• on July 2, 2017

Why attending to your food thoughts is only half the story

By Emily Holden

At IEWIN, we are often working with our food thoughts. The thoughts that drive us to eat through habit, compulsion or overwhelm.
We practise holding space for these thoughts. Allowing them to be, choosing to eat or not eat. Making our way through, messily and imperfectly, but onward we go all the same.

The food thoughts are just one side of the coin. For every binge thought, there is a restriction thought.

The thought that says…

I won’t eat dinner

I’ll go on a juice fast

I’ll have nothing but salad tomorrow

Or any variation on the theme.

Working on your restriction thoughts IS JUST AS IMPORTANT as working on your food thoughts. They are one and the same. Two sides of a coin.

We may have held onto our restriction thoughts because we felt they kept us safe. Safe from further overeating, safe from putting on more weight, safe from our compulsive urges.

Wrong.

Thoughts of restriction keep us trapped in the cycle. Thoughts of restriction cannot possibly align us with our natural eater.

Our natural eater lives in the now. All she knows is how her belly feels NOW. She can’t know if she’ll want salad tomorrow. She’s not there yet.

As we observe both our food thoughts and our restrictive thoughts, we have a choice to entertain them or not. We can’t help our thoughts arising – we exist in a consumerist culture that promotes and benefits from this way of thinking – but we can choose how far we let them roll.

The restriction thought can start as a flicker…

I won’t eat tomorrow.

And then we fan the flames…

But I’m seeing my friend so maybe I’ll have to explain to her why I’m not eating…

And then we keep that fire burning…

So maybe I’ll tell her XYZ / I’ll cancel / I’ll just have something small / I’ll go for a run instead…

Blah blah blah blah blah ad infinitum.

Wherever we are in the loop, all we need is presence if we want to get out.

I saw this quotation the other day, from an unknown author:

What I allow is what will continue.

Ouch.

Yes my darlings, there’s more work to be done. If you’re only working on your food thoughts, you’ll keep falling down the hole my dear one. Hold space for those restrictive thoughts too. If you want to meet your natural eater, anchor yourself to the now.

Now, I am eating.

Now, I am not eating.

Now, I am feeling my belly.

Now, I am not feeling my belly.

Now, I am listening to her wisdom.

Now, I am not listening to her wisdom.

It’s a game of ratios. Day by day, moment to moment, we align ourselves through tiny acts of presence. We may still disappear down the rabbit hole for days on end. But we start to emerge more quickly and easily than before. Our belly calls us home more loudly and clearly. We listen to her more of the time.

I’m with you, gentle eater. I’m holding space for these thoughts too. I know it’s not easy. Come and get some support, if you can.

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