When you got dumped, did you hear, “It’s not you; it’s me”? It’s a pretty annoying sentence, right? And did you believe it wasn’t you but the other person’s fault?
Instead, I bet, you thought, “If I were better looking, better in bed, a better cook, or just about anything better, he’d still be here. It’s me and my fault. Saying it’s him, is such bullshit! He’s just trying to be nice.”
The “It’s not you; it’s me” is frustrating because it steals your control. Think about it, if it’s your fault and you could’ve salvaged the relationship, you’d feel more in control.
The bottom line is, the control allows you to avoid facing the fear of the unknown. Control helps you believe you can direct the outcome, and therefore, there are no unknowns – i.e., no scary, unpredictable shit.
Alright Melissa, what the hell’s your point??!
Hang on… I’m getting there!!
Control MASSIVELY applies to dieting, healthy eating, etc.. We want desperately to control our food which is why we go on food plans – they create control illusions and falsely eliminate the unknown.
Unknowns such as, “How much weight will I gain? What size will I be? Will my husband love me? Will my co-workers respect me? Will I end up riding around Walmart in a scooter because I can’t walk anymore? Will I be around to see my grandchildren?”
Fear of gaining weight, being unhealthy, and not fitting into your skinny jeans drives you to diet, meal plan, and attempt to eat healthily. And this keeps you signing up for failure (90%+ of the time). And even though you’re nearly guaranteed failure, you still sign up for it. And not only do you sign up for it, but you also pay big money.
Doesn’t this seem odd to you? Why do we do this? It’s because we fear the unknown – and we fear more than anything that we would be like if we gained weight. We fear not having control of ourselves, our food, and our weight.
It makes perfect sense that we’d want control because the implications behind not controlling food are significant. The diet, the meal plan, the “I’m trying to eat healthily” (i.e., your favorite phrase to describe your control of food) all give you that cozy, comfortable feeling of “I’m in control.”
But then what happens? You diet – high on life because IT’S WORKING!. But then…someone brings brownies to work. Your husband suggests pizza for dinner. Your friends invite you out for wine. You sit in a work meeting and eat half the dessert tray. Before you know it, you’ve not only ate the brownie at the office, but you’ve gone out with our girlfriends and had two bottles of wine and on the ride home, snagged McDonald’s because what the hell, you’ve already shit the bed with your diet.
And of course, you beat the crap out of yourself for doing the unthinkable; BEING. OUT. OF. CONTROL. You wake up, hung over. Thinking oh my god, what did I do yesterday. Why in the world can I not just stick to a diet? Why can’t I just be healthy? I want to. But I can’t. I have no control. Why can’t I just control myself?
Why do you think all this happens? What’s the essence of trying so damn hard to control and find yourself unable to do so?
The bottom line is – there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not you; it’s the diet. It’s restriction of food that sets you off.
Think about it. We humans, for whatever reason, want what we can’t have (I’m sure there’s some psychological reasoning). And our brain is hardwired to go after what it’s told to stay away from. Your mind will fight you on the freedom to make it’s own damn choices all day long.
It starts with childhood. There’s a toy in the corner with an inch of dust on it. One child goes to pick it up – and ALLLLL of a sudden the entire daycare wants it.
We want what we can’t have. And we use diets to help control our urges against things we “can’t” have and yet, it seems to do the exact opposite.
You want to diet. You want to be healthy. You want to lose weight. You all around want to get your shit together. For you, for your family, for everyone! But every day is like a battlefield in your head as to how to control it all and not lose your shit around food and gain 20, 30, 40, 50+ pounds.
So, what’s the answer then? Shall we all keep plugging away? Going up, then down, then up, then down. The roller coaster? The yo-yoing. The, “I have a size 2 to a size 14” in my closet nonsense?
The answer to this madness my friends; allowance. Not restriction.
Think I’m crazy? Think about it this way – the definition of insanity is doing the same over and over again expecting different results.
Isn’t that what we’re all doing? The same thing over and over again with mainly the same result and in some cases, a worse outcome?
Is it fair to think maybe there’s a different answer than dieting or struggling your whole life to be thinner? Smaller? Controlling yourself around food till you feel like a crazy person because you just can’t, and you don’t understand why you can’t?
I knoooowwww what people say; “Ya right, if I ate what I wanted and didn’t restrict, I’d gain tons of weight.”
Well then, let me ask you this. How is your diet working for you? How’s restriction going? Has restriction made you feel happy? Does it make you relaxed or anxious around food?
What if …..non-restriction allowed you to maintain your weight and be healthy?
What if…….you could DITCH the constant struggle once and for all and kick dieting to the curb.
In other words, what if you got rid of that nonstop, all-consuming internal chatter about food, diets, and exercise?
Want to give it a try? Want to give letting go of control and making food, not off limits? Allow food to be something that nourishes your body and isn’t’ seen as the enemy?
Here’s what you can do today.
CALL TO ACTION: Allow yourself to eat at least one forbidden food this week and let me know how it makes you feel.
And by the way, I know what you’re thinking, “Melissa, if I did that all I’d do is eat twinkies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
Dude, no you wouldn’t. There’s no other way I can put this to you. Eventually, you’ll want a damn steak. And if you don’t think you would, then try it. Try eating twinkies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner day in and day out. Something tells me, after a few days, if you saw another twinkie you’d vomit. AND, your body would let you know to stop. It would give you signals. You would start to crave salt or something else that would signal to stop doing what you’re doing. Your body is amazing. It gives a ton of feedback that’s helpful if you let it and listen to it.
We are collectively downplaying our abilities as human beings when we sign up to a diet plan. Our body is a full-blown messaging system to our brain and vice versa. It’s our ally, not our enemy. There’s no reason it can’t also handle regulating our weight naturally.
So again, here’s what I want you to do TODAY. Pick one thing where you say, “I can’t eat that.” Or, “That’s bad for me, and I shouldn’t eat it. Or, I shouldn’t even want it.” Pick something that you feel guilty eating. Then, let that one thing be in allowance whenever you want. See how it feels.
BIG THING TO NOTE…this is the essential message so, PAY ATTENTION! An allowance isn’t just eating the shit out of that twinkie box and then feel guilty about it later. Don’t sit in your car when nobody’s looking and scarf it down. That’s not permitting, that’s binging. There’s a difference. Allowance means, “I can have that twinkie whenever I want. There doesn’t need to be a special occasion. I don’t need permission. I don’t need to grab my child’s leftover twinkie.” You can just have it, whenever you want and not feel guilty. There are grocery stores on nearly every corner. Trust me; you can have a twinkie whenever you damn well, please. You can choose to have a twinkie, whenever your heart desires.
Again, think of one food you’ve been denying yourself and let me know how it feels to allow it. And an extra tip – when you eat that “bad” girl food, ENJOY it. Enjoy it before, during, and after. Take note of how it tastes. How do you feel afterward? Is it the yummiest thing you’ve ever had ever? Sit down. Don’t rush it. Don’t do it in guilt. Don’t hide the wrapper. Don’t hide in your car. Eat the damn thing and move on with your life and know you can have it whenever you darn well, please.
And P.S. – if you feel guilty afterward, you’re not allowing it. And P.S.S. – if you let yourself have something, you’re not going to gain 10000 pounds and die. Chill out!
Leave a comment and me know how this goes!