Remember eating boiled eggs with soldiers when you weren’t feeling very well? Or sitting round the campfire eating toasted marshmallows that were burning hot and oozing down the stick? Or tucking into delicious barbequed food on a hot summers day?…………We have all sorts of memories and their associated feelings; attached to the things we eat.
Probably most of us can remember some happy times spent eating and drinking with family and friends. Sometimes though, because we want to feel those good feelings again, we gravitate towards those same foods, expecting the same experience, only to find that we have other feelings instead, perhaps the ones that aren’t so good, like sadness, loneliness, emptiness or guilt, and no amount of chocolate, or any other substance, can give us those feelings that we long for.
I believe that the key to feeling good about ourselves is to look beneath the food and acknowledge what the feelings were before reaching for yet another vol au vent. Ask yourself ‘what am I feeling? Self-conscious perhaps? Uncomfortable? Separate? When you can recognise and acknowledge your feelings you have some power. Ask yourself “What am I needing right now?” Maybe it’s a need to ‘connect’. If it is, you could simply go and say Hello to someone (scary I know!). If you don’t like what’s going on inside your head or your body, the sensible thing is to STOP focusing on it. Instead, turn your attention to something else, or someone else. We attract what we think about, so if you don’t want more of the same, think differently. Thinking differently takes practice.
Instead of turning to food, another way to change your emotional state is to remember a time when you felt ‘connected’ and tune in to those feelings. Your unconscious is an expert at travelling back in time. You already know that because it replays things over and over and over again doesn’t it? (Usually the things that you don’t want to think about), and it loves to follow instructions, so when you ask your unconscious to take you back to a time when you felt ‘connected’ that’s exactly what it will do. Once you have a memory in your minds eye, you can see it as a vivid picture or a film. Then make the colours in the picture really bright. Notice any sounds in the picture, then start to feel your feelings. As you feel those feelings of connectedness you can turn them right up so that you experience the benefit of them in the present moment. Once ‘connected’ your outer reality will be much more appealing!
Music too, is a great tool for changing your mood. Most of us have particular pieces of music that we enjoy. Some music induces feelings of relaxation when we listen to it, other songs may make us feel energised or playful or confident. Choosing a piece of music to inspire you can be particularly useful, before an interview.
When I work with individuals or groups I ask people not to look at ‘what’ they eat but ‘why’ they eat, and I use Emotional Freedom Technique and hypnosis to transform peoples eating patterns and behaviours. This enables my clients to develop a new healthy relationship with food. As they start to enjoy eating ‘consciously’ and taking care of their body, sometimes for the first time, they can find that any unnecessary weight they may be carrying, disappears, and they start to feel really good about themselves. They also begin to find new ways of doing things. Once their needs are satisfied, they can begin to really celebrate being who they are and eat what they want, when they want.
One of my clients realised that the reason they didn’t want to give up chocolate was because of their childhood memories. Their father used to give them chocolate occasionally and that was the only time they really felt loved by him. Is it any wonder the participant didn’t want to stop eating it! Actually no one was asking them to! But the important thing here is to look for the needs that are under the food craving. The need to be loved and appreciated is important. Eating chocolate, or anything else for that matter, is fine, just don’t expect it to satisfy you emotionally ‘cos you may well be disappointed and disappointment may lead to even more overeating.
Also, often if you tell yourself you ‘shouldn’t ‘ have something, guess what? You really, really want it. It can become all consuming. “I really shouldn’t be eating wheat it makes me feel terrible, but I can’t help myself”, or “Whenever I watch a programme about the dangers of smoking, I smoke even more!” What you think and say about yourself creates your reality, so whatever you choose to do, focus on the stuff you do want, after all, the person that says “I can eat whatever I like and I never put on weight” is right!