Hey, beautiful you!
Today's blog post is very near and dear to my heart, because it's probably the MAIN concept that helped me overcome my eating disorder. Even recently, "finding enjoyment in things other than food" has become my motto when life gets hard and it's much easier to turn to food than it is to confront what I'm really craving. (More on that below.)
The one thing that's helped me navigate and make better food choices throughout the years (this means not eating too much, but not eating too little - either - because both are uncomfortable) is this:
Finding enjoyment in things other than food.
We all have an inner child that needs to be fed.
Think of your inner child as who you were when you were very young: you were creative, you spent time outside, you played, you dreamed, and nothing was ever too silly or too outrageous.
As we get older, we're taught by society to 'grow up' and 'get more serious.'
And that's exactly what causes us to lose sight of our inner child.
We stuff down our creative, free-spirited, risk-taking, non-judgmental TRUE SELF and trade our authentic desires for what we think we "should" be doing -- growing up, getting a job, taking life more seriously, etc.
Our inner child is always there... it's literally part of you... and it's waiting to be fed: literally or figuratively.
When we grow up and start taking life really seriously, we often forget how great it feels to do things we actually enjoy, like draw, paint, write, journal, color, play sports, and all the things we spent so much time doing when we were growing up.
And because we stop doing the things that we love so much, our inner child remains HUNGRY.
So what do we do to fill that void?
Even when we're not hungry. Actually, even when we're completely full but keep reaching for more chips until our hand reaches the bottom of the bag.
Because when your inner child is HUNGRY and you haven't yet explored this concept of finding enjoyment in things other than food, it's only natural you'll try to fill that void with something that numbs you out (it can be food, drugs, alcohol, sex, anything really.)
In fact, one of the main questions I ask clients I work with who struggle with this issue is, "What are you really hungry for?"
Is it connection? Creativity? Love? Acceptance?
Whatever it is... you will never be satisfied by food (unless the void is actual true hunger).
The anecdote for this is feeding our soul: finding what your inner child is truly craving and honoring and nurturing that.
I'll give you a personal example that happened quite recently.
When Mark and I moved to Texas for three months while he was attending the Fire Academy, I went there with the goal to grow my business exponentially. I enrolled in a business school and declared that THIS was the breakthrough moment for me to really show what I'm made of.
Naturally, that lent itself to hours upon hours spent on my computer. I was working harder, longer hours than I have in a really long time, growing my business to larger than it's ever been, and yet I still didn't feel fulfilled.
All of my friends were in Orlando and while I still connected with them regularly with phone calls, texts, and FaceTime dates, it wasn't the same as having girlfriends who lived close to me that I could just call up and go to coffee/dinner with. Literally, my only friend was Mark (poor Mark LOL), and my days looked something like this: wake up, work out, come home, make food, work for a few hours, do my business school work, Mark would come home, I'd make dinner, we'd go to sleep at 8 because I'd have to start all over again at 5am the next day.
So while yes, my business was thriving, SO MANY other areas of my life were being neglected.
I was CRAVING social connection so bad, but I didn't realize it at the time (hindsight is 20/20, of course)... so naturally, I found comfort in food. I worked right next to my kitchen, so I would feel the void of CONNECTION with food. Snacks on snacks on snacks. All day long. And it's not even like they were unhealthy, but it's just the point that I didn't NEED the food. It was friendship and true, meaningful connection I needed.
I was also neglecting any form of creativity. Sure, I have to be creative for my work, and writing calls for a great deal of creativity. But I wasn't feeding my inner child by PLAYING. I wasn't dancing, or drawing, or coloring, or doing anything 'fun' just for the heck of it with no meaningful goal attached to it.
Side note: I'm sure if you have a driven personality like I do, you can relate to always trying to attach meaning/purpose to everything you do (i.e. listening to podcasts not because you actually enjoy them, but because it's what you "should" do to grow yourself/your business. Or writing because it's what you "should" do for your business, as opposed to writing for your own personal enjoyment in a journal or something people will never read. Or reading a book that's related to personal development/business/spiritual growth, as opposed to getting lost in a novel that is completely unrelated to your line of work, but you just love so much that it sucks you in and you can't stop reading.) The former examples are still WORK. The latter are PLAYING (feeding your inner child) and that's where most of us goal-oriented people are missing the point.
Anyways, back to the story: I would literally just work. train. eat. sleep. repeat.
And let me tell you... it. was. exhausting.
I felt so defeated that by the end of the three months in Texas, I was 10 lb. heavier and while I wouldn't say I was "depressed" (I've struggled with depression before and this was NOTHING compared to that), I definitely wasn't living my highest path and being my most authentic self.
But I didn't realize any of this until I got to Canada and started PLAYING again.
I adopted the motto of 'finding enjoyment in things other than food' and since have found myself playing Frisbee, throwing around a football, writing more, running, and I'm even networking and exploring ways of meeting new friends here in Toronto.
Instead of numbing myself with food and snacks, I've decided to honor and nurture what my inner child is really craving, head on: CONNECTION and CREATIVITY.
Because at the end of the day, feeling full of food will never replace a deep heart-to-heart conversation with a great friend, or the excitement and accomplishment you get from a long run, or the laughs you experience when throwing around a Frisbee or football even though you suck at it.
Life is too short.
Don't numb out.
Figure out what your inner child is truly craving, and fill it will things that don't involve food.
Show up fully, and let the world experience the greatest YOU there is to offer.
Sending you all my love!
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
What's one activity you can find enjoyment in instead of turning to food? Comment below!