I’m always honest with you.
So I’ll let you in on a little secret.
When I coach, I don’t really care about childhood.
And I say that with complete love.
I’m sure yours was great.
Don’t get me wrong. Mine was, too.
I have fond memories of Cabbage Patch Kids, 21 Jump Street, and Madonna bracelets. But that’s not the part of childhood I’m talking about.
The part I’m talking about is when we first formed our opinions about food. What it’s for, how we can leverage it.
I’m talking about the relationship with food that we start building at an early age.
When we’re looking into our reasons for overeating, we’re bound to find ‘stuff’ from our childhood that has crept in and overstayed it’s welcome.
Things that our family taught us, or that we interpreted as a child to be law.
What we learned about food in school, or from our friends.
Maybe there was a rule in your house to clean your plate.
Maybe, like me, you felt like what you ate was your only point of control, so you went crazy with it when no one was looking. (Or did the opposite).
Maybe you learned to go without and always resented it.
Or that food was a reward and you deserved it.
Whatever it was, until we look at it, it’s still there. All of it.
Riding with you through life in that forgotten side compartment.
As children, we took certain things as fact because children are very impressionable.
We learned from our environment and dutifully adopted other people’s beliefs as truth.
Then never questioned them again.
And it has shaped the way we look at food.
When I coach, I teach people to become aware of their thoughts. And just about every client (including myself) has realized that they’re holding onto their Mother’s thoughts, or their teacher’s thoughts or their best friend’s thoughts from a long time ago. And it’s affecting the way they eat.
Although it can be helpful to realize the origin of that belief system, it’s more helpful to realize that the origin happened a long time ago.
The real work isn’t to figure out where the belief system came from.
The real work is to figure out that it’s no longer your Mother’s, teacher’s of BFF from high school’s belief system.
It’s been yours for a long time.
When we label it as someone else’s beliefs, we don’t fully take ownership.
It still affects us, because we believe it. We’re still taking action from that place and letting it affect our relationship with food.
But we don’t fully own these thoughts as ours.
It’s just this bad idea someone else taught us.
Deflecting the blame is our egos way of saying, “No, you’re not the one making you believe these hurtful thoughts. They’re to blame. You were a child- you had no choice.”
It gives away the sting of responsibility.
It also gives away the power to change.
Your beliefs almost certainly came from someone else (most values and beliefs do).
But we’re the ones holding onto them now. It’s been our choice for a long time.
I invite you to stop focusing on what you learned as a child and look at what you’re continuing to teach yourself now.
That voice in your head is yours – not your 3rd grade teacher’s.
Those are your thoughts to think – or not.
That’s your belief system to hold – or give away.
When I started looking at these childhood thoughts, it was difficult for me to realize that I’ve been holding onto these beliefs all on my own.
That the people who taught me those things probably didn’t even realize I was listening. Let alone that I made it my credo all this time.
It wasn’t easy to realize that they have no responsibility here and now for my thoughts.
I had to swallow my pride and honestly say, “I’m the one telling myself those lies about what food can do for me. I’m the one choosing to believe them now.”
And I found the freedom that comes with taking ownership of your thoughts.
When you own something, you can do whatever you want with it.
It’s your call to make, no permission needed.
These belief systems may have been taught to me in childhood, but they’re mine now.
What do you want to do with yours?
Do you like them?
Wanna keep them?
If you would like to stop believing these thoughts that have been driving not so healthy behavior towards food, your first order of business is to stop attributing them to anyone but yourself.
You may feel a little pinch when you realize the lies you’ve been feeding yourself.
But once you do that, you open the gates to disbelieving them and finding a better belief system.
One that heals your relationship with food.
One that fits your present life.
One you believe so much more than the old, tired one.
One that you created yourself and can proudly call your own.