I am not talking about when you were in 3rd grade, and you knew you weighed X pounds. I am talking about the first time that X pounds turned from being a number on the scale into being a measure of your worth. Most of us who have struggled with food and body image can pinpoint the exact moment or have a general reference. It is usually the moment that we become first aware of our weight that sets the stage for our relationship with food. And this is what starts the spiral into eating disorders, body hate, and shame. So why are we talking about this? I'll give you three reasons:
We must understand that our food issues have nothing to do with food and everything to do with our body image. Food is a way to try and control the size of your body based on your beliefs about your body. Awareness of this first moment you decided your body or size was unworthy can tell you a lot about why we have the behaviors and thoughts around food that we do. Understanding that this is not a food issue but a body image issue, you will discover a clearer vision of where to begin tackling this.
02. Breaking down beliefs
A belief is an acceptance of something to be true. In this instance, what you accepted to be true about your body when you first became aware of your body now determines the way you feel about your body. From this first moment, you became aware of your weight; it became a measure of your worth. You probably believed that a low weight meant good and a high weight meant bad. This triggered you to use food as a way to try and control your weight to stay “good.” Once you understand why you have attached your worth to your weight, you can begin to separate the two.
03. Stop the shame spiral
When you eat a cookie, you suddenly are a horrible, stupid, lazy, disgusting human. And now this ball of flour and sugar has determined who you are as a person. When we tie our worth to our weight, food begins to define who we are. The only thing that should be determining who you are is YOU. By knowing how long you have attached your worth to your weight, you will probably have a pretty good indicator of why you feel the way you do about yourself. If you have been doing this for years, odds are your self-esteem and confidence are pretty low. Now this one situation as a child has affected your entire life! By letting go of whatever it was that made you aware of your weight, you can begin to stop this shame spiral!
It is incredible what we can learn by going back to the beginning. There is always a reason for our behavior. Remember, your relationship with food has nothing to do with food and everything to do with your body image. Therefore if you want to heal your relationship with food, you must start by improving your relationship with your body. And what is the first step? Understand why you feel the way you do about your body by taking it back to the first time you became aware of your weight.