By: Sarah Grace Powers – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Many years ago, when I was breastfeeding my second child, I developed a horrible skin rash on my chest. It was diagnosed as Thrush – which is unusual for a baby to pass to the mother that way, but there it was! I had red itchy bumps all over my chest area and they wouldn’t go away.
I was deep in my study of the herbal and natural health world during this time, and some of my teachers could be rather stern and unyielding with their recommendations. (I’m happy to report that many of them have eased up a bit as times have changed.)
But, back then I was told to completely eliminate all sugar, dairy, and yeast products from my diet if I expected to get rid of this rash.
I don’t know about you, but not I get pretty attached to my comfort foods.
At least I did. And, back then—although I was generally a pretty healthy eater— I was SUPER attached to my toast, my crackers and cheese, and yes, the not-so-occasional pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
I tried…. I really did. I wanted to get rid of the rash, and I felt terrible that I might somehow be passing it back and forth to my almost one-year-old baby and making her uncomfortable.
But… I was miserable! I just couldn’t sustain it.
The embarrassing culmination of my short-lived sugar, dairy and yeast-free diet came on the evening my husband came home with a pint of my favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s.
I just lost it.
“How can you do that to me??” I screamed. “You know how hard it is for me to not eat any of this stuff! It’s not fair that you bring it home and tempt me.”
I probably continued to berate him…. but what sticks in my memory is the picture of him flinging open the front door and throwing that full pint of ice cream into the night, far out into the fields beyond our house.
I was simultaneously embarrassed, devastated, and fighting a strong desire to run out there and find that carton of ice cream so I could gobble it up!
And that was the end of my attempt to stick to that diet.
I just can’t do it, I told myself.
Luckily the rash finally did resolve. It may have taken longer than it would have had I been able to stay away from sugar, yeast, etc. But it didn’t last forever.
I just wish I had understood then what I know now about emotional attachment to food.
Instead I felt horribly ashamed – weak, selfish and absolutely devoid of any will power. Oh, and of course a terrible Mom.
Freeing Yourself From the Tyranny of Food Addictions
Now, nearly three decades later, I have a much deeper understanding about how foods affect my particular body – and also why it can be so hard to follow through on my knowledge.
I’ve learned practices and tools to calm my anxiety and to fill myself up without having to resort to eating – especially when I’m not actually hungry.
As the years have passed some of those ‘addictions’ have naturally fallen away. But…some persist.
And, another effect of those passing years is that my body now will not tolerate the ‘food abuse’ I subjected it to in my teens, 20s and 30s! Now, an entire pint of ice cream would probably set me back for a week! And… it would land on my hips pretty much immediately!
If you battle with urges, cravings, or the the intense desire to continue eating foods that you suspect have a negative impact on your health or your weight, here’s a powerful tip:
Practice self compassion!
It seems counter-intuitive at first. I mean, don’t you have to be strict with yourself to stop eating those bad foods? If you get all sweet and compassionate about your out-of-control habits, you might just go nuts like a kid in the candy shop, right?
Maybe… at first.
But, I promise – if you are consistent and regular with self compassion and self forgiveness, many of those compulsions will begin to lose their urgency!
I understand now that if I could have have found a way to give myself some love and compassion on that awful “Ben & Jerry’s in the field” night, things might have gone differently.
How can you access some self-compassion today?
Sarah Grace Powers is a Holistic Life Coach and the creator of The Ageless Body Blueprint. She works with women over 40 who want to embrace ageless living and who are ready to release the weight—physical or emotional— that holds them back from achieving their dreams and making their impact in the world.
Sarah is a long-time herbalist and certified life coach with decades of experience in the natural health field. Find her at SarahGraceCoach.com, or Download her free report: Five Surprising Mistakes That Sabotage Your Weight Loss (when you’re over 45).
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