In my last blog I promised to return to one of the single KEY issues in recovery from food obsession and obesity: the inner critic.
In every single case of food-and-body-weight-misery I’ve ever seen, the person’s inner critic is fast, strong, powerful, cutting, and knows just what buttons to press.
Have you ever heard a part of you saying something similar to the following to yourself?
“You’re fat and it looks terrible …. it’s because you’re so greedy. Everyone will know how weak you are around food because of these spare tyres … you should be ashamed of yourself.”
When we start to develop awareness around our food-and-bodyweight critics, it can feel like turning on a harsh neon light. Overeating may have been an effective way of numbing out or drowning out it’s harshness, but unfortunately it isn’t sustainable. And sooner or later the voice gets louder again, and is harsher than ever, shaming us for overeating yet again.
I have found a way of communicating with this part of me, and that of my clients, from a place of genuine curiosity and respect. Our critics spend so much time and energy engaged in passing judgement and criticising us: they must be highly invested in creating change. But they are going about their change initiatives in totally the wrong way, which is having the opposite effect than the one desired.
I’ve discovered that our critics are beating up on us because they want us to become happy, healthy and slim, connected and acceptable to others, and free.
I’ve also discovered that the first step towards truly and sustainably achieving these things is to bring keen awareness to the messages our critics are giving us, and asking our critics to relax. I’ve found that our critics don’t actually like working so hard. We can let them know that when they relax their roles and withhold their judgements, our over-eating parts will naturally slow down too. Those overeating parts of us have much less reason to overeat when there’s no need to distract us from the shame generated by criticism.
Enduring, wholehearted kindness can then take the place of criticism and judgement. This lays the foundations for lasting health, happiness and joy filled lives.