I wrote this email to a client when she was struggling with her new food guidelines. We decided to remove some of her favorite go-to foods because they were causing inflammation in her body and keeping her from dropping the weight she badly wanted to lose.
She mentioned how helpful it was for her to hear this message at that moment, and I’m sharing it with you just in case this is exactly what you need to hear…
You are not doing anything wrong. What's coming up to the surface without food as a bandage are the true feelings that haven't been registering (or have been dulled) by the use of food as comfort.
I’ve been where you are, and I totally understand what you are going through. You are not crazy, you are not failing, you are just beginning to see with clarity all the ways in which your life needs to change in order for you to feel truly happy and at peace. For you to have a loving and respectful relationship with food, and to be truly loving and in love with your body.
There are two vital components to living a truly meaningful life:
Accomplishment (growth, creation, production, achievement) allows us to feel like we are contributing to the greater good. We are growing, stretching our capacity, and this gives us true purpose.
Fulfillment (spiritual growth, inner work, nature, connection, self-exploration, meditation, contemplation) helps us understand why our life is unfolding as it is, and it provides us with a sense of surrender, peace of mind, and a deeper connection to everything in and around us.
You really do need both.
Having one without the other leaves someone feeling like something is missing. You can achieve notoriety and financial freedom to buy whatever you want, but you will still feel empty and depressed if you don’t focus on fulfillment (think about celebrities, their children or owners of large corporations). #freebritneyspears
On the other hand, you can move to an island and do a deep exploration of yourself, but without purpose for the greater good, you will feel a sense of loss and lack of contribution.
These components of a healthy and happy life are out of balance for you. This is why food is taking on so much more power than you ever intended it to have.
I promise you that if you commit wholeheartedly to the process (and I'm not talking about eating perfectly, but rather committing to the growth, the exploration of yourself, the search for your life's purpose) that I can help you not only lose the weight permanently, but your entire life will change. This will come with lots of blood, sweat, many tears, and a ton of "failure" along the way.
All I'm asking is that you continue to show up for yourself every day and trust that your plate is truly a reflection of your inner state.
Please be easy on yourself. Get a good night's rest and reset tomorrow. If you need to go to the store and buy some chocolate popsicles so you have dessert every night, please do that. If you need to eat a snack right before bed, please do that as well. Buy some gluten-free crackers, or perhaps some gluten free bread, so you can make half of sandwich. Find the middle ground so you don't fall off the deep end.
Adjust your expectations in order to relieve some chaos, just don’t press the “off” button.
There is no failure. There simply isn't.
You’re learning where you are in contrast to where you want to be, and contrast is the only thing that creates a true desire for change. There is always chaos before change!
Read this letter over and over again. When you feel the desire to eat, come back to this, my friend. Take deep breaths. Ask yourself, what are you truly hungry for? What do you need at this moment? If it's the comfort, how can you get that in a different way?
If you are going to eat something crappy, slow down. Ask yourself if it's doing for you what you thought it would when you had the craving.
Don’t get distracted by the food, focus on where you are with accomplishment and fulfillment. What needs to be balanced here? What is the small next action?
Stay the course. Each moment you can decide to reset. No self-judgment, just self-inquiry. It's the only way to heal.
P.S. Because I like to look at pretty things, I made this into a beautiful little love note to yourself. Print this out and hang it as a reminder of your deeper work. Stick it in your journal, or next to your bed, or even on your fridge. Remember, you can reset with each thought just like you can reset with each bite.