As a food addict myself, I understand the knee-jerk reaction to reach for food when what you really need is to feed your soul. It’s when you use food to feed yourself in any way other than to satisfy a nutritional requirement that you go from “eating” food to “using” food. “Using” food can quickly become “abusing” food.
I had a conversation with a client that prompted me to focus this blog post on the importance of indulgence as you learn to control compulsive urges around food, and teach yourself to eat for nutrition rather than comfort.
One thing I know for sure is that we all want and need to indulge. After a long day of work or taking care of the needs of others, we feel like we deserve it. When stress levels are heightened or we face mounting problems, the desire to indulge is magnified.
Since what is happening in our external world is out of our control and stress and anxiety are going to be a part of our lives forever, my advice to my clients is the same advice I follow myself—indulge more to lose fat.
A big shift in my life occurred when I decided that I deserve to indulge, and rather than do so with self-destructive behaviors like binge-eating, I instead learned to indulge in ways that are good for my physical and mental health.
As someone who used to be an emotional eater, I’m always sensitive to my clients who struggle endlessly with this issue. It’s such a complicated matter that I could (and likely one day will) write an entire book about it. For this week, I wanted to at least make it the subject of my blog post, as it seems to be a recurring theme in my work with clients.
I recently hosted a guest on my radio show, TARA MARIE LIVE, named Jesse, age 64. He is suffering terribly and feels trapped in an endless cycle of binge eating and the self-loathing that goes with it. Consumed with despair, he feels like he’s fallen into a dark hole and can’t see the light.
For people who don’t struggle with this problem, it is impossible to explain how FOOD can CONTROL every thought, action, and desire in an otherwise normally-functioning person.
For people who do struggle, it is impossible to put into words how out-of-control they can feel around a gallon of ice cream, a package of cookies, or any other trigger food. I had a client once tell me that she would literally salivate if she walked by a vending machine.
I’m currently working with a private client whose whole life is about food—what he ate for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner; what he wanted to eat; what he should have eaten; what he will eat later, and what he misses eating (when he’s trying to be “good.”)
I remember those days well, but not fondly—when there was hardly room for fun in my life because all of my time was consumed with obsessing over food or being disgusted with myself for losing control around food. It was a horrible way to live and a terrible waste of time.
I always give my clients the same advice—it’s based on knowledge that I learned the hard way, as for years of my life I tried to solve my “food” problems by focusing on food.