How many times have you talked yourself off the healthy eating path with the phrase, “I deserve it?”
- I deserve that piece of cake (that turns into five by the end of the weekend) because it’s my birthday.
- I deserve to eat five pieces of pizza on Friday because this week has been so stressful and crazy and I don’t want to have to think about dinner.
- I deserve to eat _______ because I WANT it! I am so sick and tired of not getting what I want in life, so if I want something to eat, I am going to eat it!
- I deserve my Starbuck treat at 2:00 every day because I need a break from the stress of work and annoying people.
- I deserve the second and third glass of wine because my girlfriends are doing it so I should be able to do it too. I just want to let loose and have a little fun.
- I deserve to eat two or three cookies a day because I work out hard at the gym. What’s the point of working out if I can’t indulge a little?
- I deserve to order the burger and fries because I ate a salad for lunch.
So you deserve it. But what do you REALLY deserve? The “I deserve it” statement is a deception that many of us fall into. The food is the choice, but with every choice there is a consequence. And as we will soon see, it’s not really about the food.
Beyond the choice to eat the food or skip the workout or overindulge in alcohol are the consequences that come along with it. The consequences are what we don’t want to look at. The consequences are not what we would say to ourselves that we “deserve”. But ladies, welcome to planet earth and reality: our choices cannot be separated from consequences.
Here are what the above statements are really saying from this perspective of consequences.
- I deserve to feel like a truck hit me tomorrow morning and to struggle with sugar cravings for the next week that will leave me feeling out of control and like a crazy person because I choose to eat the five pieces of cake over the weekend.
- I deserve to be on the toilet all night crapping my brains out and feeling bloated and gassy because I choose to eat five pieces of pizza.
- I deserve to gain weight, struggle with my self-confidence and not fully go after what I want in life because I choose to eat whatever I want.
- I deserve to not sleep well and feel tired but wired because I choose to drink coffee in the middle of the afternoon to check out for a few moments during the day.
- I deserve to get buzzed, gossip more than I should, risk a DUI to drive home and wake up the next day with a hangover that lasts into the next evening because I choose to drink wine in order to let loose and have some fun.
- I deserve to remain frustrated that I work out hard but am not making any progress in my weight release because I choose to eat 2-3 cookies every night.
- I deserve to feel like I have a brick in my stomach and feel guilty and fat because I choose to eat the greasy burger and fries.
There is always something deeper than the food. ALWAYS. Whether we choose healthy or not-so-healthy, there are beliefs driving every decision we make. As I work with my clients, I lovingly support them in uncovering what these beliefs are that are driving decisions that seem to be about food but tend to reach deeper into our self-worth and identity.
Here are some examples that may resonate with you and your current struggles. These illustrate how our deepest beliefs and identity get played out in our relationship with food:
If you believe you need to be in control of your life, it may reflect in choosing to eat whatever you want, because no one is going to tell YOU what to do. But if you are honest and look beyond the food, you are really out-of-control because food chooses you. Do you know how I know food chooses you? Because you can’t stop at one cookie. You can’t stop at one piece of pizza. You can’t stop at one glass of wine. So really, you are not in control, but rather out-of-control. It’s deception.
If you believe you are not good enough, then you may eat food that makes you feel good momentarily, but the results (consequences) will produce a more unhealthy and unattractive body that makes you feel even more worthless and undeserving of love or anything good in life. It’s deception.
If you believe you are destined to be alone, you will use food as your comfort and companion and isolate yourself with a tub of ice cream while binge watching Netflix so you can avoid going out to social gatherings or just being around people in general. So, the food perpetuates this cycle of isolation by being a holding place for human affection. As you gain weight and feel more and more tired and unhealthy, it only enhances your feelings of loneliness and your desire to withdrawal. It’s deception.
If you believe being healthy is selfish or a sign of conceit because of the time and energy you think it requires, you will sacrifice for everyone around you (martyrdom) and make food decisions out of the path of least resistance. You will even block yourself from getting results in your weight (if you try to lose weight), because of this deep-seeded belief that losing weight and getting healthy means you are self-absorbed. As a matter of fact, if you look in the mirror and notice results - this can actually trigger you to go on a binge and overindulge so you sabotage the results. It’s deception.
Okay, one more.
If you believe your body has failed you in some way (perhaps because of a diagnosis or lack of a diagnosis of unexplained symptoms) then you will struggle to make consistent healthy decisions because deep down you believe that 1) it won’t work anyways because your body is broke or 2) it doesn’t matter what you do, your body is going to fail you again. What do we do when we don’t trust someone? How do we treat them? With love, care, compassion? Not typically. So if you don’t trust your body, your food and lifestyle choices will be detached, skeptical and judgemental. It’s deception.
Whew. That’s a lot. You may or may not see yourself in these scenarios, but most likely there is a false belief operating in you (probably many) that is beyond the decision to eat or not eat this or that. While each person’s journey is unique (because we are all individuals), what you struggle with is not a new struggle - it also plagues many other women. Find comfort in that and compassion for yourself. You are not alone.
So what do we do?
We take our power back. We challenge the beliefs that have kept us deceived for so many years. We dig deep instead of searching outside of ourselves for something to “fix us”. We acknowledge that it was a process to get where we are and it will be a process to get somewhere new. We stop holding stuff in and start letting people in who will speak truth and walk alongside us in our healing. We release the hurt, unforgiveness and lies so we can release the emotional and physical weight attached to it.
We surrender to something bigger than ourselves. To the God who created us for a purpose that is bigger than our issues with food and our discontent with our weight. We explore the deeper meaning to life so we don’t continue to look for the meaning of life in things that will never satisfy the real hunger of our souls. God is always willing and available, are you?
So, next time you say, “I deserve this”, I want you to remove the food or drink or unhealthy behavior you think you deserve and replace it with the inevitable result and ask yourself, “do I deserve that?” and answer honestly. What do you REALLY believe you deserve?
Some of you don’t believe you deserve health, wholeness, freedom, joy and peace. Be honest. Is that you? Then I would like for you to reach out and schedule a free coaching session with me. Don’t walk through life torturing yourself by saying you “want” something, but deep down not feeling you “deserve” it. That is torture because those two things will never meet in the middle - ever. You will live an entire lifetime waiting for the impossible. So, let’s chat. CLICK HERE to schedule. I cannot wait to connect with you.