Going Off-Book

food-shame-spiral

Last weekend I indulged in fast food and zoo food. It was a result of poor planning and spontaneity on my part and guess what - I'm totally comfortable with it!

I've reached a place where I can eat food that doesn't offer much nutritious value without feeling guilty, ashamed, or like giving up on all future health goals.

Most clients I work with and most women I talk to are not at that place. They're stuck somewhere in the shame spiral that keeps them going back to the 'indulgent' behavior and never taking a step back to see the full picture.

So how do we get there? How do we adjust our thought processes to allow ourselves to not only indulge but enjoy the indulgence and not let it derail our entire health journey?

food-shame-spiral
food-shame-spiral

STORIES

We start by taking a hard look at the stories we're telling ourselves about health. What thoughts, feelings and emotions come up when it comes to food and exercise and mental health? Are they generally positive or negative? Do you find yourself thinking you're not "good enough" or "worthy"? Zero in on those thoughts that shape your healthy experiences. Sit with them deeply and think back ...

Where did these stories originate?

We are not born thinking that sugar is evil or belly fat is disgusting. So where did these stories come from? Usually it comes from family. Parents, grandparents, siblings. It can be as subtle as a parent enforcing the "clean plate club" or refusing to have sweets available in the house. Or it can be overt like hearing "you should really cut back on the sweets, hun!" at family gatherings.

Our stories also come from society. There are incredibly unrealistic expectations put on women, especially, to be and look and eat and move a certain way. We're all supposed to sip green juice (not super healthy, BTW - READ MORE), do acrobatic yoga on the beach, and have long blonde wavy Blake Lively hair. But that's not realistic and not doable! So how are these stories from society shaping your thoughts about health?

REFRAME

Once we can pinpoint the stories and where they came from we can then begin to unravel them and replace them with better narratives in our lives. Things like "I ate fast food because I'm a lazy bum and I'll be fat forever" can be adjusted to "I stopped at the drive thru because I didn't plan well enough today. I enjoyed my burger and fries but know I'll probably feel uncomfortable in my body. That's OK. I learned that I need to plan better. I'll pack a nutritious snack tomorrow."

The Secret Ingredient?

SELF-LOVE AND COMPASSION

Without it, we can't reframe those thoughts so that they actually stick. If we're stuck thinking of ourselves as 'disgusting' and 'unworthy' then we'll always be stuck in that shame spiral and never get to the other side where we can finally feel COMFORTABLE with our indulgences knowing that we're still worthy and still enough!

To Sum Up:

So pinpoint your stories about health,
Find where they came from,
Unravel them and replace with something new,
Filled with self-love and compassion.