Overcoming Food Struggles
We made it! We got into our new home before Christmas! We even got a Christmas tree up and it all just felt so right! I'm still unsure where 2019 went to be honest...are you ready for 2020? I'm excited for another year of Chasing Freedom and I know that we can all benefit from a final little boost to drive us into the new year one step ahead of the game!
The question I put to you as 2019 comes to a close is: what is your biggest struggle with food? Whatever it is, I'm almost certain I've addressed it below - read on, Sis.
What I am sharing with you today has come from a lot of conversations during December, mostly through sisters popping up in my DMs on Instagram. I often talk with girls about their biggest struggles with food. Chasing Freedom started with my food and body image struggles and that's where it's flourished since. It's why the topic is so close to my heart. While I know exactly what I struggled with in the past, I'm always keen to hear what other people struggle with the most too, so that we can ALL head in the same direction.
So, when I ask girls what their biggest struggle with food is, here's what I get most often...
Sweet Tooth And Sugar Cravings
I get this one ALL. THE. TIME. If your sweet tooth is holding you back from your goals, here's what I have to say:
1. Stop fighting your sweet tooth.
You don't need more rules to break. Am I right? You need to stop resisting sugar like it's the enemy. Sugar is good. It tastes delicious. When we make it an enemy, we feel the need to wake up every day and fight it because we have convinced ourselves that sugar is bad. And that is so exhausting. I challenge you to shift into a new way of viewing sugar and sweets...Give yourself unconditional permission to eat sugar. I know this sounds unconventional and counter-intuitive, especially coming from a health coach, but here's an example to help this make sense...
Most of us have unconditional permission to run whenever we want, but how much do we actually run? Here's the thing: the reason why we don't run every day is because we aren't fighting it. We don't wake up every day thinking "running is holding me back from my health goals", but with sugar, we have convinced ourselves that it is SO bad and we end up creating a stronger desire for it than is really necessary. We give it WAY more attention than it deserves. When we can realize that sugar is not the enemy and it's our mindset that's the issue, that's when we can start to overcome it.
When you give yourself unconditional permission to eat sugar whenever you want, you can start to treat it like the unconditional permission to run - it's a release from fighting it. It's so confusing for your mind when you tell yourself it's this bad thing, but you also know it tastes really good. These conflicting thoughts create resistance and give sugar more power over your life. And that's the part that's not good for you. We have so many other sins in our lives that need our fight and energy. I guarantee you, things will start to change in your life when you do this.
2. Stop stressing about sugar while you're eating it.
If you're stressing about sugar, WHILE eating sugar, then you're creating a whole new problem. When you're by yourself and you go to the gas station and end up grabbing that candy bar, and then you're in your car stressing about how you shouldn't have bought that candy bar while you're eating it, your body is going to produce cortisol and stress hormones that have a huge negative impact on your body. So it becomes a double whammy; sugar AND stress.
If you sit back and just enjoy something sugary, then the experience is going to be completely different than you inviting stress into an already stressful situation for your body. Stress impacts our bodies in so many ways; it creates obesity and disease. Stress on stress on stress is one of THE most unhealthy things for us! So as much as what we are eating is important, handling our stress and releasing the fight is also SUPER important!
3. Your sweet tooth isn't holding you back, your mindset is.
This isn't a blame thing. At all. We are bombarded with all the 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts' around food...back off Satan! Your spiritual foundation is what will anchor you into your food freedom journey. If you follow people or businesses that are pushing dieting terms/culture, I would recommend you do a little consumption cleanse (what information are you allowing yourself to see on a daily basis and is it serving you?) to give your brain space to replace those things with other, more beneficial things. You need to stop consuming the constant rules and number games - these people and campaigns are trying to convince you that their way is the only way to truly be healthy, and that is just NOT true.
What About Emotional Eating?
Yeah, let's talk about that...it's a hot topic at the moment, for sure! I want to address it from 3 perspectives: before (prevention), after (grace), and surrender.
Before - how to prevent yourself from emotionally eating
This may shock you, but it could also well change the game for your health when you let these things sink in. Let me just start by saying emotional eating is normal. It is very normal that food is a coping tool that you choose to use. This is because food actually sparks an emotion itself. When you eat something delicious, does it not make you feel that deliciousness in your body? Removing all emotion from food is not a realistic goal...Who already feels better about this issue with me having said that!? Accepting emotional eating was normal helped me create healthy shifts in my food freedom journey.
Here's the hack: think of 1 thing that takes you less than 1 minute that you can do first; before you eat. When you start to feel some emotion arise and you think about reaching for some food, what is 1 thing you can do in under 1 minute, first? When you feel the 'I-want-to-eat-to-cope' feelings start, just do that 1 thing first and then go eat, or don't. It creates a pause in between, and there is such power in the pause.
