Many of the issues we have around food began in our childhoods. Old family rules around food and eating can appear in our lives long after we have left home. They are unconsciously programmed deep into our subconscious. They show up during times of stress or when we are distracted. As a result, we find ourselves repeating old behaviors around food that we have struggled with our entire lives, or we find ourselves repeating old behaviors that we thought we had dispensed with long ago.
What were the rules around eating in your childhood? Was it important that you finish your entire plate? Many of us came from households that had very specific rituals and rules around eating and dining. Some of these rules were helpful like washing your hands before eating. Others were not, like requiring all the food to be eaten on your plate. Whatever the case, we carry with us those early lessons around eating.
It would be helpful for you to take a few moments and write down all the different rules around eating that you experienced growing up in your family. Make a note of those that were helpful and those that were not.
Now, take an inventory of those unhelpful behaviors that you continue to practice today. More likely than not, you do those behaviors unconsciously and may have never thought to question them. Behaviors such as finishing everything on your plate before eating any desert or if you take a piece of cake you must eat the entire piece and not just the frosting part that you like.
I’m now asking you to question those old beliefs and learned behaviors. Make a list of the one’s that are not helpful. Were your parents over weight? If so, what were their beliefs about their weight? Did they hold negative feelings towards themselves? Did they hold negative feelings towards people of average size? Do any of those old beliefs affect you today? Take an inventory and write these and others you come up with down on paper.
Write down an action plan to address each one. Then, imagine what it would be like if you no longer did those counter productive behavior around your eating experience. Also write down what it would be like if you no longer thought those negative thoughts around eating.