Confessions of a Food Relationship Coach, Part 1
It started at least a month ago. Winter. Stress. And, this is the zinger … the arrival of my mom who is a sugar fiend. There are lots of cookies in my house. Lots. They’re on the counter. In the pantry. On top of the fridge. It’s the perfect storm.
I have a hard time eating only one cookie. Which means, under normal circumstances, I usually don’t eat any. I definitely don’t keep them in the house as a staple. Otherwise, I start popping them like grapes.
Eat one cookie: “Oh, that was so delicious. I have to eat just one more.”
Eat the second cookie: “Yeah, that was good, and two really is enough.”
Eat the third cookie: “Oh boy, how many are left?”
And then, for many people … remorse, shame, guilt.
Does this resonate for you in some form or fashion? Maybe it’s nuts or bread or blueberries. It doesn’t matter which food it is, it’s the “can’t stop” that takes over.
But here’s the thing: It’s really not about the cookies. That’s actually a pretty easy fix.
The elephant in the room is the remorse, shame and guilt.
It might be a little nagging voice that says, “Why did I do that? I’m so bad. I know I shouldn’t do that. I suck.” Pass the cookies, please.
I let go of this long ago, and I can tell you that it is remorse, guilt and shame that keeps most people from making lasting change. The reality is that remorse, guilt and shame is what drives our patterns around food.
You see, down deep inside there resides self-talk that originates from childhood — a message that you received loud and clear that became your truth.
It could have been an adult who said, “You always give up, you need to have commitment,” a friend who said “Well, if you looked like Kelly, Brian would like you too,” a teacher, who said, “ You’re really smart, you need to try harder,” or even advertising (hello nearly every advertising image of women on Earth). You may have only heard it once, or you may have heard it over and over. But you heard it, and it stuck.
My “truth” was: “You have to be careful what you wear. Your arms look heavy.” Too heavy, too fat, not good enough. Another cookie, please.
The reality is: That was someone else’s story. And that was likely how they felt about themselves. The “truth” is, I’m perfect just the way I am. Why? Because I say so.
So, what is your self-talk telling you?
Not sure? Here’s an exercise to uncover your self-talk:
Sit with it — Find a cozy spot — it might be your favorite chair, or sitting on a dock overlooking the water, or planting yourself on a bench in your local park — and ask yourself, “What messages did I hear growing up?” They may come fast and furious (literally, you may feel angry), or they may be painstakingly (literally, it might be painful) slow. Write them down. Every one of them.
Now ask yourself, “Is it true?”
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
In an upcoming blog post I’ll reveal how to let go of those messages and create a judgement-free self.
Oh, and the easy fix about my daily cookie fiasco? It’s not about willpower. It’s about strategies. I’ll speak with my mom about all the cookies in the house. I’ll do it today.
P.S. I’d love to hear what came up for you! This post was fun to write and I’m looking forward to hearing how it resonates with you – leave a comment with your insights, personal experiences or any key takeaways. I can’t wait to continue this conversation with you.
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Sherri Phillips says
Great post that really resonates with me, Melissa. Uncovering that self-talk is tough, though! Can’t wait for your sequel post — do you send out automatic updates so that I’ll know when it goes up?
Melissa Rapoport says
Thank you so much for your note! A new post is going up soon.
Topic? 3 Steps to Letting Go of Shame, Guilt and Self-Loathing over Food
Tina Larsson says
Very interesting post and I can totally relate, not cookies, but other unhealthy choices:) Do you think that meditation would help with getting rid of “the roommates in my head?”