How Unhealed Trauma Can Dictate Your Food Choices
If you have read or watched any of my content, you have heard me mention this time and again... trauma doesn't have to be some grandiose event like losing your entire family in a car accident or suffering an incurable disease. Trauma can mean anything that occurred in your life that left a negative imprint. Something as seemingly small as being told to shut up once by a parent can, if allowed, grow into a limiting belief around using your voice, being too loud, not speaking up etc.. That one event could potentially draw you inward in a way where you feel less than and that your opinion is not as valid as others. It all depends on whether or not you have allowed that event to leave a lasting imprint. How this relates to our food choices is super clear once you get it. So, let me break it down for you.
Let's continue with the example above - you are told to shut up by your mother when you're young. Maybe she was having a bad day or you were being extra loud or both. She screams at you to "shut up! why are you ALWAYS talking so much?" That's it. It never happens again and she continues on being your awesome mother. But something HAS happened in that moment. You allow that moment to negatively imprint on you. It hurts you and you take it and internalize it. You develop thoughts like 'If I am too loud I will get yelled at' or 'people will become upset with me if I speak too much' or 'I should make sure its ok to speak before I say anything'.
You go through life with these thoughts in your head so they are subconsciously on your radar. You notice tiny inflections in others when you start to speak. Maybe a deep breath or an eye twitch and you immediately go back to those thoughts about speaking too much. You start to focus on those experiences and your thoughts now become beliefs. You BELIEVE that you should not speak too much or too often, you should watch the volume of your voice, and only talk when you think it is appropriate to do so and how you dictate that is by watching other people's behaviour, words, and facial expressions around you. You're constantly on high alert!
The Lying Mind Creeps In
Your feelings end up not being validated or expressed, and you start repressing them. Your needs aren’t often met by others because you don't voice them, and you begin to feel alone, depressed, and unfulfilled. You lack boundaries now because you will allow anyone into your space to not feel lonely and make 'friends' with people who don't truly understand or value you, because you do not truly understand or value yourself. One day on your way home from work you stop in a cake shop, feeling extra lonely, you buy a slice of cake. You take it home and eat it and realize you feel better. It was like a 'pick me up' and you don't feel as lonely. It actually warmed you up inside. So, every Friday, you decide you will stop at the cake shop on your way home for a slice of cake to eat with your Netflix shows.
Soon you are desperately looking forward to Friday nights and can't stop thinking about that slice of cake. One night the shop is closed and you start to cry. You NEED that slice of cake because it makes you feel less lonely. So you go to the grocery store instead and decide to buy some cake there, along with some other sweet and savoury items. Now you have access to food that helps you not feel lonely in your house, that you can have any time. You start adding a treat in the middle of the week, Wednesdays are long days, you deserve something! Then the weekends start to feel lonely because the one good friend you DO have goes away to visit her parents every weekend. So now you indulge on the weekends too. Now you are eating junk food to feel less lonely on Wednesdays, Fridays, and the rest of the weekend. You notice you are feeling agitated on the other days and look forward to the ones you can eat your happy food more often. You also notice you have put on a few pounds but no matter, because this food bring you joy, and soothes the loneliness. We have now ventured into food addiction territory. Do you see how it happened? One seemingly SMALL occurrence from childhood has subtly drawn this person into food addiction by tricking her into believing she needed food to alleviate her bad feelings and promote good ones.
We think on the surface we are doing things because we like them, and to an extent that is true. But addiction is different. Addiction is continued use despite adverse consequences. If we fast forward this behaviour 5 years this person is at risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mental health issues. She will most certainly gain weight, develop health issues, and become more and more depressed and lonely, because she will continue to invert and rely on food for her comfort.
Freeing Yourself From Food Addiction
It doesn't have to take years of therapy to release these blocked emotions. It is very possible to rewrite your story and release the limiting beliefs around food addiction, your self worth, and really anything not serving you, if you choose to, quickly.
it's about being real and honest with yourself about WHY you do what you do. I always tell my clients it's not so much about the what as the WHY. Getting curious and becoming the detective of your own behaviour is the way you are going to start making REAL change, and begin to break free from food addiction once and for all! If you you or someone you know may be struggling with food addiction, take the food addiction quiz to find out if you/they are in fact struggling with food addiction and what stage they may be at.
There is no shame in asking for help and as someone who has personally gone through this myself, I can tell you that it is so Fu%&king freeing coming out the other side! If you would like to learn more about freedom from food addiction please book a free zero pressure discovery call to find out how I can help you!
You are always one decision away from a totally different way of living, if you so choose to go after it xox