Self Medicating Our Souls

Of course we eat certain foods as a delicious treat to reward ourselves, but it is also common knowledge that we eat these same foods as a medication to soothe our mental well being. We encounter stress at work, and we temper it with a couple doughnuts brought in by a coworker.  Our ornery kids not only drive us crazy, they also drive us to the pantry for something to nibble on in the moment, maybe a few cookies can take your mind off the chaos of little ones screaming about the house.  After a long stressful day, it is oh so easy to sit down in front of our televisions while eating an entire pint of our favorite ice cream to reward ourselves for getting through another tough day. The problem though, soothing our souls through food is the equivalent of placing a Band-Aid on an axe wound. It does not work in the long run and we are often worse off when we do not change our ways. It is fact, many of us who have, or have had weight problems, also have emotional issues that run deep. Reaching for junk foods to ease our troubled minds can be just as harmful as burying our pain in drugs or alcohol. It is a fact, people often eat themselves to death over the course of several years.

Self Esteem

For many people, being overweight is a result of self esteem issues. As odd as it may sound to some, there are indeed people who suffer from weight issues who feel as if they do not deserve to be thin. We know this through personal experience, interaction with clients, and through research and study of good people on weight loss programs. Many people, men and women, lack the self esteem required to control their weight. Women are known to also place the needs of others over their own needs, especially the needs of their spouse, their children and grandchildren.

Self esteem often comes from two forces; when we overcome obstacles and when we accomplish goals. When it comes to weight management, think of what happens to your mind when you cannot overcome the obstacle of an open package of cookies, or when you cannot accomplish your goal of reaching a certain weight in an arbitrary amount of time that you have set for yourself. These “failures” often result in a rapid lowering of our self esteem. Many people will often project that they no longer care, but deep inside, they are still horribly troubled individuals no matter how they appear on the outside. This is why we believe in keeping life as simple as possible and lay out a program that is not full of strict standards except for excluding sugar and simple carbs from your lifestyle. People often fail at diet and exercise regimens simply because they can get too caught up in minutiae that is really not helpful to living a healthy life. There can be too many rules to follow, which quite often only leads to failure at the program which keeps people in a constant state of yoyo dieting coupled with a never increasing drop in self esteem each time they fail at some convoluted diet.

There is no doubt in my mind, this all sounds familiar to many of your reading this. Of all the actions in life we take, eating is one we should be able to control, but it is obvious from the obesity epidemic that controlled eating is quickly becoming a thing of the past. We have a problem in that food brings us a temporary sense of joy, but this temporary fix is about like fixing the leaking foundation of your home with spackling compound. It looks good in the moment, but the first time it rains, the water will soon find its way to trickle back though the crack in your foundations wall. Could this be a part of a cycle for you?

Do you long for something deeper in life?

When you cannot find it, do you eat in order to feel better?

Do you feel lousy when you gain weight?

Do you feel that you do not deserve to be at a healthy weight because you can’t keep weight off?

Has your self esteem ever suffered from not overcoming obstacles or accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself?

And then you self medicated with food…

People use food as a cover up for their emotions, they can be terrified at the  thought of actually getting to a healthy weight. It is one of the reasons we have seen people do exceptionally well at losing weight, only to regain it when they have become close to reaching their goals. It is a simple fact that being fat gives people an excuse to fail, an excuse to be depressed, and an excuse to chow down on a large chunk of cake where no one can see what they are doing. I know this from personal experience, when I left my military career, I felt as if I had lost my identity. This coupled with my PTSD is how I found myself more than once sitting on my kitchen floor eating canned frosting from a can with a spoon. I have been there my friends, I write from not only my Nutritional Consultant certification, but from living the life of one who has self medicated with food. This cycle can be kicked when you set your mind to that of being sick and tired of being sick and tired of how you are living out your days. You need to drop this psychological baggage off at your local landfill, it is unnecessary weight that only serves to further pull you down. When you understand that you may use food as a painkiller as a solution to your daily problems, it becomes easier to actually fix your life with this knowledge.

To fix any problem, you must first actually understand it.

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