Not too long ago, I was really ashamed of my body. Health wise, I didn’t feel good, largely because I had an unhealthy relationship with food. I don’t know about you, but I have mild, mild OCD tendencies. So for instance, I have to read my emails the same way, from oldest to newest, bottom to top, no exceptions. When it came to food, I was that girl who had to finish every single fry on her plate. Even when the fries weren’t particularly good, leaving a fry on the plate seemed sacrilege; I couldn’t do it. It made me feel weird.
This wasn’t healthy. It made me feel uncomfortably full and bloated, but I clung onto this habit. Why? It was all emotional. In the moment of consumption I was gratifying the need to create order/control – in this case – over my plate of food. And then I would feel bad about it later and cyclically feel completely out of control.
How many of you are on this hamster wheel?
It doesn’t have to be about food or health or weight. But as humans, we sometimes engage in behaviors that we know aren’t good for us. Why? Because those behaviors are satisfying a need they have no business attempting to satisfy.
Transitioning out of these negative cycles can be slow. It takes self-reflection, inner work, and sometimes even help from a professional. But if you want to live a happier, healthier, more fruitful life, the work is necessary.
Let’s go back to my story because I think it will help illustrate some tips you might be able to use in your life.
To fix my weight and body image problems, I fixed my emotional problems.
I could never lose weight by saying, “I want to lose weight.” I could never keep up a healthy lifestyle by going on diets. I could never keep off excess fat by exercising. It wasn’t until I completely reshifted my focus that I found success. As I mentioned earlier, my issue with food wasn’t about weight at all.
I felt incredibly stressed in my career. I worked a high-pressure job in an environment where coworkers projected their own unhappiness on others. So I started exercising every morning before work – initially to keep from TKOing the people I worked with LOL.
But then the endorphins I would get from these early morning kickboxing sessions did something unexpected. They started acting as a shield. Negativity at work was suddenly being deflected by my better mood and ability to create order in my personal life.
Gradually, my mental health improved, which started having a positive impact on my relationship with food. Honestly, I just started listening to my body as opposed to what experts said I should do. I stopped paying attention to how many meals I should have in a day and just ate when I was hungry and stopped when I wasn’t. Now, this can be really hard to do when you haven’t done the inner work, but I have some tips to help you get on this path.
For example, I knew eating every single fry on my plate pointed to an emotional issue that needed healing. When you do things that aren’t in your best interest, take note. Your goal is to figure out the reason.
Why do you want to improve? Be careful of the first answer that pops into your head because that’s usually the socially acceptable one and not your truth. Is this issue preventing you from being your ideal self? Having your ideal career? Is it seriously impacting your relationships? Your why has to deeply resonate. Just as I couldn’t lose weight by just saying I wanted to lose weight, you really have to figure out WHY this self-improvent is CRITICAL to your life. I realized that I was desperately trying to create order in my life and to relieve stress. This became my WHY and it resonated so deeply that I would continue with my workout program day after day.
This is key. Whatever you put into action has to feel RIGHT. If it feels bad, or worse, if it makes you feel INDIFFERENT – then that might not be the solution for you. Now as humans, we can be resistant to change. But really try to figure out the root of your resistance. If you have any sort of kindling of an interest, I say go for it. Sure, kickboxing was hard the first few days, but something about it kept me coming back. I wanted to improve and I really enjoyed the music on the DVD lol. If day after day, you find yourself getting more and more interested, then you’ve found a good solution for you! Nevertheless, if you’re still indifferent, or if it gives you a bad feeling, there’s another solution out there just waiting for you to utilize it in your self-transformation. You just have to realize you’re worth it. Please realize you’re worth it.
So this Independence Day, promise me you’ll liberate yourself from at least one shackle of thought that’s holding you back. Because at the end of the day, that’s all these challenges are: thoughts. And trust me, you have the power to change them and revolutionize your life.