The internal battle with our relationship with food is a real struggle for many of us. Part of us wants to change and part of us doesn’t. The part that wins (or you wouldn’t be reading this!) is the part that doesn’t want to change. If you are anything like most of the people who decide to work with me, you are constantly battling thoughts and desires around food. Eating becomes a war between what we want to eat and what we think we “should” eat. Why is this?
We Have Many Parts
We are all made up of many parts that want conflicting things. One part knows we need to get up by a certain time to make it to work on time. Another wants to crawl back into bed. A part wants to spend time developing hobbies and part of us wants to sit on the couch watching Netflix. Part of us wants to pursue a career or relationship, but part of us avoids change because of fear.
It is normal to feel these conflicts. In his book No Bad Parts, Richard Schwartz explains how his therapy Internal Family Systems helps identify and work with parts that create patterns of self-sabotage. Generally, the parts that keep us stuck have good intentions for us. Most of the time, the part was formed to protect us from pain and fear. The fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection and/or fear of failure are often at the heart of most of these parts. By addressing the unmet needs of these parts helps release the pain that keeps us stuck in self-defeating patterns.
The Food Part
What needs are you trying to get met by eating something that doesn’t make you feel good or reaching for food when you know you aren’t hungry? I’m guessing your pattern of using food for emotional reasons started pretty early on. When we are young and don’t have certain needs met, food becomes one thing we can do to feel better. Think about your current relationship with food. Are you hoping to feel soothed and comforted? Do you want to avoid an uncomfortable emotion, task or thought? Are you defiantly pushing against the food rules on a diet? By looking at the need you are using the food to meet, you can start to unravel the mystery around the sabotage.
How To Heal The Food Part
Identifying the parts that cause problematic behaviors is the first step. When you notice you are struggling with making food decisions that aren’t meeting your overall needs, check in to see why that is happening. Explore what needs aren’t being met that you are using food to try to meet. How can you get those needs met without food? If you aren’t able to do this, consider what is getting in the way. For a deeper dive into healing these stuck parts, consider working with me individually. Visit this page to learn about the services I provide and what to expect from treatment.