Healing my relationship with food was the most transformative and empowering thing I ever did – it changed all aspects of my life from my health to professional success to personal happiness.
I’d always had a love-hate relationship with food. No matter what I ate, I could never have the perfect body that I wanted. I tried dieting a little bit growing up and it was all in good spirits until one day, I found myself at the bottom of a deep dark hole. It was as if suddenly, my harmless attempts to lose weight had evolved and made me an emotional binge eater.
Not one to give in so easily, I tried different diets and willed myself to have more discipline. But it only led to a harsher diet-binge-diet cycle.
I tried to clear my house of all trigger foods but I found myself walking to the convenience store at 1 a.m. as if in a trance to buy the very pack of chips I’d tried so hard to avoid.
I desperately tried to lose weight but I only succeeded in moving up a clothes size.
It seemed to me like no matter what I tried, all my attempts backfired.
Not only did I gain more weight than before but I felt out of control, depressed and my emotions were a complete mess. I felt at a loss to make any changes in my life – clearly whatever I was doing wasn’t working and this destroyed my otherwise unshakeable confidence.
It got so bad that I finally decided to prioritize my mental health over any physical weight loss goals.
This turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
What started as a simple attempt to stop obsessing over food led me to acknowledging my fears and my dreams.
I went down the rabbit hole to figure out why weight loss and fitting into that dress was so important to me and realized that I was using my weight and body as my sole self-improvement project. I realised how I was unhappy at work despite loving the people I worked with because I wanted to follow my passion helping people get happier. Because I couldn’t follow this path, I was in a dilemma and I ate to numb all the conflicting emotions.
Today, I am following my dreams helping women overcome emotional eating and live life more fully. I am so grateful for my emotional eating experience without which I’d never have been able to make this dream a reality.
I also discovered that my biggest strengths were also my biggest weaknesses.
My type A personality and my drive to push the limits had served me so well at work but when it came to changing my health, it made me impatient to see results and critical at my lack of quick progress.
Acknowledging my weaknesses was difficult and I was afraid that letting go would mean “settling”.
Slowly, I learnt to give myself time and space to grow, to enjoy the process and be better each day rather than just chasing after a shiny goal. I learnt how I could motivate myself with love and grace instead of criticism and disapproval. I learnt to celebrate small wins instead of being disheartened at falling short.
As I made these changes, I found that I was already happy so I didn’t need to rely on food to feel better.
All of this naturally led to finding a more balanced and intuitive relationship with food.
No more was food something to be scared of, no more were there “good” and “bad” foods and no more did I want to diet and restrict myself from living life fully. I embraced food in all its glory, remembering how much I loved to eat when I was younger, how my mum’s food always made me happy and how this pure child-like enjoyment of food recharges us physically, emotionally and mentally.
I now eat all the foods I wish for (veggies and sweets included!) without feeling obsessed or afraid around food. I choose to overeat when I love something, and I don’t feel guilty at all for doing so.
I’m finally living the kind of happy relaxed life around food that I’ve always dreamed of.
My experiences helped me realize how everything in our life is linked to one another.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and nowhere else is this truer than our personal well-being. @saiag90 (Click to Tweet!)
For me, losing weight or quitting emotional binge eating was not just about food but it permeated every aspect of my life – my interactions with my family and friends, my progress in my career and my day to day happiness and satisfaction levels.
You too might have multiple worries, all symptoms of the same underlying problem.
Even if can’t see your way to happiness right now, start by accepting the emotion most at the surface instead of ignoring it. Question why you feel this way, asking yourself why again and again until you get to an answer that resonates with you deeply. Then, do something about it.
Like Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” One insight will lead to the next and so on until you have a clean line of sight to finding the joy and contentment you’ve always desired.
The only thing left is to get started. Are you ready to give it a go?
Sai Aparajitha Khanna helps ambitious women quit emotional eating so they can focus on their career and families instead of fighting food all the time. Get her three exclusive free gifts for Positively Positive readers that step-by-step guides them on their journey to quit emotional eating. You can also follow her blog at My Spoonful Of Soul for weekly tips to feel relaxed around food.
Image courtesy of Rakicevic Nenad.