For those of us who binge eat, or binge on anything, self-discipline can feel like a death sentence.
We might ask, “do I really have to give up the things that I love?”
Answer this question, honestly, to yourself: does a state lacking in self-discipline, a state in which you give your senses free reign to drag you around, actually make you happy?
I didn’t think so.
Look. I recorded a podcast some months ago with April Lyons called, “Eat What You Want When You Want It.”
There is still an important piece of that message that I want to advocate: first, love the part of you that wants to binge. Love it like the little girl who just wants to feel safe, happy, and this is the way she knows how.
But after giving yourself that love, it’s time to take action.
That part of you really is like a little girl in that it is uneducated. Its need and desire to feel happy and loved is valid and normal, but the way it is going about trying to get happiness is not actually bringing the adult you what you really want.
And so, the adult part of you actually has to step in and do some re-parenting.
And how do we parent best?
A loving hand, that is also strong. A loving hand without strength is not effective. It gives us a warm fuzzy feeling but it doesn’t help us be a happy, well-functioning human being. And parenting that does not achieve that has, in my mind, failed.
At the same time, a strong hand that is not loving leads to backlashes and years of therapy.
Here’s the thing though: don’t spend forever trying to find the happy medium. Start taking action now, and the happy medium will find itself along the way.
Action Steps to Take Right Away:
I am a firm believer that the same diet does not work for everyone.
Thus, you are going to have to figure out for yourself the foods that make you feel great, and those that space you out or zap your energy.
Write this down as clearly and as (brutally) honestly as possible.
Make just two lists: “Foods that make me feel great” and “Other.”
Anything that does not make you feel great – and you know what I mean by great – sustainably energized for 4-5 hours, clear-headed, emotionally stable – goes on the “Other” list.
Make sure you have some vegetables and choices of protein on your first list. These are food groups – or macronutrients – that we all need. High quality fat is important, too. In case you are wondering about carbohydrates – vegetables contain adequate carbohydrate, so grains and other startches are not actually a necessity for everyone.
Now, spend some time writing down how your ideal eating plan would look. If you were to feel your best all day, every day, what would your meals look like?
Envision yourself eating this way every day, for the rest of your life. Envision the copious energy you will have, the goals you will finally accomplish when you are eating this way every single day.
Envision the positive impact on your relationships and your career when you radiate self-confidence.
This isn’t some positive thinking trick – it’s being real and honest with yourself and a strategy for getting yourself to finally do what what you already know you need to do.
A Day In Your Best Life
Now, give yourself a day. One day. Make it as soon as humanly possible, while you are at your most motivated.
And for that day, eat three meals a day with no snacks in between, of a balanced proportion of those foods that you know make you feel great.
Now, there are basic nutrition rules out there that we all must follow if we are going to stay healthy. I am betting you know these very well already, but let’s just remind ourselves that a protein source is important at every meal (you know for yourself whether you need animal protein to feel your best), as are vegetables (according to most experts vegetables should make up a larger portion of the diet than any other food group) and a small amount of healthy fat.
Do this for one day.
Self-Discipline is a Practice, Not a Punishment
Self-discipline is something we all need if we are going to be successful. By “successful,” I mean able to achieve any goal we set out to achieve.
After the visualizations and intentions are set, after your goals are clear, self-discipline is the real-world technique that will drive you to where you want to be.
So don’t scorn it – it is your best friend.
Start with one day, then two days in a row. Gradually build, and watch the small rewards of a life not preoccupied with food, start to take over your experience.