Let me tell you a story about the 3 bananas. It illustrates my point beautifully.
I had a client who after weeks of sticking to her program completely and losing weight well, lapsed with a few slices of banana bread. Our session went something like this?
- Me – So where were you and who were you with?
- Client – I was at home on my own.
- Me – Where did the banana bread come from?
- Client – Oh I baked it!
- Me – Was it for a special occasion?
- Client – No – it was to use up the 3 bananas that were going to go rotten.
- Me – Would it not have been better to ditch the bananas and save yourself the temptation?
At this point, the client became visibly upset. I asked her what was going on for her and she explained that she had been brought up by parents who had gone through the war and it was strongly instilled in her that she should never waste food. It was such a fixed and strong mindset that throwing away anything brought up overwhelming guilt.
Whilst I feel very strongly about waste myself, you can see that in this instance, her absolute dread of wasting food was ironically keeping her overweight. She would rather destroy her progress than succumb to the uncomfortable feeling.
I worked with her to help illustrate the destructive pattern she was in. It transpired that she put huge stress on herself by taking all the leftovers and creating all sorts of meals that she could deep freeze when the deep freeze was already overloaded, they could never get through all the food and she had very little free time to do it all because of the usual life demands! She was literally running herself ragged.
We set her a challenge to throw away some food. It was extremely hard for her and she needed support but once it was done and she realised nothing bad was going to happen to her, the overwhelming guilt started easing up. She started looking for creative ways to use up the excess food like giving them to a sick neighbour or the needy. This changed the emotion from dread to feeling really proud to be helping the planet and the homeless. The irrational thought had lost its control over her.
What irrational thoughts do you have / have you had about food?