Becoming a Food Anthropologist Helped End My Binge Eating

When I used to binge on peanut-butter chocolate-chunk cookies while hiding in my dark kitchen late at night, my internal dialogue afterward sounded something like this:

“I’m so disgusting. I have no self-control. My willpower sucks. I can’t be trusted to have cookies in the house. I should know better by now. Why can’t I eat like a normal person? Starting tomorrow, no more sugar; I'm addicted!”

These voices in my head were anything but helpful, especially since I would find myself back in the same place doing the same thing again just a few days later.

Unable to take this torturous binge-repent-repeat cycle anymore, I reached out for help. A very wise teacher taught me that I had a choice: I could either ban the cookies or ban the voices.

Since I loved the cookies and hated the voices, the decision was pretty easy—even though it seemed like an impossible feat considering how ingrained in my brain the voices were.

A Powerful Ally Voice
Making peace with food and your body requires silencing the voices in your head that are constantly critiquing, criticizing and condemning your eating.

Replacing these disempowering, unhelpful voices with empowering, supportive voices is key for reclaiming the Intuitive Eater within you.

One of the ally voices identified in Intuitive Eating that my clients and I really gravitate toward is the Food Anthropologist.

The Food Anthropologist is a neutral observer of your thoughts and actions.

It doesn’t make any judgments or emotionally react. Instead, it witnesses what’s going on from a place of pure objectivity.

Unlike your internal Food Police that dictate if you’re good or bad based on what or how you ate, the Food Anthropologist simply states the facts. It sounds like this:

  • I ate six cookies at 10:30 p.m. and experienced stomach pain and feelings of guilt, regret and shame.

  • I skipped lunch, which led to strong sugar cravings at 3 p.m.

  • My eating felt out of control with all the different food options at the party.

  • The uncomfortable pressure in my stomach indicated I was full, yet I continued eating. I was angry at myself for overeating.

  • When I felt anxious yesterday, I ate a pint of ice cream while watching TV.

Distant Perspective, Deeper Connection
The Food Anthropologist voice gives you much-needed distant perspective. Yet, it also helps you stay in touch with your physical and psychological cues by eliminating all the noise that typically disrupts this connection and clouds your thinking.

When coupled with curiosity, the Food Anthropologist helps you expand your self-awareness and empowers you to better understand and release beliefs and behaviors that are no longer serving you.

Not a Lack of Willpower
When I became an objective observer of my binge-repent-repeat cycle, I was able to see clearly what was driving my cookie binges. It didn’t have anything to do with a lack of discipline or willpower, a character flaw or a sugar addiction.

Instead, I discovered my binge eating was driven by multiple factors including a restrictive diet, rigid food rules, a false persona, perfectionism and a pleasure deficiency. By addressing the root causes of my behavior and amplifying my ally voices, my binge eating eventually stopped.

If the loudest voice in your head is a critical one, it can take time to shift to a neutral, nonjudgmental voice like the Food Anthropologist. If you would like help identifying and strengthening your ally voices, give me a shout.

Are You Holding Out On Yourself?

Naturally, we all want to be loved unconditionally.

Yet, so many of us love ourselves conditionally. It sounds something like…

“I will love myself when I lose 20 pounds.”

“I will love myself when I stop binging on sugar.”

“I will love myself when I have a flatter belly.”

Why do we withhold love from ourselves until we change?

Perhaps, like many, you believe you’re not worthy of love in your current state, or that by hating on yourself, you’ll be more motivated to change. Or maybe you think that accepting yourself means giving up on yourself. 

The great paradox is that you can love and accept yourself just as you are, yet still want to change. The difference—and this is a big difference—is that you’re acting from a place of love, not loathing.

Change fueled by unconditional self-love and acceptance is a far more empowering, energizing and enduring approach. And it's way more enjoyable.  

Self-loathing and rejection will never ever lead to greater self-love and genuine, lasting change. Nor will it lead to the peace, freedom, ease and happiness you long for.

Your journey informs your destination.

You have the power to decide. The choice is yours.

May you choose love.

Feeding My Soul In Myanmar

I just returned from traveling around Myanmar for a few weeks.

I love exploring Southeast Asia for many reasons, from its picturesque landscapes, rich culture, and ancient temples and monasteries, to its sublime spiritualty, sacred rituals and kind, peaceful people. And, of course, I love all its vibrant and exotic food. 

The interesting thing is—when I’m on a travel adventure like my recent trip, I rarely think about food.

The act of travel feeds my soul on such a deep level that eating often becomes an afterthought. This also happens when I’m immersed in other pleasurable pursuits, such as hiking along the coast, reading a captivating book, stretching on my yoga mat or losing myself in a creative project.

Lack of Soul Food
When you don't regularly engage in soul-satisfying endeavors—whether it’s traveling, singing, dancing, drawing, gardening, volunteering or communing with Mother Nature—your life can become pleasure deficient.

As a result, you can become over-reliant on food to fulfill your inherent desire and need for pleasure. Of course, food should be a tremendous source of pleasure. Problems can arise, however, when it becomes your only source of pleasure.

If you struggle with cravings, overeating or binge eating, consider if your life is lacking "soul food." Jot down a list of everything that feeds your soul and gives you genuine pleasure, then reflect on how frequently you engage with each item listed. If rarely, consider what needs to change so you’re experiencing more pleasure in your daily life.

Although there are many reasons for cravings, overeating and binge eating, once you start nourishing your soul with more pleasurable pursuits—the things that make you feel truly alive, energized and free—it’s quite likely you’ll rely less on food to enrich your life. This has been true for me and for many of my clients. It certainly can be for you, too.

If you’d like more help connecting the dots when it comes to your relationship with food, I invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation call with me.