You’re Not Addicted to Food, You’re Addicted to Stress – Part 2

 

In the journey to lose weight, food is your friend…and you enemy. All the right intentions to eat healthy get derailed in an instant when the “s” word enters the scene.

Stress.

The plan to eat right looks good on paper, but in the “real world” things aren’t so simple. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

Here’s a scenario:

Imagine you are at work. Your boss is micromanaging you, always getting on to you for being two minutes late, and telling you how you could do your job better. Your coworkers aren’t the greatest people either. You wake up every day dreading going to work. It’s a mental battle just to make it to Friday so you can escape for two days and finally relax.

Every day you feel the same thing: stress.

You come home and that stress is weighing on you. Your family now wants your attention. It seems the responsibilities of life are never ending. Your health is in bad shape because you keep eating to help the negative feelings of the day subside. You can’t seem to make any headway with your weight because there is simply too much stress. So, what do you do? What’s the answer?

It’s simple, right? Just leave your job.

Not so simple. You need the job to make enough money to live. If you left your job, then how would you pay for your house, or car, or food? But, how much money does it really take to “live”?

Have you ever stopped to think what those things really represent? Why do we need this house, or this car, or this thing or that thing? Well, they all give us a sense of security. That job represents security. Really, it represents security for your other pieces of security: your home, your car, your American dream. They are all “needed” pieces to the story we tell ourselves about the life we are supposed to live.

But why? Why do we tell ourselves that story? Is it what we really want, or is it a story we’ve been given that we believed was true?

Now imagine a second scenario. You leave your job, sell your house and buy one half its size (and price), trade in your car for an older, but still dependable model, and sell all of your “toys”. How would that make you feel? What if you started a job doing something you really love even if it paid way less than your stressful job? Now, I know what you’re thinking. That all sounds great on paper, but this is the “real world”. It’s not so simple.

What is the “real world”? Isn’t it just the story you tell yourself? Is it actually reality, or just your interpreted version of it?

Somewhere during the course of our lives, we started believing a story, and for some reason we can’t seem to let go of it.

Addiction is just a twisted form of connection. It’s a way we fill our need for connection with a controllable source. We believe that certain things should be happening in our lives a certain way, and if they aren’t we need to have some way to get the feeling we would get if they were – even if it’s a temporary feeling. That’s why food has the power it does.

We’ve connected to a story about ourselves. We’re really addicted to our old story because we feel secure in it. Why? The answer is surprisingly simple.

Because we know it.

You see, to choose that second scenario above and let go of all the things we think we need for security would mean stepping into the unknown. We don’t know what that life looks like. It’s not predictable. It’s not controllable. So, we choose the life that is, the one that causes stress.

We’re addicted to stress because to feel stress is to know the boundaries of what we can control. We’ve used stress as a way of keeping us within the limited boundaries of the story we believe about who we are. Stress tells you to stay within the realm of what is known. It keeps you trapped in what’s comfortable, predictable, and secure. If we feel stress, we've crossed the boundary.

But that stress is a lie. If anything, it’s keeping you out of the “real world” and stuck in your own made-up version of the world. It keeps you trapped in your old story.

What if you were to let go of that story?

That’s what we’ll tackle in part three of this series, next week.

For real this time.

Brian


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