Food and Self Worth
Many of you know that the weight loss industry is one of the largest and most lucrative in existence. Just a few years ago, the U.S. market totaled 64 Billion. But the inevitable question - why, if we're investing so much money into the process, are we still, as a country, overweight?
And though we can blame marketing, GMOs, preservatives, and pesticides (all of which, I do believe, play a role), I think it has to do with something a bit more insidious and self-sabotaging.
Many of us, myself included grew up with food as a reward and/or something to denote celebration. You win a big game, you go out for ice cream; You get a new belt in karate, you go out for a big celebratory lunch; You go to a sleepover, you bake cookies.
But for so many of us who are now in adulthood, food has also become an easy band-aid to use to create that same dopamine-reward-response when things are not so good.
I see it with my clients all the time; food as a way to escape, repress, or smooth over a feeling or situation that is less than comfortable. Because when all is said and done -- it's a whole lot easier to eat a brownie, than to journal about one's feelings of loneliness, sadness, or fear.
But that's where the self-worth piece comes in. When we deem ourselves worthy of investigation. Worthy of interest. Worthy of time. Well, then it becomes easier to put in the work. Then the motivators become even more interesting and we want to uncover more about that shadowy side of ourselves, or we start to identify patterns, like: how fascinating that I always crave chocolate after meetings with that coworker, or that cheese really hits the spot when I'm feeling sad or overwhelmed.
Because the truth is, we are our own greatest project and it's important to acknowledge and accept our shortcomings and our band-aids regarding emotional eating and escapism of all kinds (shopping, drinking, sleeping around, etc).
Self-worth around any of these things also involves a certain level of ownership, responsibility, and a remembering of your own innate perfection and wholeness. And that thoughts and feelings, as intense as they can be, always dissipate and settle like the peace after a big storm.
The journey of self-worth isn't a straight line or even a well paved path. It's at times twisty, foggy, and uphill. But it is part of the process of this human life, and tastes of it along the way are sweeter than any baked good.