I overbooked myself this summer. I think I overreacted to the restriction imposed by the pandemic, and I just said yes to everything.
It sounded like a really awesome idea at the time. It sounded totally doable and exciting and fun when I was planning it.
The reality of it is not as good. I’ve come to the edge of losing it a couple of times; I’ll be honest. Just really feeling maxed out and standing on the verge of an I-can’t-do-this tantrum.
I’ve had some moments of wanting to pull all the shades, get in my bed, pull my blanket over my head and pretend it’s not happening. Just hide in my coziest, safe place, and escape all of the discomfort.
The trouble with hiding
Have you ever felt that way? Like you want to stay in bed and hide under the covers in the dark where it’s safe and warm and comfortable?
Imagine if you actually did. Play that out. You just get in bed, stay in there, and don’t get out, just indefinitely.
What happens with your work, with your family, with your body?
There are definitely some costs to indefinite hiding, right? It sounds like a good solution, as long as we don’t think of what it might mean long term.
Baby steps back into the light
How do we move from hiding to the light of day? From our comfort to the relative discomfort of change?
Many of us attempt to motivate ourselves out of our safe, warm comfort zone by yelling at ourselves to get moving. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t end well.
I much prefer baby-stepping my way anywhere rather than trying to sprint or leap there.
So, I want to talk about a simple baby step we can take to move us from hiding in the dark to moving into the light.
The ways we hide
Let’s first flesh out the idea of hiding so you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes it’s literal hiding in the bed with chocolate. I’ve been there. I’ve done that.
Sometimes, it’s just hiding from change by wanting to keep doing what we’re doing, eating what we’re currently eating.
Sometimes it’s hiding so we don’t have to limit, adjust, change, or say no to anything.
Sometimes it’s hiding from emotions by using food to escape.
Whatever hiding in the dark looks like for you, you don’t have to rip off the covers and jump out of bed in order to move forward.
You can baby step.
Of course, it starts with a question or a check-in.
Not, “Can I stop hiding?” or “Should I stop hiding?”
But rather, “Am I willing?”
From the relative comfort of your hiding place, you can ask:
Am I willing to feel uncomfortable in the service of change?
Am I willing to feel some discomfort as I work on this?
We’re not asking this rhetorically. I want you to answer.
Am I willing to feel uncomfortable?
If the answer is yes, let’s go.
If the answer is no, then ask why not?
What is stopping me from being willing?
What is in the way of me being willing?
What would it take for me to be willing?
Answer these questions.
Find the obstacles. Figure out the way over there.
It can help to be specific.
Am I willing to feel the discomfort that will come when I stop before I usually do at a meal and check in with my body to see if I’m full? This may sound super specific, but this is a huge issue for some people.
They have a threshold of over-fullness that they like to get to before they put the fork down. They like a certain level of physical discomfort that triggers them into that’s enough, even though it’s more than they need.
The physical discomfort is, well, uncomfortable, but it’s a habit, a pattern they’ve established, and it feels terrible to stop short of it.
So am I willing to feel the discomfort of pausing during a meal and checking in with how my body feels and stopping if I’m satisfied or full?
If not, why not?
What’s in the way?
What would it take for me to be willing?
Honoring what your body needs
Another specific focus for this question might be am I willing to honor what my body wants and needs instead of what my toddler brain wants?
Am I willing to honor my body?
Am I willing to rest when my body needs rest?
Drink water instead of coffee all day?
Eat nourishing, nutritious, real foods that feel good in my body?
This doesn’t mean I never eat foods just for pleasure. There is room for that too.
Honoring what my body wants and needs can be the particular foods it wants and needs that make it feel really awesome or the amounts of foods that make it feel really awesome.
Like eating a few squares of my very favorite dark chocolate feels great. A whole bar? Not so much.
Am I willing to discover and then honor what my body wants and needs?
If not, why not?
What is in the way?
What would it take to be willing?
Willing versus wanting
Asking what we’re willing to do is different than asking what do you want to do.
We want to keep eating what we are eating. We want to keep escaping with food. We want to keep hiding. We want to keep burying our feelings.
We also want to stop eating some of the things we are eating. We want to eat different things. We want to stop escaping and start staying present.
We want to start moving toward the life we want to live and learn how to feel our feelings.
These conflicting desires can keep us stuck under the covers.
Am I willing to do the hard, challenging, unfamiliar thing that can help me start moving forward?
Am I willing to accept that I won’t be able to have all the things that I want in order to create the life that I ultimately want?
We can’t both stay in the same place and move forward.
Think about the baby steps you might take to move from your hiding place in the dark to that life you ultimately want.
Here are some questions you could ask yourself:
- Where could you start that simple, small, and realistic?
- Are you willing to eat more of what nourishes you?
- Are you willing to eat less of what doesn’t make you feel good?
- Are you willing to pause for five minutes before every eating decision to check-in?
- Are you willing to look a little deeper at what’s behind the discomfort you experience?
- What limiting beliefs are you subscribing to about yourself?
- What food rules you’re using that don’t really make sense?
- What stories are you telling about what’s possible for you or what you’re capable of?
- Are you willing to own what you are currently creating based on all of that?
When we take ownership, we start taking our power back.
We don’t have to be willing to go all the way to our goal right now. We don’t have to be willing to take crazy big leaps. We just have to be willing to pull the covers down off and look around at where we are.
Next time your brain says “I can’t” or “I don’t want to” about a change that you want to make, ask, “What am I willing to do? What baby step am I willing to take toward this?”
Hiding is fine for a while. It’s a great temporary solution.
But, what if instead of hiding you found your next baby step and watched it change your life?
When you’re ready to get started, download my free PDF guide, Freedom From Food Rules. You’ll learn how to get back to your own inner wisdom about taking care of your body and how to take back your power when it comes to fueling your body. Download now.