Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

If you’ve ever tried to wrestle with yourself over a food choice, you might have experienced the same frustration and disappointment as I have. What I’ve discovered is that in a tug-of-war with myself, the ice cream always wins.

A useful strategy that was recommended to me was to put aside the image of ‘fighting’ or ‘doing battle’ with myself, and instead imagining that the impulse to eat actually represents a request from a younger, childhood version of myself. For example, I imagine little Jonathan saying ‘I want ice cream!’ And then I have to think about my response in a different way. If I say ‘NO!’ that won’t resolve the issue. If I say ‘Not now!’ that doesn’t give me a lot more. That small child needs more than just a dictate.

As it turns out, the most comforting thing to do for that little voice is to say ‘Hey, wait a moment, can you tell me what it is that’s bothering you?’ Sure, the voice might not be articulate, and it might keep saying ‘ice cream, ice cream, ice cream’ over and over. But if I can calm that voice down a bit, I usually discover something unexpected.

‘I’m lonely.’ ‘I feel neglected.’ ‘I’m scared.’ ‘I feel trapped.’

When I’m unable to resolve the conflict in question, its less of a surprise to me that I end up turning to that universal solution – food. Its something I’ve used my entire life as the answer to all of my problems, something I learned from the earliest age.

And while sometimes, it really IS about the ice cream, most of the time, its just me, asking for a little TLC.

Jonathan.SDP@gmail.com

5 thoughts on “That Voice

  1. stretchy says:

    What helped me a lot in losing weight, was realizing I was indeed a “grown up” and while childhood was nice, I would not want to go back.

    I realized when I looked at what I now see as Kiddie foods, that I already knew what they tatsed like, and so I stopped pouting about not being able to eat them regularly. I remember my kids when they were little, whining and getting very dramatic in front of a gum ball machine. They wanted that sugar and they were willing to get extremely theatrical just to get some. Too often I gave in –They were little kids after all–

    but I am not a kid, I am middle aged, I have plenty of fun being me, and realizing I am not missing anything was a huge help to me. Without this awakening I would have yo-yo’d back to where I started.

  2. jessica says:

    What I always have to do, on my strong days, is finally get to the point where I say, “I am making a conscious decision and effort to NOT have ice cream.” Usually that works. It is a mental battle though.

    What’s nice about this tactic, for me, is that then there are some days whne I can say “I am making the conscious decision to HAVE ice cream – because I’ve exercised a lot, I had a salad for lunch, and I have a light dinner planned.” It makes me very… well, accountable.

  3. Elizabeth F. says:

    Wow. That really gets right to the root of emotional eating! I have the feeling that most of mine probably is motivated by fear, but it generally comes out as “ice cream! ice cream! ice cream!” Perhaps taking your approach will help articulate it a little better. Of course, I was generally discouraged from articulating my needs when I WAS a child, so that too may be at the root of some of this.

  4. S. says:

    I get to that point too–the tough part is realizing that I know no other way to comfort myself at that very moment…

  5. Judy says:

    YES! Yes, yes, yes, S. You said it. Despite being very resourceful in most ways, I don’t seem to know another way to comfort myself at that very moment. Once the food idea is on the table, I almost never win the tug of war. I guess because I can’t offer up a better option right then.

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