Depending on what study you read, 95-98% of all people lose weight on a weight loss diet plan, gain it back within one year. That’s a lot of people trying and failing!
The first thing I did when I changed my life was to change my diet. In short, I shifted from processed “foods” to whole foods. And because my mindset had shifted when I implemented these changes, I started to see significant results.
But the problem was that I was still obsessing over food.
I realized that there was more going on when I found myself binging on healthy foods. A lot. To the point that I often felt sick, bloated and gross. And the next day I always felt uber guilty.
I knew that something was missing. I had made so many changes to my diet and was on the right path but I knew that if I wanted to stay on that path, I needed to dig deep.
So what about the other 2 – 5% that actually managed to keep the weight off? How did they do it? The common denominator is that they all had a significant life change. They switched careers, fell in love, moved to a new city, broke off an unhealthy relationship, etc.
In other words, they healed their relationship to food by digging deep. They did something much bigger within themselves than just trying to just eat healthy foods or follow a diet plan.
I suspect one of the biggest things they did was stop trying to control or suppress their cravings… but face them head on.
When we binge, overeat or feel a strong compulsion to eat something “bad” – what we’re really cravings is ourselves.
Let me explain:
What We Resist, Persists.
The moment you try to free yourself from your cravings, you create resistance against them.
How many times have you tried to force yourself to stop eating all carbs for a period of time? And then end up miserable at home because you avoid going out with your friends so you don’t have to deal with the temptation?
And think about when you were a child and a parent told you, “no”. You instantly felt a strong pull to do whatever it is they told you not to do, right? And then you probably got reprimanded.
What happens when we resist, is that the urge becomes even stronger (and stronger and stronger!) until we end up giving into the temptation and are left feeling guilty and ashamed. Ultimately, giving in got us nowhere. In the end, we just feel lost, lonely and unsatisfied.
The reason is because our craving can’t give us what we truly desire – to be fully connected and have peace with ourselves.
Forcing ourselves to resist something is only going to make us want it more. And then backfire on us in the end.
We Punish Ourselves.
I used to think that if I indulged, I’d have to get on the elliptical or run on the treadmill the next day to make up for it. Only I hated any type of cardio between gym walls.
So I’d give in to my craving for ice cream and punish myself with cardio at my gym.
All it did was make me hate it with a passion… and did nothing to keep me from giving into my craving for ice cream.
And then I’d be so mad at myself giving in, my lack of self-discipline (or so I thought that’s what it was) turned into self-disgust, shame and guilt.
Little did I know that the guilt I felt the next created more toxins in my body than the actual food! And believe it or not, the built-up tension caused by resisting a craving is equally toxic.
We Believe We Need To Be Someone Else.
You know those voices stuck in your head, the ones that tell you that you’re “too fat” or “too skinny”, “too stupid” or “too dorky”, “too ugly” or “too slow”.
The ones that say you’re not smart enough/good enough/strong enough/pretty enough.
They’re there because we believe that we need to be different than we are to be ok. We think that we’re not good enough and can’t start enjoying ourselves until we’re skinny, have perfect skin, a successful career and a passionate romance.
Unfortunately, these voices are loud, so we listen. We end up feeling sorry for ourselves. And then we end up caving to our immediate desire (like ice cream or shopping sprees)… and filled with guilt.
If we try to cast out or get rid of these voices, they just end up stuck on replay inside our heads.
They’re a result of cultural society telling us we need to look a certain way from every angle possible… TV, magazines, books, advertisements, you name it.
Cultural society, coupled with high expectations for ourselves and self-judgment has kept us from believing our true voice that’s been suppressed deep inside and is trying to claw its way out to let us know that we’re perfect just the way we are.
But if we stop and listen to the voices – instead of believing what they’re saying– we’re one step closer to breaking the cycle of wrestling our cravings and giving into them.
Sure, I still have cravings. But they pull and the drive isn’t overwhelming or overbearing like it used to be. It’s more like a fleeting thought in the back of my mind.
A powerful exercise you can do to overcome cravings and stop next day guilt is to practice gratitude. Read more here and to download your free Gratitude Diary workbook.