognized expert in personal transformation and human potential, was speaking on creating a life you love.
In a talk full of humor and palpable sincerity, Ms. Ford urged the audience to completely and utterly accept themselves, for she warned: “What you resist, persists.” Rather than seeking to change those parts of us that we, or society, have deemed less-than desirable, Ford suggests that we embrace our complete humanity. She also reminded us that traits we might consider “negative” — her example was “bitchiness” — can be necessary or even helpful in the right circumstances.
One of the most valuable parts of the lecture, for me, was Ford’s explanation of our tendencies towards self-sabotage. Specifically, she cited the wisdom in the adage “The guilty seek punishment.” And right there, in the midst of stinky yoga mats and deep-cleaning solution, something clicked. I realized I had been punishing myself with food.
A few months prior, I had stormed through my fears and made the gutsy decision to leave a stressful, low-paying job that simply wasn’t aligned with my passions to pursue the life I envisioned for myself. Obviously this was no easy feat. But instead of giving myself some credit for taking this huge step, I subconsciously punished myself for past mistakes. My self-inflicted punishment often manifested itself in food.
I suddenly found myself struggling to find motivation to prepare my own food – an activity I once enjoyed. Instead, I would eat out far too often and give in to cravings of less than healthy foods. I SO knew better – I’ve been on this healthy eating path for a couple of years and had begun formally studying holistic nutrition, but something inside just kept drawing me to that macaroni and cheese!
Those who think they are guilty seek punishment, indeed. On a certain level – a deep intuitive one – I already knew that. But hearing Ms. Ford’s lecture that day in the yoga studio, validated my “hunch” so to speak. Since then, I began working to forgive myself for whatever perceived past mistakes. I began repeating affirmations throughout the day and practicing gratitude for even the simplest of joys. I shifted my mindset, opting instead to revel in all of the successes achieved during my 26 years on Earth. In doing so, I stopped feeling driven to hurt myself by consuming foods that only leave me feeling drained and even more guilty!
My past struggle with emotional eating stemmed from feelings of guilt about perceived past failures. Have you ever experienced emotional eating? How did you break the cycle?