Do you ever have days where you look in the mirror and feel good about what you see? You feel confident and comfortable with your body. On the flip side, do you have days where you feel “fat” and start thinking about needing to lose weight ASAP?
That rollercoaster used to happen for me frequently. The strange thing was that my body didn’t change overnight so why could I go from feeling comfortable and confident one day to very quickly flipping to the other extreme where I needed to “fix” my body the next day?
When I started my health coaching business 6 years ago, I went in with rose-colored glasses. I knew it was going to be hard and I would learn along the way. However, I didn’t realize how much I was going to learn about myself. My health coach always says that running a business is like spiritual boot camp and I couldn’t agree more!
One of the many things I learned along the way is how I was feeling in my business was related to the times I felt out of control around food. I’ll share more on that later but first I’m going to share a bit of my story in hopes that parts of it resonate with you. Whether you have or haven’t struggled with food or your weight, the objective is for you to take something away from reading this that you can apply to you and your life.
A Big Reason I Used to Self-Sabotage with Food
I struggled with my weight from the age of 12 and did multiple diets where I would lose weight and then gain it all back, plus more. In 2008, I lost 60 pounds and was maintaining my weight for a few years. At the time I had been working a corporate job in advertising and as I started losing my passion for the career, I was thinking about my next move, which typically revolved around other corporate jobs/careers I could switch to.
However, one thing I was really passionate about was supporting my friends, family and co-workers as they were on their weight and/or wellness journeys. They would come to me and ask for advice and guidance and I loved talking to them about it. When I learned about health coaching from a friend in 2013, I knew it was a path I had to pursue so I decided to get my health coaching certification in 2014.
At this point I had been maintaining my weight for 6 years. The interesting thing was, as I was in school and getting my certification, I had more information than ever but the scale was slowly inching up. I was starting to put weight on again and I was confused because I knew what I was supposed to be eating and what had worked for me, yet I wasn’t sticking with it consistently and I didn’t know why.
Fortunately, I was introduced to my health coach and I started working with her to understand where the disconnect was and the role food was representing in my life. What I ended up learning was it wasn’t really about lacking willpower or discipline, the food, or that I just loved food too much.
My transition from working in a corporate job to learning a new industry and starting my own business was filled with uncertainty and vulnerability. Both uncertainty and vulnerability can trigger people in different ways, but for me there was a fear I would be misunderstood. Since I had been bullied a lot in middle school and high school, I had learned that being misunderstood was unsafe and I had to protect myself from ever feeling that way. I had correlated being misunderstood with risk of rejection, failure and the potential of ending up alone, which were things I never wanted to experience.
When it came to starting my business, it took me a while to realize how much putting myself out there on social media, talking to potential clients, coaching my clients, and networking with other professionals made me feel at risk of being misunderstood. Whenever I experienced a new level of uncertainty or vulnerability in my business I would overindulge and sabotage my healthy eating efforts. A few years later once I was no longer triggered by food, I would focus on my body, feeling “fat” and like I had to lose weight ASAP (even if I was still at my goal weight).
As an extrovert I thought I enjoyed being around people, which I did in settings that didn’t feel like they would be make or break. In normal social settings, if someone didn’t like me it wasn’t as big of a risk. But, if someone in my business misunderstood me it felt like it was going to set me back and could break my business, which now I realize is not the case.
Ever feel out of control around food?
Do you ever notice changes in your eating where you sometimes feel out of control around food? If that has happened recently, check in to see if there was a new level of uncertainty or vulnerability, even if it isn’t overly obvious. Or, are you going through a new transition in your life? Transitions can really throw us off since there is quite a bit of uncertainty built into them.
The next time you’re feeling out of control with your eating or are stressing about your body by thinking you really need to get back on track (like yesterday), ask yourself these questions. If it helps, you can journal to reflect and see what comes up since clarity can be a powerful tool and really relieving.
- Where am I feeling unsettled?
- What will help me feel more settled?
- If you’re experiencing vulnerability, what am I afraid is at risk if I put myself out there?
- If you’re experiencing uncertainty, what’s one thing I can control when things are feeling so uncertain?
These questions might seem simple, yet they can be really challenging. If you need help reflecting on any of them, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at [email protected] and we can work through them together!
When we feel out of control with our eating, body or weight, it’s usually a symptom we’re feeling unsettled or out of control somewhere else in our lives. It’s likely not that you’re lacking willpower or discipline so exploring what it could be is a great starting point to regaining control.
What are your triggers?
If you’re ready to explore the triggers that lead you to fall off track, we’re kicking off “Behind Your Cravings Live!” this September. It’s a 6-week course where you’ll get support from me and a community of others experiencing similar things with their relationship with food. If you’re feeling worn out from thinking about food and having to muscle through with willpower and you want to regain control around food and your body, apply today to see if it’s the right support to help you on the path to end self-sabotage. The next cohort kicks off September 11, 2021.
Laura is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and holds a certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She has supported over 100 clients who know what they should be eating but have a hard time sticking to it by helping them identify the familiar patterns keeping them stuck so they can radically transform their relationship with food.
Laura is a facilitator of the research-based Truce with Food® process, which helps clients achieve sustainable results by getting to the bottom of why they fall off track and aren’t able to remain consistent.
After successfully losing 60 pounds and working through her own emotional relationship with food, Laura’s mission became helping others get to the bottom of their self-sabotaging patterns.
Laura coaches clients one-on-one, in small groups, runs workshops, speaks at summits and conferences, and has been featured in Voyage Chicago.
To learn more contact Laura at [email protected]. Laura can also be found on Instagram @laurab.folkes, Facebook at @laurabfolkes and Clubhouse @laurafolkes.