In October I ran a free 5 day food freedom challenge for women who longed for food freedom. I had approx 750 women join the challenge. Everyday involved an MP3 process and worksheet to help women to connect with their emotions and process them without using food. The challenge received the most amazing feedback and I can’t wait to run the next one on January 16th.
After the challenge I sent out a survey to the women asking them 3 key questions about what food freedom means to them. I was so interested in the responses and I wanted to share them because there were a few pleasant surprises in here!!
61 lovely ladies completed the survey – let’s unpack the 3 questions.
The top 3 responses did not surprise me:
- Reducing my self sabotage
- No more food obsession
- Reducing my emotional eating
What is really interesting about the results here is that losing weight was less of a priority than what I expected. This was so heartening to see because we get bombarded with so many messages all about weight loss. I’m not suggesting that it’s not important or not a consideration, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it lower down on the list. The top 3 responses are all about your psychology. My sense from these results is that women are more longing for internal peace and freedom than a number on a scale.
Control featured very highly here. This is where we feel like we need to be in control (restrictions, diets etc) to lose weight, but then we inevitably end up being out of control at some stage with our eating (think PJs, couch, tub of salted caramel ice cream!). Going back and forth is extremely stressful and it’s bloody exhausting. Breaking this pattern goes against everything that we have been taught, and messages from the dieting industry which is all about eating less and exercising more. If only it were that easy!!!
A sense of failure is another huge struggle. This occurs when we have been on and off diets for most of our lives and we feel like a failure because we still aren’t on top of our eating and/or weight. It’s hard not to blame ourselves. But I need to tell you that you are not a failure, you’ve just been using the wrong approach. You need different tools, and this is what the 5 Day Food Freedom Challenge was all about – equipping ladies with tools that are much more effective than eating that deal with the cause (why you are going to to the food) rather than the symptom (emotional eating/weight).
If you have a strong sense of failure, I believe there is still a part of you that believes that the answer is outside of you. This means (consciously or more often unconsciously) that we are expecting something or someone to ‘fix’ us. When we have this mindset, it means that we do not take responsibility for ourselves and our outcomes. We are looking outside of ourselves, when all of the answers are within us. Again, you haven’t been given the right tools to equip you, and for so many years you’ve given your power away to the dieting industry (we all have!!!). You can turn this around with the right support and right strategies, tools and mindset – it’s learning to trust yourself and your body. That’s key. The answer is in an area that you’ve been avoiding & lost hope in for so many years.
Again, weight loss didn’t feature here as a huge struggle.
Fear & failure came up again:
- I’ve failed in the past, and I’m unsure if this approach would work for me
- I’m scared of what emotions might come up (if I stop using food)
Fear of emotions is another concern for many women because food has been a lazy way to deal with our emotions. We use food to suppress, numb and avoid what’s going on for us at a deeper level and it’s scary to think about taking away that coping strategy. That’s why you need to learn new coping strategies that no longer involve food. I’m going to be completely honest with you, the new coping strategies are not as efficient as food and it involves sitting with some internal discomfort – but it does get easier and easier. This then becomes your new norm, rather than turning to the fridge. This is when you start behaving in a way that is more like the person you want to be, whereas when we engage in emotional eating we behave in a way that is UNLIKE the person we want to be.
These results were so heartening and I loved supporting all these women on their journey to food freedom. It reinforced to me that it’s not all about the weight loss for women (even though we get told messages that it is!). I know there are so many women who are privately struggling, they feel like a failure, they’ve lost hope and they are emotionally exhausted and confused around food choices. These results just reinforced how important it is to take an inside-out approach to your eating and weight.
Right now I am working with a group of amazing women in my Online Freedom Program who recently took the plunge, even though they had doubts and were scared (and still are) but they are working through their discomfort and each day many are feeling more and more confident. They are all on the right path. They are connecting with their body and learning to trust themselves again. They will get there because they have the right tools, processes, support & accountability in place. That’s what success & freedom looks like.
The next Free 5 Day Food Freedom Challenge kicks off January 16th. Click here for more.