Reviving Your Joy
Recently I've been struggling with compulsive/binge/emotional eating and very negative thoughts about my body. This is not a new thing for me. It is something I've battled for many years.
Last weekend I went on a backpacking trip with a dear friend and it brought a crucial piece of information to my attention: I've lost my JOY.
I have become so focused on my body: how I look, how much I weigh, whether or not I look okay in my clothes, whether or not I fit the "profile" of a fitness trainer, what I believe others think of my body, which workout I'm going to do, what foods I'm going to eat (or not eat), and how to lose this last 10 pounds (now 15) that just won't seem to budge! My whole life gets taken over by these thoughts which leaves little room for anything else.
I used to enjoy a lot of other things. I had passions. I loved backpacking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, and horseback riding. I still love those things...but I'm not doing them.
What do I spend most of my time doing now? Worrying about my body and food. How did I go from well-adjusted and passionate outdoors-woman to fighting with myself over whether or not it's okay to have a stick of fucking gum?
The past few days spent completely disconnected from the world and hiking through the woods has helped to remind me that there is more to life than the perfect body, diet, or exercise program. My identity - who I am at my core - is not my body or my exercise program or what I eat.
Breaking free from emotional eating and dysfunctional thought patterns is not easy. It takes a lot of self-awareness and willingness to let go of your fears. To break free, I believe you have to find new focal points in your life. You need to find new ways to build a positive identity for yourself (other than "The Dieter", "The Exercise Queen", "The Health Food Guru", etc.).
To dive deeper, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much of my precious time do I spend thinking about my weight/body/food every day?
- What activities did I LOVE doing as a kid?
- What activities/hobbies really stir my soul and get me excited about life?
- What are some things that I used to love doing, but have stopped doing?
- When I met my significant other, what things did we love to do together?
- Why did I stop doing the things that I love to do?
- What would really bring JOY into my life?
After you answer the questions above, make a list of all the things that bring you true joy and happiness. Maybe it's spending time with a specific person. Maybe it's reading romance novels. Maybe it's hunting and fishing. Maybe it's knitting. Maybe it's baking. Maybe it's volunteering at a local animal shelter.
Whatever is on your "joy-list", start doing at least one of those things every week. You deserve to feel joyful every day, every week, every month, every year! Don't wait to rekindle your passions! You can be happier and more balanced right NOW if you find your JOY!
As for me...I'm committed to rekindling my real passions. My goal is to go on one camping trip per month over the next four months, and start riding horses again. These things make me excited about life...they make me JOYFUL!
I'd love to hear from you! What are your passions? What are you going to do today, this week, or this month to find your JOY?
If you, or someone you love, are struggling with emotional eating and unhealthy thought patterns, join my private UnCaged support group on Facebook! It's free! We are a community of supportive women who understand what you are going through. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to the group.