I'm not THAT bad... (and other myths we tell ourselves)

I was reflecting this week on my relationship with food. Even more so, how my relationship with food is connected to my relationship with myself. Namely with my body, but also with how I speak to myself.

We launched a workshop this week called “How To Overcome Emotional Eating” and when I initially heard the title I assumed it was for people who were “really bad”. You know, when we assume we don’t belong to a certain group because we just could never fit in with “those” people. Right. I’m such a great therapist…err judgemental human…to think this way. Who was I kidding? I was scared to acknowledge that this may actually relate to my current situation.

I recently admitted to a friend over dinner (of salad because my jeans are tight and I can’t bring myself to go shopping), that in my first year of growing this business, ironically a therapy clinic, I have gained about 15 extra pounds. I told my friend that running a business has been stressful and it has been the biggest learning curve of my life. I told her that I spent the year at Google University, where I googled what business terms meant and listened to hundreds of podcasts to try and make sense of this new language and skill set I had to learn. I was constantly telling myself that “I’m a failure” and “this isn’t going to work”. I was saying that “I don’t know what I’m doing” and I turned to a small list of friends who would listen, my partner and Google for answers. Who I didn’t turn to was an inspiring network of fellow entrepreneurs. I was afraid that they would see I wasn’t good enough too. So I hid.

I was afraid to ask for help. And that included outside of business too. I was afraid to tell people that because I suffered from a concussion three years ago, I had difficulty working out. If I worked out too hard one day, my brain (that I need for my job as a therapist) wouldn’t give me the output I needed the following day. I was constantly running in this anxious cycle telling myself “I need to eat better and work out” and then “I’m so tired and stressed and my brain isn’t what it was so I can’t do this”. Back and forth. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Concussion. Working 14 hour days. Feeling exhausted. Feeling overwhelmed and like a failure. All of these combined with the fact that we live in a one-click-of-a-button world where your favourite thai restaurant will deliver their best pad thai to your home quickly and easily and it will be on it’s way while you are driving home from work so that you don’t need to miss a minute of being productive. I fell victim to telling myself that it was easier. That I could “relax” because I didn’t have to make dinner. That I would get more done if I was fed and didn’t have to do dishes.

What I didn’t tell myself was that there are other ways to manage stress. That my relationship with food was hurting how I spent my evenings. That this hodge podge of excuses was robbing me of connecting with others. I avoided social events, dinners, hobbies and trying new things. I was lonely. I was tired. I was feeling gross in my body. And I was ashamed to tell anyone about it.

So, this week I started talking. It started with my friend over dinner. And now it’s continuing through sharing it with you. Shame can not live when we bring it out into the open.

So, fellow stress eaters, emotional eaters, tired entrepreneurs, and those of you who are mean to yourself when you think about your body…this workshop is for us. Ignore the name. Ignore if you are “that bad” or if you are “too ashamed”. Let’s get together and talk about it. Let’s learn some new ways to challenge this behaviour and those mean thought patterns. Let’s learn to like ourselves (for a start) and then grow to love ourselves, together.

Join me while I keep talking. Hoping we can talk about it together, too.