When biscuits turn you into an anxious mess
When I used to walk into a supermarket (in fact, any shop that sold any kind of food applies here), something very strange would happen; I would suddenly become this anxious, nervous, already-guilty-feeling mess, who couldn’t even be confident in the belief that she would have total control over her actions for the duration of the time spent in the shop. I tried to avoid walking through certain aisles and I tried positive self-talk, verbally confirming to myself that I was strong enough to resist the ‘urges’ all around me.
It made me feel pathetic.
Have you ever been in a meeting, or some kind of formal, or semi-formal event, at which food is present? For example, some polite offerings of pastries and biscuits spread aesthetically across the table at which you’re sat, in quantities clearly more than necessary for the number of people attending.
In situations like these, people tend to fall into two main categories. There are those who simply register the food, take what they would like and move on. Then there’s us; those of us whose brains can apparently no longer function properly. Those of us who, in such situations, are no longer concerned with the topics being discussed, the claustrophobic temperature of the room or the annoying voice of that woman who won’t stop interrupting people. None of those things seem to be able to penetrate through the suffocating urge to reach out and take a silly little biscuit.
So why not just take one and stop behaving like a lunatic?
“But what if someone sees me? What if someone judges me? Well, no one judged – or even looked at – Mark when he reached out and took 2 pastries and a Custard Cream… but Mark isn’t currently spiralling in a food-related anxiety hole… but they don’t know that, so why would they look at you? They would because… they just would! And then everybody would think I’m pathetic and fat. What?! I don’t know. Ahhhhh!”
– A conversation I had with myself, in my own head, before realising that, due to my obsession with the food in front of me, I had no idea what was being discussed in the meeting and would now have to very awkwardly try to avoid being asked any questions.
To some, this might all sound a bit ridiculous; and I wouldn’t blame them for thinking it. Part of the reason this kind of thinking causes so much anxiety is because of how ridiculous it makes you feel. Torn up and in a state over biscuits? Please!
But, as those who can relate to this know, it doesn’t make it any less real, and it doesn’t make it any less difficult to deal with.
In his book, The End of Overeating, David Kessler discusses this exact situation and points out that there are actually a fair few people out there who suffer with the same issues. If you read his book, it’s easy to see why it’s so common. I read his book in an effort to end my overeating, and it sure did help. However, I would suggest taking a multi-pronged approach to this one.
In my quest to take control of my eating habits, in chronological order, I have:
- Done a great deal of recreational drugs
- Eaten whatever I wanted
- Practised self-discipline
- Gave up refined sugar for a month to prove to myself what I was capable of
- Practised balance
- Seen a therapist to deal with the underlying issues
- Practised self-love
- Tried to join forces with friends who suffer from similar issues
- Given up
- Started again
- Read that book
- Blamed the food industry
- Accepted that I would ‘always be this way’
- Rejected that acceptance
- Counted and tracked every morsel of food
- Given up again
- Started up again
- Tried saving ‘naughty’ foods for just around my workouts
- Taken a year-long nutrition programme, but disregarded half of what I learnt
- Studied nutrition coaching, with the same company that provided the programme
- Actually put into practice the habits I learnt on the nutrition programme
- Provided nutrition coaching, using the same programme I participated in
The items in bold are the things that have actually contributed towards my progress. I would recommend skipping the other tactics.
Note: Therapy may or may not be necessary for you. My struggles with food are deep-rooted and stem from childhood emotional trauma. If you are in any way curious as to whether your struggles have developed from deeper-rooted issues, I would highly recommend seeing a therapist.
I still struggle during abnormally stressful times, such as time-of-the-month, over-tiredness and bouts of unanticipated, extreme anxiety (I recently allowed my partner to consume an entire family size bar of chocolate in one go, just so that I didn’t have to be around it and feel anxious – not my proudest moment). This is okay though – every event like this is feedback; a chance to learn more about myself and how I can continue to progress.
But for the most part, I finally feel like I’m in control.
The best outcome of all of this is not the fact that I am finally in control and no longer feel like every waking moment is spent stressing about food – although that sure is a blissful feeling of relief – but that I can now apply my experience and the knowledge it has provided me with, to helping others complete the same transformation that I have.
Pretty flipping win.
If you’ve had enough of feeling like I felt, get in touch. Let’s make you the boss of your own life again!
Thanks for reading, you little beauties!