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Finding Fullness without Food - A Journey through Wounds, Worth, and Willpower

Once again. A hundred million times again, I lay surrounded by a dozen wrappers of mini candy bars that I secretly hid from my kids. What the heck am I doing?!? My whole life I have asked myself this question. Writing myself notes to “be good” on Monday, researching new behavioral approaches, new diets, new ways to feel fuller, new journals to track my progress or identify my triggers, but— still, I am in the same darn place. The darn place of searching for something always even when I am NOT hungry. Or wasn’t I? I wanted to figure it out so bad so that for once and for all I would be cured of this back and forth, all or none mentality of emotional eating chaos.

This is seriously a snapshot of so many periods of my life, unfortunately. With each passing year, I begged myself to “fix” it. To overcome it and become “normal,” but for some reason I keep sliding back to this space. It’s even worse and more shameful for me because I have been a health & fitness professional for over 10 years, helping so many others with this very same challenge; the only difference was that many of them overcame it and I have yet to. It’s almost as if I feel I deserve this space to eat whatever I want, but then WHY do I always feel so terrible inside physically and mentally once it’s happened? It wasn’t until the past 2 years or so that I finally came to terms that I wasn’t eating this way because I was hungry, but because I was trying to fill some other void within me; it was a way I had learned to cope. Cover up, avoid, or distract myself from what I really needed to do for myself. I felt unworthy and so upset with myself. It seemed like every time I would get ahead with my mindful eating habits, I would somehow find a way to sabotage myself. As stressors increased with becoming a mom, working full-time, and everything in between, a glass of wine or two became my new coping mechanism to feel “relaxed” helping me to handle things that I was struggling with. But, with this came excessive snacking once my judgement began to drift after 2 glasses of wine. And the over-exercising cycle the next morning to negate the bad habits from the evening continued. It was a roller coaster of competing poor habits driven by what I thought was lack of willpower, but soon realized that it was much, much, deeper than that— it was a combination of past wounds and the constant inner feelings of unworthiness. As a health coach, I know that behaviors are deeply rooted and take a long time to be changed, but only with consistent actions. The problem was as soon as I was consistent, I would find a way to derail. Why do we do these things to ourselves, although we know what the outcome will always be?

Soon enough I realized I continued to search for an answer to get to the bottom of why I couldn’t stop this cycle. So, just like I did with any other problem I had, I decided to enhance my knowledge, reading every book I could get my hands on, went to a therapist, read research articles, joined support groups, made pacts with friends, you name it, BUT, as I was awaiting a miraculous cure, still the same patterns of behaviors continued to repeat themselves. It was darn exhausting, especially after I knew I had the ability to help so many others and I just couldn’t seem to crack the code to helping myself. As a mom of two boys, I felt that there was even a greater pressure to fix this issue because my boys were watching and I did NOT want them to adopt the same issues that I had. Being a mom makes us work a little harder and faster to figure ourselves out for they sake of our kids, so, I thank my kids for the constant self- reflection. Daily. Hourly. Man, it’s tough. But, we get stronger. We get more in tune with ourselves, about what we want, and more importantly, how we want our kids to see us in the world.

What I have realized by piecing it all together is that I am falling prisoner to food in those moments that I don’t feel worthy or enough or when I am feeling so bad about myself and stuck in my old ways, or when I have released my will-power for the ten millionth time. These 3 things have been core pieces of my triggers for relapse almost every single time I retrace a pattern:

Past deep rooted wounds.

Self-Deprecating feelings of unworthiness.

And constant deflation of willpower.

I realize that these deep emotions have strangled my perception, continuing to redirect my focus further and further away from what I want and what I need each and every time it occurs. So, just like I would tell my clients, consistency is key when it comes to making true, sustainable changes; I needed to truly just give myself credit for my tiny steps forward and not beat myself up for the steps taken backwards or side-ways. I needed to look at it differently for once and not judge myself so harshly as we all do sometimes. I needed to tune into things that were working when I felt positive and good and consistently healthy- inside and out. And to help with this, I started making a little list of these things and keeping it where I can see it often. When it comes to making behavioral changes, there is a cue and a reward. I needed to better understand what reward I was searching for and be more diligent about changing my cues to get there.

Here is my work in progress — because there is no such thing as perfection. We are all doing what we can, how we can, and that is just amazing — no matter what! Believe me, its TRUE!

I have realized that I want to be full in other ways, not just through stuffing my face, but spiritually, intellectually, relationally, physically, socially — darn it, just HOLISTICALLY FULL. When these things are in balance, I don’t reach for the candy bars or Doritos. I engage deeper in conversations, creative ideas, a great run, whatever it may be that my body and mind gravitates to in that moment.

My Progress to Finding my Fullness —

Surrounding myself my good, positive, like-minded people.

Exercising everyday—celebrating what our bodies CAN do.

Making conscious efforts to see food as FUEL to not only for physical benefit, but EMOTIONAL.

Create a positive space daily— whether it’s my favorite music, candles I burn, essential oils, positive quotes, pictures of my favorite people! It ALL matters and helps to build your space.

Sharing knowledge with other and leaning into knowledge from others/self-development books/leaders, friends, etc.

Leave space for saying, NO. I am such a people pleaser! Ugh! I love it, but realized that it has take a toll on my psyche and can deplete me, making me susectable to my emotional eating triggers.

TRUSTING in yourself— once you identify and outline what truly makes you FULL in all the ways—- TRUST it. TRUST YOU! If you don’t it will be challenging to stay the course and keep plotting our your path to progress.

Give yourself GRACE. Think of how you would coach or support a close friend or loved one, step into those shoes when you think about yourself. Nothing ever good comes from an ALL or NONE mentality, so give yourself credit for each step you take whether it’s forward or back, or even to the darn side.

The fact is through all of this, I am taking steps. Movement in any direction is better than no movement at all on so many levels. Learning from each step and becoming more aware and evolving each day. This is part of my healing to a healthier me— a stronger me- a worthy me.

We all have reasons why we do the things we do and sometimes it’s hard to understand how we got there, BUT, trust yourself and stay the course, no matter how winding it may be, because it’s YOUR course, your choices that create it. And, that’s what makes it unique and beautiful. Once we become balanced with who we are and our choices each day, inevitably we will be FULL. FULL of worth, excitement, good health. FULL of Life. Who knew that the answer existed within us all along?

Check out Brittany in Walk at Home!

More about Brittany:

Our guest blogger is fitness industry professional Brittany, who happens to be Holly's best friend and CFPFL (Chief Fitness Partner For Life). As Brittany said, she's the mom of two boys and has spent over ten years in the fitness and wellness industry, as a trainer, exercise physiologist, and health coach. Brittany pursues wellness of mind, body, and soul on the daily and shares her knowledge with others. Want to catch a quick 15 minute work out with Brittany? Click here.

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