When it comes to your relationship with food, does it seem as if you are in the passenger seat, and the driver is completely out-of-control?
I am going to help you identify what is “driving” the behavior of binge eating, and give you the two crucial steps to change, that you can implement right away.
For starters, imagine yourself as a car. If this seems a bit weird, think about this: we refer to car “bodies” (why is that?) and we take our cars to the “body shop” for repairs.
As you travel on the proverbial road of life, keep in mind that you are not alone in the vehicle. There are usually three basic parts to all of us: the Self, the Critic, and the Soother/Supporter.
· The “Self” is is the part of you that has needs, wants, wishes, emotions and conflicts. When you say, “I feel mad/sad/glad/afraid” that’s your “Self” talking.
· The “Critic” informs you of all your perceived transgressions. It is relentlessly judgmental, critical and sometimes downright nasty. (Hint: if you refer to yourself in the second person, it is usually the critic talking, as when you say to yourself, “You have no willpower!”).
· The “Soother/Supporter” is the part that provides understanding, soothing and support. Often, that’s the part that can show up for other people, but not for you.
Which of these is in the drivers seat?
Chances are, it’s the critic.
We all need a little bit of an inner critic to make sure we make good choices. Ideally, that critic should stay in the backseat - or better yet, the trunk!
How does this relate to food issues?
When the critic is at the wheel, it isn’t pretty. And for many people, the critic strikes exactly when they need the most support.
That leads to using food for comfort or distraction. And then the critic is there to judge you (“How could you have eaten that?” or “You failed!”), and the cycle continues.
If you speak to yourself in a critical way, you feel bad. And if you don’t soothe and support yourself, you’re likely to use food for comfort or distraction.
Where is the supporter in all of this? Probably mute.
Here’s what to do:
Step One: Recognize who’s driving
Does your internal critic remind you of anyone you know? Who spoke to you (or to others) in that manner? Where did you learn to relate to yourself that way?
Is that mean voice really “you” or does it belong to someone else? A parent, sibling, or teacher, perhaps.
Identify the source of that internal critic. And, tell it to shush. It no longer has permission to drive you crazy. Banish it to the backseat.
Step Two: Be a friend to yourself
How do you express support for others? Chances are, you are caring, understanding, helpful and friendly.
What if you spoke that way to yourself? Try it! You’ll see a difference.
Talk to yourself as if you were someone you love. Be nice to yourself. You will feel better, and when you feel supported by yourself, you are way less likely to eat.
When you are driven by a wish to be supportive and understanding to yourself, as well as to others, you will stop using food to cope.
And that’s how you make peace with food!