Have you ever had a day where you just needed a burger and fries to fill your day with the pleasure you had been seeking? The bombardment of the day came rushing all of a sudden with cravings of a beer and some wings. Not just the beer and wings, but also the attachment to the environment and social acknowledgment for acceptance. After such a hard days work you deserve it right? As you eat and digest the food the chemicals in that food are now psychologically attached to the said stress or emotion you have been feeling and ignoring. The relief of stress when ingesting that oh so deserved meal or alcohol, or whatever vice you choose comes down to one thing. Avoidance of the feeling that has been pressuring you all day.
How does this look in real life?
This is a response system from pushing away troublesome feelings and any sadness/anxiety. We have not been taught how to deal with arguments with our spouse or a boss that feels the need to project their power to feel superior. We tend to hold things in or push the feeling aside because we have other things to worry about.
We can stay on the superficial level with this idea and talk about how the food is a distraction from the pain. The pleasure of the food is sustaining the neglect of the emotion. Anytime you find yourself against the wall or even feeling bored, you may think of food and a situation that takes your mind off of the background feelings of distress. So the comfort of a familiar bar or the pleasure of secretly eating while watching one of your favorite series is the go to. You tell yourself that "it is just the one time so what is the harm?" While knowing this is going to make you feel physically miserable and battling your ego with how the food is making you fat or you know this is not good for you. So the cycle of the mind chatter is poisoning your consciousness and spirals into talking down to yourself. So you go back to the food for comfort.
What have we created?
The one truth that has to be acknowledged is the habitual patterns that we have created are all based on our perspective and outlook to our circumstance. We have all been treated wrong or told we are not good enough or even create some false truth or idea about ourselves as a self-sabotaging mechanism. We replay this over and over creating toxic or positive reactions to stress. Most times it is toxic because we have not been taught how to face hard emotions and problems.
This is how it looks day to day. As we described above the issues is not just about the eating. It is all that environment and conditions we set to replace that feeling of being emotionally distraught. Let us take a look. The emotion stimulates a chemical reaction and the conscious is not ready to address this feeling. Now we create avoidance patterns telling ourselves that we are fine, but the reactions in our body are attached to us feeling dissatisfied. The response system will release the hormones that have now attached to chemicals from the food you ingest. This is one of the most challenging positions to be in because it is now the unseen and we are not aware of how our bodies work. Because we are not knowledgeable about the inner workings of how our emotions attached to certain ideas and chemicals we create or put into our bodies. This fits like a puzzle piece. Now the bonds are created and emotions are stimulated, this will become a series of events and circumstances. So we turn to our oh so familiar vice. Can you see the pattern?
What to do Now?
This is the part that each of us will struggle with. We first must understand that we are addicted to the chemicals we have created as a habit. Even in our food choice and cravings we have. A lot of times once the emotion stirs it will remind you to think of the food you are needing, but the body knows its not the food it is thirsting. It is the chemical that is absorbed from the part of the food it has attached to for satisfaction.
So how do we break the process? First is to know you have to change your responds system. This means you must change how you feel in response to stress. Break the pattern of feasting on the gluttonous ways of the addiction and do some deep breathing to calm your body. This will help you to stimulate a different system and chemical reaction. Changing the habit that was programmed is the only way to change the way you react.
Next, remember not to be too stubborn with yourself, allow a bit of compassion with the part of you that has a hard time with this issue. Respect that, but be stubborn enough to tell yourself "No the new me does not respond this way!" Lean more towards compassion though.
This is not going to be easy or come with grace. It will be a battle as you reprogram the system you have become addicted to. Like heroin. The addict has withdrawals as will you. The name of the game is to change your perspective and do things to fill your time as you are addressing the emotion that is being ignored. (You CAN NOT ignore emotions.) You have to find pleasure in the learning process of growing into a new you. Stimulate yourself in other ways like go for a walk or a bike ride. You can find an activity that brings you joy and join a group that is in support of that. If you don't have that type of time. Do some movement therapy. Stretch, dance, shake, scream, sing, or jump as high as you can. Anytime you think of food or that toxic habit make sure you do one of these things or breathe very deep into your belly.
One of the major techniques that can really help you is a visualization of the person you want to see yourself as. Visualize that you are doing one of the above movements while breathing. This is important for your brain because it does not know the difference between reality and the imagination. So if you can see and feel (elicit a positive emotional reaction) this new person in your heart and mind you can change the idea of who you are.
Take time to really see this new you and how good they feel. Play with it, don't force it or allow the mind to wonder. Let it create the life where you can not even see yourself reacting to this type of situation. This will help with the body releasing hormones to help stimulate a more consistent mood. It will not be over night so be patient with your progress. You also must find a great support group or network of people you trust to be vulnerable with. Being open about it allows you to let go of any shame or false believe you have made up. Remember this will not be easy so its important you take baby steps to remove yourself from this habitual response.
Keep telling yourself that you deserve to be free from this toxic reaction. You got it!
Let the process be easy,