Food Challenge #FAIL (or is it?)
I'm so annoyed with myself right now.
I'm sure this is something you have experienced yourself many times. You start a new healthy eating program, a slip up happens, and you beat yourself up.
Yesterday was my birthday, it was also the day I decided I was going to start The #paleovegan project. Honestly, I didn't feel like pigging out on shit. Everything went amazingly, until the end of the day.
I had just got back from yoga, and my partner was at my house to spend the evening with me. He had bought a big block of chocolate and a pack of sticky buns. I was looking forward to the healthy dinner I had planned in my head, but after a guilt trip from my man. I caved.
You see, he's been raised to believe...
... Food = Love
And moreso, that comfort food = love. So he shows up to my house, always, with shit food. I've been telling him for more than a year now, not to do it. But I don't think he hears me. In his mind, food = love, so what have I got to complain about.
Now, when I reject the food. It's like I'm rejecting his love. And even though I know better, I still give in. My guilt button is being triggered. I'm being triggered to say yes, so he doesn't feel butthurt. It doesn't matter how strong I am, or how much willpower exists - this strong emotional pull keeps winning.
Having worked with thousands of clients over the past 10 years, I know this is actually a common thing. So let's see if we can all get clear on it now.
Food does NOT equal love. Food is food. Period. Some food makes us feel good, and some makes us feel bad. If you are someone who keeps plying your partner with shit food, I have a question for you. How on earth are you showing them love and respect. Shit food is poison. High sugar, trans fats, artificial ingredients.
Rubbish & Poison. There's no love in that.
Are you on the receiving end of shit food? Do you want to eat it, or are you just accepting it because you have the guilts like I did?
Well, I tried to seriously talk it out with my partner... it went down like a cup of cold sick. But I stood my ground, and said don't bring me any more shit food. And now, I need to let go of those guilty feelings I have about hurting his feelings. He's a grown up, it's not my job to manage his feelings for him. Yes, he is hurt that I don't want him bringing me crap food. I'm sad he feels this way. I'm sad he feels that my care for my body is something for him to get hurt over.
So, ladies. If you are going to stand your ground. You need to stand it, firmly state your wishes. Don't nag or bitch, just state your wishes firmly. Make it very clear, this is how it is. Give your reasons why - and then, let him deal with his own emotion around it. If he's doing it to show love, talk to him about what showing love to you really looks like. Maybe its hugs... maybe it's a date night to the movies once a week.
... Allow him a chance to express his love in a healthier way.
Now, he will lapse though. He will bring the crap food again, and he will have some sort of a legitimate reason why. It's up to you to re-state your wishes, and don't accept the food. Yes, he will be hurt. Tough shit. If he's not going to listen to your wishes, he'll have to listen to his own hurt feelings instead. Until he gets the message.
But why is this all so important to me? Why can't I just chill?
Well, I had Binge Eating Disorder for 26 years. And although I don't ORGANISE binges any more, I am still an addict. Just like an alcoholic. If it is in the house, or if it is given to me surrounded by "permission" (eg, I did it because I love you), I simply don't have the willpower. I'm not ashamed to admit it. Unless you have actually been an addict, you will have no idea. An addict is an addict for life. We simply manage ourselves effectively.
In fact, willpower is a thing that we run out of. Go and read the psychology of it, its fascinating. I used up all my willpower a long long time ago.
Anyway, I ate the goddam buns and chocolate and felt like shit. I woke up this morning feeling like crap. So I'm using this feeling to re-affirm what is true and right for me. I love eating healthy, I have no problem with it. It makes all areas of my life function better.
I also like treats, and I do eat them. In fact, I have a wedding to go to this weekend - I'll be treating myself, don't you worry. I treat myself when I say so. I decide. It's my body, I'm the one who has to live in it.
So, I can see now that I am still swayed by guilt trips, as many of my clients are. It's ok. It's part of the learning and growth process we all go through.
So if you're trying to get some momentum in your healthy eating, and guilt trips keep popping up - keep practicing ok! You will not get it perfect. Keep practicing saying no, keep having conversations with your loved ones. And stay strong while they go through their own hurt emotions - you are not responsible for those. Afterall, they've been taught that food = love. It's now up to us to teach the simple truth...