One of the biggest trends and buzz words that I’ve seen in the dieting world in the past couple years is the concept of “clean eating”. Now… everyone seems to have their own conception of it and I’m not sure there’s a clear definition of it. But BASICALLY it’s taking food down to NON-processed, natural, healthy, whole food. Getting away from the JUNK, the ARTIFICIAL and the vitamin LEACHING, over processed, chemical-laced, nutrient-stripped and “hidden ingredient” added GARBAGE. And going clean and lean.
It’s a pretty good concept and there’s tons of info out there on it regarding food and how to do it.
Now, there’s several types of hunger out there. Physical hunger, head hunger and EMOTIONAL hunger.
The physical hunger we feed with real food. When we feed our physical hunger with good, clean, wholesome food in amounts that our bodies REQUIRE (as opposed to crave), we can see positive results with our bodies. We see pounds reducing, muscles toning and strengthening, illnesses minimizing, minds thinking clearer.
Head hunger is a little trickier. I’m not going to go into this much because this deserves its own topic another time. But it’s when we’re not really physically hungry but we THINK we are. Such as in boredom, routines, bad habits (such as always having popcorn to watch a movie, or always eating dessert with dinner, or a commercial comes on television and we look for food).
But let’s look at something we don’t talk about often. EMOTIONAL hunger. That craving for approval or compliments. That starving we have for a better life or happiness. That nagging feeling deep inside us for the relationship or job we either don’t have or it’s not quite what we want. Money problems. Anxieties. Depression. Not being able to stick up for ourselves. Lack of self-esteem. A horrible secret we’re hiding from the world. There’s many, many causes of this insatiable hunger.
We tend to feed that emotional hunger with excessive worry, negative thoughts, sabotage. And even after we’ve gone back for seconds and thirds at the buffet of beating ourselves up, we put ourselves in situations, conversations and relationships that reinforce this negative behavior at times. We stockpile a catalog of insults, past memories of pain, and reels and reels of mental video that we play over and over when we want to feel kicked. We engage people that we know are going to upset us and we allow them to make us feel less than worthy.
Why on earth do we do this? We all have our issues. I found it comes down to this…
Even if you’re following the greatest diet in the world for your food on a daily basis – you gotta clean out that mind pantry of the mental junk food! That’s how I look at it.
It’s those over-processed memories of insults that we play over and over. It’s the artificial intentions and reading into how people look at us, talk to us, their tone, etc. It’s how we double-dip ourselves into bad relationships that we KNOW are bad, but it’s SOMEONE and it’s SOME attention. It’s the nutrient-stripped situations we purposely put ourselves into that put us in a bad frame of mind that “make” us….
You know how it happens. Let’s look at the most recent events. Christmas. For some people, it can be one of the most stressful holidays. Oh, trust me, there’s some people I don’t even want to look at on Christmas let alone any other calendar day. But on Christmas, everyone plays nice. You’re the jerk if you don’t. So you have to put on the smile. Then there’s the relative who verbally pokes at you or insults you. You hold it in. You smile. You’re asked why you’re still single. Or why you’re not pregnant yet. Or where’s your unemployed spouse and why do you think they can’t find a job? Or what about that kid of yours in rehab, how did that happen? You smile, you repress it. You hold it together. Then you go home and you’re dislodging your jaw in front of the refrigerator and pouring the contents down your throat. You’re sobbing because you can’t stop eating. And why are you eating non-stop? I’m not even sure why I do it when I binge.
When I binge on crunchy food during stressful times, I sometimes think it’s because I want to drown out those horrible insults I’m hearing over and over inside my head. But you know what…your mind will play them longer than you can eat. I’ve eaten myself to the point of vomiting, while sobbing and unable to stop. All because I allowed someone to upset me.
Yes…I ALLOWED them to upset me. We ALLOW others’ drama and stress to affect us. Drama is contagious. Nothing says lovin’ like freaking out. It’s how we show people we care. Or at least that’s how they perceive it at times. I have seen it whether it’s co-workers, family or friends and they’re engaging me in debate. Their voices are going higher and louder and the emotions are escalating. If I’m keeping my cool, I’ve had it screamed at me, “You don’t even care or you’d be as upset as I am.” Well, I learned a long time ago that nothing good comes from anger or being upset.
Let’s clean out the mental pantry.
FIRST – Throw away all the negative self-talk and name calling that you do to yourself. It’s junk food for your esteem, pure and simple.
SECOND – Stop purposely throwing yourself into situations where people are going to upset you. On holidays, I visit those houses where I HAVE to, for a short amount of time. It doesn’t have to be hours on end. Just enough to say I visited and it’s done. And then I don’t dwell on the negativity that did transpire. Stick up for yourself. Learn to SAY NO. Give yourself permission to be nice to YOURSELF. Make YOURSELF a priority.
THIRD - Journaling – when we come out of the “high” or “drunkenness” of a emotional binge, step back. Start a journal entry with “I ate today because…” and just start writing. Get it out. Write until you just can’t write anymore and don’t correct your grammar. Just let the heart pour out. SEE it on paper. You think it’s easy? Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. When it’s particularly painful, it can be hard to write those words out. It’s admitting those core things that upset us and seeing those words on paper such as “I really hate my spouse when they…” or “I just wish I’d never wake up so I could get away from all this”. Just because we don’t SAY these things out loud in the “real world” doesn’t mean we’re not thinking them. And our THOUGHTS feed our EMOTIONS and manifest in how we treat our bodies. Journaling cleans out the emotional pantry. It’s those rancid thoughts that have been left to sit on the shelf and go bad past their expiration. Journaling throws these thoughts into a sort of trashcan. You don’t have to go back and read it later. You can burn it, like I know some people do. Or just put it away. It doesn’t even have to be a fancy journal. Even your computer or a scrap of a tablet.
FOURTH – Start looking in the mirror and talking to yourself with positive self-talk. YES, it feels silly and YES it works!
FIFTH – Keep in mind that not everyone is going to like you. Everyone has a free will and has their own opinions. It doesn’t mean they are right or wrong but they are different. It’s what makes this world diverse and wonderful. If everyone was the same…it’d be rather boring, don’t you think? Accept that some people just won’t like you and they will try to make you feel bad. Don’t matter.
SIXTH – No matter what, be your own best friend. Treat yourself in the same way that you would treat your BFF. Be nice. Compliment yourself. Pep talk yourself. (Again, look in the mirror) Be in your corner. Don’t do things to impress others so much as YOURSELF. Don’t diet to make someone ELSE proud…do it to make YOURSELF proud!
SEVENTH – Fill your mental pantry with the beautiful memories of everything. No matter how bad a situation is, there’s ALWAYS something good that came as a result. Focus on the positives, or the humor of a situation. Believe me, I can find humor in almost ANYTHING and I’ve had a LOT of stuff happen to me! Stockpile the nice words and compliments that are given to you along the way.
Stop living in the past memories of pain with the long overdue expiration dates. They’re DONE. Today is worth living NOW.
Stop dwelling in the OMG of a situation and live in the WOW of now.
When you get to the core of WHY you binge or starve, I have found that it’s so much easier to stay on your program, lose your weight and stay at your goal weight. Attack the core issues of your eating! It’s like operating on the tumor that’s giving you a headache instead of just taking aspirin all the time to take away the pain.
That’s my pep talk today… go clean out those pantries and start tomorrow anew!