My 1 thing in under 1 minute is a massively, I mean awkwardly huge, deep breath. It just does something for me. And then I just pray for surrender; "God, if this is not good, if I am solving a problem in the wrong way, or to cope with an emotion in a way that you have not called me to, then I completely surrender this to you in this moment". And just that alone has SO many times, lead me in different directions. BUT it does take time. Your 1 thing in under 1 minute may not help you succeed every time. What you will notice over time is that even if 1 out of every 5 times you would normally emotionally eat, you don't because of that 1 thing under 1 minute, that is massive, MASSIVE progress. You'll start to recognize that and feel it and it will start to happen more and more often.
After - give yourself grace after you have emotionally eaten
The other thing here is for when you do emotionally eat and what you can do after. When we are trying to heal from something, it doesn't mean that we wake up the next day and never emotionally eat again. It's a process; it takes time. We sometimes slip up, but over time, we have a little more victory until we have complete victory over this thing.
When you do emotionally eat, your first reaction is probably anger and frustration...thoughts like "why did I do that I again...I said I would stop...I am so gross", and so on. And that changes absolutely nothing. So what you can do instead is to ask yourself "do I feel better and did I get what I was needing?" After you answer that for yourself, don't dwell; move on. Dwelling doesn't fix the action you just took, it just holds you back more. Once you can answer this, you'll come to a point of more self-awareness rather than judgment.
Surrender - sometimes you just need to let it happen
If you do your 1 tool in under 1 minute and you still want to eat that thing, let it happen. It's just like with the sweet tooth; the resistance and the stress we are adding into emotional eating is heightening the issue so much more. When you can let it happen, you learn a lot because you're not so overwhelmed by the stress that you have on top of the emotional eating.
This has changed the way that I cope entirely. Instead of using the energy I have to fight it, and then beat myself up over it, I started to learn lessons and hear from my body for the first time, and guess what? Emotional eating does not have me wrapped around its finger anymore. When you choose to let it happen, you are becoming more aware and more in control which means that your energy is where it should be and then because of that, maybe you don't eat as much, or you stop earlier, or knowing that having that food in your house is really not the smartest thing for you - sometimes it's about creating good boundaries in your life when you're trying to find food freedom.
FEAR. Fear Of...
When I talk with people about food freedom, I always hear: "fear of [insert reason here]". Fear of letting go of the money, fear of failing, fear of success and then not being able to maintain the positive changes. I could go on about this topic. I have fought with fear a lot in my life, and for the most part, I have overcome it, but my deep, deep fears still exist.
I was afraid of spending big chunks of money at a time for the fear that I wouldn't get my monies worth, or I wouldn't earn it back, or I wouldn't succeed in what I invested my money in and it would feel like a big waste. That was all until I did...in 1 swipe, I spent $6,000 which was literally all the money I had in my savings. And here we are 2.5 years later and I could sit and talk to you for hours about what letting go of that money did for my life.
Here's what I know about investing rather than trying to get the same results the 'cheap' way, or on your own: it's just not the same. It's just not. When we invest, our commitment looks a whole lot different. For example, in 2019, I had 1:1 clients who were steady, committed and super invested. They paid $1,500 for 12 weeks of my high-level health coaching. They were all in, super focussed, confident and excited. At the same time, I had a couple hundred women paying $19 per month for my sisterhood mentorship (less than $5 per week). While they were given loads of value, far past what they paid for, their commitment looked a lot different and therefore so did their transformations. My 1:1 clients had insane transformations. Deep lifestyle transformations that led them in a whole new direction in life - to start businesses, to end toxic relationships, to just feeling more free than they ever had in their bodies. And then with the monthly membership, they didn't have anything close to a these big, deep transformations because their level of commitment was so much less. They weren't as invested with their time and energy.
So yeah, spending money can be scary and we have to be smart about how we spend it, but when you let go with abundance, confidence, and trust, I guarantee you that you will surprise yourself. If you believe in WHO and WHAT you are investing in, choosing to invest in your health or your business is so wise (this is my story!). I know a lot of you have been really thinking about the Freedom Method Mentorship, because I have been talking to a bunch of girls about it in the DMs. If money is the 1 thing really holding you back, I hope this message speaks to you and helps with your money mindset. Sometimes you just have to let go, completely trust, get invested and see what you're really capable of.
As you prepare for 2020, my prayer for the entire Chasing Freedom community is that we make 2020 the year we actually put our spiritual health first - doing this will radically change our lives in so many ways. I pray that we can all live like God is number one in our lives instead of all these career and body goals taking the front seat. Our spiritual health is the container for everything else, so let's make it a priority. When our spiritual health is strong, everything else is lifted up and we can handle this world when it shakes us because we are rooted deep in our faith.
If you need more support with your food freedom journey, then remember, that is EXACTLY why I created the Freedom Method Mentorship. Registration is closing SOON - it's the only way to work with me in 2020 for health coaching. I only have a handful of spots because the 6-month (starting 6 Jan 2020) walk together is super high touch. Let me join you on your walk of faith, and experience massive transformation and find true freedom in your body and mind - for more information or to register, click here. If you have any questions, shoot me a DM on Instagram or email me email@example.com.
If you liked this post, check out episode 78 of my podcast - The Chasing Freedom Show. You can find it on Spotify, iTunes, or SoundCloud. If you love the episode, screenshot and share it with me on social media @trainertanner #chasingfreedom.