I Can't Stop Eating, and Other Unhelpful Thoughts
Updated: Jul 26, 2018
"Every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts."
I found that quote once and reposted it on my Instagram feed. I'm not sure who actually said it first, if anyone, but I love it. What we think matters, and not just to us- it matters to our mind, our body, our spirit, our friends, family, coworkers, to the world.
When I was struggling with binge eating I would ask myself questions like 'Why can't I stop?', 'Why do I need food so much?', 'Why can't I control myself?'. I wonder now what would have happened if I had been more discerning about the thoughts and questions I focused on. What if I had asked different questions instead? Ones like 'How can I stop?', 'Where can I find support to stop?', 'What do I really need?'.
By default, we usually believe the thoughts that pop up in our heads. We take them as truth and we listen to them. No one told us not to- we weren't told as kids that we get to choose what we want to believe and we didn't learn thought management in school. We've just never known. Except now, lots of people will tell you not to. Byron Katie says "Don't believe everything you think."
Listening in and noticing what we think is the first step to having any sort of impact on our thoughts. If we were able to choose thoughts that actively served our goals or supported us to not follow ingrained habits, or created space for us mentally before we reacted in the way we always do, then we'd be actively moving toward showing up in the way we want to. So noticing what we're starting with is vital, as it develops new patterns of awareness and interest in our thoughts.
With this practice, I recently realized that I'm more of a pessimist by thought habit. I usually look far ahead at reasons for why an idea may not be great, or scrutinize all aspects of the idea and find potential discomfort or challenges I may face if I said yes. I've been noticing this recently, and because I know this thought pattern limits my experiences, which ends up limiting the amount of joy and thrill in my life, I've started saying yes to step one, and not bothering with thinking every other step through. I know if I can move through step one, step two will unfold naturally and I'll be able to navigate each step as needed.
Whatever your struggle is, whether it's truly thinking that you can't stop binge eating, or noticing that you always think the food you want will be fun when really it's not, or whether you're like me and more likely to say no than to say yes for new situations, what you think matters. Start tuning in to notice what you think. Ask yourself if there is another way of thinking about it, if the thought you're repeating is even true, if there's a useful question you could pose or if there's a more empowering way to think about what's in front of you or how you respond.
What you think matters, and when you can accept that one single thought as a start, then you too will be on the road to noticing how your thoughts currently impact your life and how you have the power to change them.
Thought work is a big component of making peace with food. Noticing what you believe about yourself around food and food itself is an important part of moving beyond limiting thoughts and beliefs. If you're interested in talking about this more, I invite you to book a free discovery call. You can do that here.