Breaking an emotional tie to food, is NOT a ribbon-cutting event!
For anyone who is an ’emotional’ eater (or a closet eater) like myself – you will totally get this post. Think – munching down a whole bag of chips and/or box of cookies in just one sitting…all without much thought. For myself personally, I eat when I feel stressed or bored.
The guilt that follows is incredible. Yet, it’s a vicious cycle. You feel stressed, inhale the snacks, say you won’t do that again and guess what? YUP…it starts all over again. Not only is your mind affected – but your body as well. Most normal people gain weight when they eat over-processed junk food.
So, now the cycle becomes more complicated very quickly:
- You eat junk.
- You gain weight.
- You feel like crap.
- You eat some more because you feel like crap.
Well, breaking our emotional tie to food and re-programming our brain is REALLY hard. Probably one of the hardest things that we ever need to do. I know because I worked on it for almost two years. I was lucky that I managed to breakdown part of my insatiable need to stuff my face. Still working on it because it’s a life-long process for me.
How did the tie get so strong?
Long story short, if I psycho-analysis myself, it started when I was just a kid. I learned that if I wanted to eat something, I could eat unlimited quantities. My grandmother allowed me to eat steak after steak because I liked the taste. It didn’t help that we worked at my parents’ convenience store with tons of candy, chocolate, chips, popsicles, etc. at our fingertips. Anyway, needless to say, I had lots of cavities and gained too many pounds. As I was growing up, I was made fun of for being fat. The lack of confidence and stress continued the negative cycle of over-indulging.
Break it down!
My very first blog back in November 2018 was about my experience with the Freshii 3-day juice cleanse. I would say this was the ‘beginning’ test of my willpower. I chose the 3-day cleanse because I knew I could not survive for 5 days.
I highly recommend trying a juice cleanse. One of the guys at Freshii said he managed to quit smoking after a 5 day cleanse. It really helps to reset your brain. Mind over matter.
It was really, really hard. But I did it. My mental willpower could barely stand up to the overwhelming want to grab and eat everything. It was so hard sitting with people who were eating food while I was cleansing.
I know we all have our stories why we are “psychologically” dependent on food. But I do believe that occasionally, we just need a re-set. Something to test our strength and ability to control what we eat – and indirectly, take control of our lives. I say this because I believe an underlying issue for a lot of things in life (for me weight gain) is about not feeling like we are in control of our lives. Working at getting to the root of the problem is also recommended.
That was then, this is now
Recently, I decided my body needed a boost of nutrients and a rest from eating solid foods. I have followed a vegan diet for over 8 months now, so the extra attention to my meal planning and preparation has helped to fight off my food’s mental grip on me.
I decided to do the 3-day cleanse again, but slightly modified. Basically, I drink 3 juices (breakfast, snack and lunch) and eat a generous salad for dinner.
I am on day 1. This time around, I have absolutely no issues with drinking my juice in lieu of eating solids. It’s a breeze taking a juice instead of a meal. I don’t even need to think about what to eat! I am also enjoying the feeling of not over-eating – especially at dinner.
Tomorrow is another day
I envision myself getting a badge or token for job well done. But the reality is, it’s another day of resisting the urge to conquer the bag of Lay’s Original chips (my fav BTW).
In this thing called life, you have to treat yourself as a pet-project. Try different things until you find something that works for you. Good luck on your own quest to cut the ties…