When clients come to me what they normally start with is that they want to:
Stop eating when they are stressed
Stop eating when they are bored
Stop binge eating
Overcome their bulimia
Overcome their anorexia
Build a healthier relationship with food
Whilst all of these things are good to understand, they are the SURFACE ISSUES.
What I am most focused on initially is WHAT is driving these behaviours??? What is causing you to diet, restrict your food, eat when you are stressed, binge or purge?
What happens when we focus only on the surface issues?
When we are experiencing issues with food the surface issue would be found at the behaviour level- eating too much, eating when stressed, restricting certain foods, binging, over-exercising, purging…..just to name a few behaviours. Our behaviours are usually what we try and fix first in order to regain control and get back on track.
For example, we stand on the scales only to find we have put on half a stone! We burst into panic mode and immediately put ourselves on a diet, getting rid of all the ‘bad’ foods from the kitchen cupboards. Sounds easy enough to fix doesn’t it?
However fast forward 2 weeks and we find ourselves falling off the wagon on a Saturday night, giving into temptation, not being able to sustain our new and improved behaviour.
Why we must focus on the core issues first
Who you are and what you belief to be true as a result of your issues with food is what we need to work on FIRST. An entire day spent in low-self-esteem, not feeling good enough, not worthy leaves you burnt out and exhausted, in need of a release. Asking someone to overcome their bulimia, anorexia, stress eating, binge eating without addressing the core issues is simply putting a band-aid over the problem- it will still be there, just hiding for a while.
Many people worry that overcoming these core issues is long, slow or painful- nothing can be further from the truth.
If you haven’t overcome these issues YET, that says nothing about you or the capabilities you have tried.
We have been led to believe that to resolve these core issues we have to dive into the past and talk about it- unfortunately the more we relive upsetting events the more upset we become- you feed what you focus on.
Also, we been taught to analyse the problem and answer the WHY problem? Why do I suffer with low self-esteem, why do I not feel good enough? We end up with a detailed an intimate understanding and how and why we got stuck but we remain stuck!
The truth is:
These core issues are not conditions or disorders- they are beliefs, which are brain has created based on past experiences and memories. Often they are learnt unconsciously and accidently. The thing to note is beliefs are not real and with our ability to change and mould our brains (plasticity) we can form new, helpful, positive beliefs, quickly and easily. The focus is not on the past, but what you want instead (self-love, inner peace, lovable, good-enough) and taking steps to build and strengthen that new belief.
How do I discover what my core issues are?
Have a think about all the binging, overeating, food-restriction, purging etc. you are experiencing. What I want you to do is ask yourself this question:
“ If there was something you believed about yourself that is at the root of your issue, what would it be? If you can begin with I or I am?”
“Who am I now as a result of my issue?”
It took me a long time to recover from my eating disorder. I tried every trick, method, strategy in the book to change my bulimic behaviours. Structured eating, journaling, distraction, even moving and going travelling! Yes, these helped to a certain extent, 70% of the way, but I still couldn’t fully kick it into touch! It was until I discovered what was driving my eating disorder behaviours that I finally managed to beat that final 30%.
For me It came back to my core issue of “I am not good enough”.
Can you see that my answer started with I am, which means that this belief was so strong inside me that I had linked it to who I was, my identity!
This is why I stress the importance of getting right to the root of what is driving your issues and things you want to change BEFORE you even address the problem itself. Resolving these core issues first will often start a chain reaction on resolving all of the surface issues, including the food issue you are trying to resolve.
If you think your food problems are the problem then that is the problem. To get unstuck and permanently overcome your struggles with food you must shift your focus from those symptoms at the surface, to what is actually causing those behaviours to happen in the fist place! This involves turning inward and doing some deep healing work with the support and guidance of a therapist who has been in your shoes and understands the challenges you are facing.
Full freedom is possible using an approach which addresses all the layers of your struggles, not just what is found at the surface.
Need some more of the right support to help you let go? Come join my community of lovely ladies Women Living Unleashed for unlimited help and weekly live sessions helping you to start living your life in the way you want to.