"you can never, ever, use weight loss to solve problems that are not related to your weight. At your goal weight or not, you still have to live with yourself and deal with your problems. You will still have the same husband, the same job, the same kids, and the same life. Losing weight is not a cure for life." -Phillip C. McGraw
Hiding behind worrying about your diet can make life easier sometimes. I mean, if you were to stop thinking about food, obsessing about what you are eating, what would you have to face instead? Would you suddenly give your mind time to figure out that you hate your job or that you are in an unhappy relationship? Perhaps that anger you feel towards that friend would come up or you would see that you need more intimacy?
As well as food being a coping mechanism, it can also become something to numb us from having to think about what is really bothering us. Why admit I HATE my job, when I can numb the stress and boredom away with some cake at the end of the day? Why admit I miss the intimacy of a relationship when I can eat PIZZA and feel okay? Why admit that I feel lonely when I can just eat ice-cream and get through? Why admit that actually you have no confidence in yourself and no self-esteem when instead you can just eat some crisps and be alright?
The sad truth is that CHANGE IS PAINFUL and rather than admitting to ourselves or accepting that we have to change (and that we are unhappy deep down), we choose to eat (or get drunk, use drugs, or gamble, or shop, or smoke). We numb our pain because it means we don’t have to go through the discomfort of doing something about our problems. We numb our pain because it means that we can just bury our head in the sand and put things off for now.
When you stop USING food to fill a need which is emotional or psychological, you will find it much easier to control your food choices. When you eat more than you would like to, feel numb whilst eating, or eat until you are uncomfortably full…it is often because you are hungry for something other than food (and this is why you never quite get to the point that you feel satisfied).
So why not start a new journey today and ask yourself – what am I scared of thinking about? – What am I using my thoughts about food to hide from? If I wasn’t obsessing over food and my weight – where would my mind be? What comes up might be scary, it might make you feel uncomfortable and it might take you somewhere you have been trying to avoid. Yet numbing a pain won’t make it go away – it will just suppress it for a while. Be brave – dig deep – you future self (and your future body) will thank you in the long-run.
“There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away.” ― Sherman Alexie