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Debunking Your Wacky Food Beliefs!

samanthasuttonThe other day, I laughed harder than I have laughed in a while.

I wasn’t at a comedy club or hit movie. I was talking with two of my buddies, with whom I am putting together a weight loss workshop, about how wacky we used to be about food. Now that I am on the “other side” and living in a body that I love, I can laugh at its wackiness, but back then, it sure seemed “normal.”

Here are some of the wacky things I believed:

I have to have carbohydrates at each meal, for energy.
I made sure that I had cereal for breakfast, bread with lunch, and pasta or rice at dinner. After all, runners “carbo load” before a race to make sure they have energy. I have a demanding job, and I need energy too! Once I got past this belief, I realized that I actually had more energy when I cut back on my intake of carbohydrates. Eating pasta and bread made me feel lethargic, bloated, and moody.

I am allergic to fruit
No, I don’t break out in hives. Each time I bite into a piece of fruit, I feel a sensation of pain shoot up my jaw, like when you bite into a cold ice cream cone and feel a sharp pang. I used this to justify that I shouldn’t be eating fruit, and thus it was ok to eat chocolate or cookies or cake for dessert instead. What is a girl to do? Where else am I supposed to get my “sweet thing” to cap off my meal?

It’s ok to pig out alone
Socially, I would eat normal amounts. But what I craved more than anything was to get a box of my favorite goody, retreat into my cave, and eat the whole thing. I rationalized that this was me “treating myself well” and making sure that I had quality, nurturing Samantha time. The truth is that I usually felt worse after these binges, not better.

If I exercise, I can eat whatever I want
I would go for a 45-minute run, and then reason that because my metabolism rate had likely increased, I could and should eat whatever I wanted to. But then when I learned how to calorie count, I saw that I was only burning 300-400 calories on each run, which amounted to a handful of cookies. That was it.

I am superficial if I focus on my body
I looked around at my friends who were weight-obsessed, and reasoned that if I watched my weight, I would be as nutty as they were about food. I had more important things to focus on, I told myself, like building a great career or finding love. Now that I am in my dream body, however, I see that living in a great body helps those areas profoundly too.

Do my beliefs seem wacky to you or do you have some of the same ones? When people are dissatisfied with their bodies there are usually some wacky theories in play. We’ve found that based on culture, family, life events and other influences you probably have your very own unique set. The key is to know what your “brand” of beliefs is, and then decide what you want to do about them: believe them, or pick new ones that you like better.

I challenge you to look at your eating habits. What beliefs must you have about food, given how you are currently acting? How do you know that they are true? What if they aren’t? What would be possible for you if they weren’t? Write a note and share.

Love,

Samantha

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Dr. Samantha Sutton is a Senior Coach, Vice President and Director of Courses and Seminars for the Handel Group® where she designs and leads the Design Your Life Weekend.

If you want to learn how to identify and debunk your own wacky beliefs about food, come to the Design Your Weight Loss Workshop that Samantha is co-leading on July 13 in New York.

  • Neno

    I am dealing with my beliefs that I “have” to have sweets. If I don’t have at least candy or ice cream stocked at the house I begin to feel uncomfortable like something is missing.

  • Angela Tomato

    Thank you for this!! I can totally relate and I actually have found myself assessing my own situation… I once read that semi-sweet chocolate chips were on the “flat-belly” diet and for a long time I put them on EVERYTHING. lol, you grow and you learn. Thank you!

  • Victoria

    I went through back surgery 6 months ago and I need to not do a lot of activity to heal. This meant I gained 20lbs. I watched what I ate, but I need daily exercise to keep my weight normal. Now, I struggle with knowing that I could do better and need to loose the weight, but then accepting myself the way I am and being happy in this current body and not letting it get me down. *sigh*

  • purplehuntress

    I cut out all simple sugars about 8 weeks ago. I realized how many carbs I was eating throughout the day. For 3 weeks, I ate nothing but fruits and vegetables. When I started this, the first three days were hell. The detox from carbs was terrible, sick, migraine, lethargic. That was a life changer. It took me feeling terrible to understand what simple sugars were doing to my body and mind. I have since added whole grains, such as rice, oatmeal, etc., but even that I keep in moderation. I will say that I have cut my cravings for carbs (breads, crackers, pasta) but they are still a temptation around me. Thanks for your article. Puts things in perspective.