Many Roads to Rome (Food Addiction: Fair and Firm)

There are many roads to Rome. Honestly, who cares how one gets there so long as they get there safely? We’re all different. Some people are “beach” people and want to vacation at the beach. Others love the mountains and vacation simply isn’t vacation if there are no mountains. The same principle holds true for those who love cruises or snow skiing adventures or hiking vacations. What’s important is that everyone takes some sort of vacation once in a while to get away from the routine, to do pleasurable activities, and to hopefully get some R&R! The point is, there are all sorts of ways to vacation and the best vacation for YOU is the type of vacation that best suits you.

In terms of healing, or recovering from food addictions, there are also many “roads to Rome,” so to speak. The point is to find something that works for YOU! You can try several of the available options or combine them in whatever combo works best for you.

What I’m primarily interested in is that you heal your relationship with yourself. In doing so, your relationship with food will improve, as will your relationship with other people in your life. You’re only living this life once, so I hope you will learn to live a healthier, more balanced life and live it fully as your authentic self!

Laura Preston, the inimitable personality who works with Celebrate Vitamins, recently asked me to describe what I mean when I talk about your “authentic self.” What I mean by that is finding… or rather, returning to, the person you were sent into this world to be. It seems to me that along the road, over the years, our authenticity is squashed in a number of ways. Regular doses of criticism or discouraging comments are sure to diminish a person’s willingness to share their genuine thoughts or ideas. Being punished, either physically or emotionally for speaking up or speaking out will teach a person to keep their mouth shut, thereby preventing some original, possibly amazing ideas to be shared. Being made to feel invisible by being negatively compared to a sibling, neighbor or cousin is very likely to keep one from shining their “authentic” light in the world.

Are you a born leader who was subjected to a life of “being seen but not heard” and therefore didn’t follow your dreams, utilize your talents, or implement the ideas you had? If so, you haven’t been your genuine self! Are you an introvert who would like to read and write, but were “expected” to follow in your parent’s footsteps and work in the family business? You hate the family business, but you were taught to do what you were told. If that is you, then you’re not being true to your authentic self. Do you stand up for yourself and/or others when it is appropriate to do so? Do you share your thoughts, your feelings and your observations when doing so would be productive? Do you live your life fully, according to who you are on the inside more so than who you have been molded to be on the outside by family, friends, and society? Do you want to live your life more fully and be true to who you really are? That is what being your authentic self is about.

Perhaps your use of food has been a way to ignore your authentic self. People tend to abuse substances or engage in behaviors to an unhealthy degree in order to numb themselves (to escape), as a way to unwind, or as a way to obtain some pleasure (or to reward themselves).

For example, let’s say you would like to teach rather than be part of the family business. In order to be true to yourself, you would possibly face hurting the feelings of other family members. Perhaps you fear angering the family or being shunned by the family if you leave the business. Standing up for yourself and following your inner calling requires confrontation (oh, no!), hurt feelings (how dare you?), and/or being shut out by your family. Being assertive and standing up for what you want requires assertion and effort, which may keep you from going after your own dreams. Staying in the family business may lead to resentment, anger, or boredom… and so you eat too much or drink too much or escape to pornography web sites or spend too much money shopping as ways to avoid your unpleasant feelings (to numb), to get away from your current work, which you despise (to unwind or avoid) and to find some sort of pleasure (in tasty food). All because you are not being true to yourself… you are not living your authentic life.

Whether you stay in the family business for practical and rational reasons, or venture out to find something that is more suited for you, it would benefit you to heal the relationship you have developed with yourself. In other words, come to terms with who your authentic self is, then reconcile your life choices in such a way so that you have inner peace. When you do that, you can heal the unhealthy relationship you have developed with food or alcohol or whatever numbing behavior you have gotten obsessed with. And THEN you can heal your relationships with others. How do I know the relationships you have with others are a problem? Because if you’re not being your authentic self and are engaging in unhealthy habits or addictions, then you can’t possibly have the healthiest relationships possible.

And so that is where we will start this year on Food Addiction: FAIR and FIRM (online on Facebook Live every Wednesday night at 9 PM EST).

We will begin with Awareness. Awareness of yourself and your life. Awareness of problem areas, to include any addictions. Awareness of ways you may keep yourself in denial about the problems. And awareness that there “are many roads to Rome.” In other words, there are several ways to get help for unhealthy lifestyle choices and addictions.

Since this series is specific to food addiction, we’ll talk about the various food addiction recovery programs. Use one or combine several. Just choose to get help. Or don’t – but know that your life won’t improve until you do!

If you choose to join us in the process, please know that in Food Addiction: Fair and Firm we are going to work toward encompassing bits and pieces of the most well-known recovery programs.

It is, after all… Your Health. Your Responsibility. This Day. Every Day.