HOW TO DEVELOP UNCOMFORTABILITY
Above I have given a few examples of coping or channeling strategies for discomfort. I know that these will be helpful to you, but that is not the whole story. Because we resist uncomfortability, we require constant awareness and daily action to develop it.
Here is how to develop uncomfortability:
STEP 1: DECIDE - YES OR NO
Are you willing to embrace uncomfortability? You need to consciously say YES or NO.
Be aware that your experience around eating will have been uncomfortable anyway. So the REAL question is:
Which kind of uncomfortable do you choose - because it's one or the other:
(a) continuing in eating compulsion, self-sabotage and useless guilt - and never really changing. This discomfort is permanent.
(b) a more intense discomfort initially as you stand up to your old patterns. But as long as you use the tools I give you and keep on keeping on, this discomfort gets less and less the longer you say YES to it.
So...which do you choose?
STEP 2: LOOK FOR EXAMPLES
You may need to look to documentaries (any maybe films - but be aware that the plot can be distorted for the purposes of tension etc) and biographies to inspire you.
Start with this podcast on The Failure Olympics
I will add examples to this page as they occur to me.
STEP 3: AWARENESS
What are your favourite eating (and drinking) coping mechanisms for emotional discomfort? Make a list. For example: visiting a particular cafe that sells a specific comfort food, a Friday night drinking session after a stressful week, grazing on others’ leftovers when clearing up dinner plates, an extra junk food ‘treat’ you eat on the way home from doing a big grocery shop because you are so tired, arranging to meet a friend for coffee who always eats junk and so green lights your chaotic eating, leaving out food on display in the kitchen that you can graze on without realising because you never sit down and relax at home, developing a habit of drinking a lot of tea/coffee at home because it gives you the opportunity to graze on any available food nearby.
In my experience, awareness doesn’t all come in a blinding flash of revelation. You will probably add to your list over time. For example, it took a few weeks for me to realise that when I am brainstorming ideas for my podcast, I go into a kind of manic creative mood during which I will blindly hoover up any food that is sitting on view. I am often not aware of what I am doing. So one strategy for developing uncomfortability here is to make my kitchen as mess free as possible.
Food compulsion is like a politician that is desperate to cling to power. You elected that politician (for very good reasons) but now, like the British public voting Churchill out in 1945, it has served its purpose, you are ready to manage without it, and is time to vote it out. And, like any good democracy, you have that power.
(By the way, when I was fact checking this analogy, I found this article that was quite interesting: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/election_01.shtml) I had fun replacing the words ‘Churchill’ with ‘compulsive eating’ and ‘peacetime’ with ‘reclaim your life from food’ 🙂 It does not read that smoothly, but the metaphor is really powerful, so who cares?!