What does it mean to fall off track/get back on track? Have we put so much fear into food that if we have a cheeseburger and fries or a milkshake or macaroni and cheese that we are bad humans and we made a mistake and need to get back on track first thing tomorrow morning?
Why is eating something followed with either a pat on the back or a look of disapproval?
Why do we put these labels on food?
What makes you bad or good for eating certain things?
I want to dig into this topic a little more. This idea around “back on track” and the feelings we associate and assign to different foods. Why do we as humans do that? What is it about food that we are so afraid of?
Does this line sound familiar: “oh well I ate some cookies so I might as well eat bad the rest of the day and get back on track tomorrow?” (I am raising my hand over here)
What were to happen if eating the 2 cookies just meant that you had 2 cookies? What if it didn’t mean you were bad or wrong or should punish yourself by over exercising, or not eating the next day, or letting yourself completely throw in the towel and eat the entire box?
What if they were just two cookies and that's it? No meaning attached. What would that feel like?
Or maybe the bigger question is “what are we so afraid of if we eat those cookies?”
What are we running from? Have we been using “back on track” to save ourselves from the deep fear driving our behaviors and feelings around food?
What if we started addressing that fear rather than putting the blame on the cookies?
Throughout my years of recovery I have learned there was a lot of fear behind what I ate and why. But I have also learned that there was more around the fear than the food itself.
Deep down, I was desperately afraid of two things:
Being out of control
BUT the more curious I got I realized it was never really about those two things. It was never about the cookies or the exercise or the size of my pants. It was about me putting all of my worth into a specific size. It was about me thinking that if I reached x weight I would be good enough. It was about the worthiness and good enoughness and approval I was putting into what it meant to have a “perfect diet” and that if I had a food that did not fall into that category than I was the opposite of all of those things.
When I decided to eat the entire box of cookies, past the point of being full, it was about the spite, the deprivation, and the satisfaction of letting my body have what I said I couldn't have. It was out of the fear of “never having this again because I was going to be good from now on.”
It was about the fear of never reaching my goals. Of wanting everything in my life to be perfect. Of wanting to be sure everyone liked me and that everyone thought I was happy... That I had my shit together. It was out of fear of not wanting anyone to know the internal struggle. Because if I wasn’t a certain size it meant that I didn’t have together.
I’ve started questioning why we are so fixated on the weight loss and the diet/fitness industries. Why we are so attached to following these people that tell us how our bodies should be and what we should be feeding them and how we should be moving them.
Maybe we have this deep internal desire to be loved, to be accepted, to be approved of that we think we need to reach the size that society has deemed “worthy.”
But when I took some time to step away from my obsession with weight loss, with perfection, with people pleasing, I was finally able to discover MY version of what happiness and approval and worthiness meant. The moment I was able to take a step back and discover what it was that I was actually afraid of… to realize I could decide these things for myself… was the moment I was able to find inner peace. It was the moment I realized my size, my diet, my exercise, my body did NOT define my worthiness, or good enoughness, OR MY HAPPINESS. It was about digging deep and going inward and discovering what food and exercise worked for MY body.
Food is not about will power or mind over matter.
Food is just simply giving your body the fuel it needs to run for the day.
So maybe it is deeper than the food. Maybe the cookies are not bad and the kale good. Maybe it takes getting curious about the fears we have around food and the feelings/behaviors we attach to it.