By Lindsey Smith
How many times have you felt guilt about your food choices, your body image, or your weight? How many times have you compared your body to friends, colleagues, or people in magazines?
The shame, guilt, and comparison cycle we find ourselves spinning around really stems from a much deeper need: connection. We feel our worst when we don’t feel connected to others. Our food choices and body image happens to be an area in which it is so easy to feel disconnected.
Here are some examples of thought patters we have around these issues:
1. Why can’t I stay away from the cookie table? I bet I am the only person here that cannot control myself.
2. I am the biggest person in the room. Everyone here is going to notice that and no one is going to like me for it.
3. Why me? I bet I am the only one here that feels awkward in this dress.
In each of these thoughts, the underlying issue is the same: the fear of not connecting with others or feeling like an outcast in the given situation. We fear we won’t be accepted for our thighs, our food habits, or our clothing choice.
Connection is what melds us together, connection is what makes us feel okay, and connection is the one nutrient we all need.
We think separation or distance will help solve the food guilt, low self-esteem, or body image issues, when in fact, it usually leads us down an even darker, lonelier road.
While there is no one formula or recipe to help us feel more connected, I think there are a few places to start. Here are three ways to feel more connected in your life:
1. Remember you are not alone. We all have doubts. We all have negative thoughts. We all worry. We all stress. We all dislike our bodies sometimes. We all feel like an outcast in certain situations. We all eat things we know we shouldn’t. In those moments you feel alone, remind yourself that someone else probably felt alone for the same exact thing. It will instantly shift your thought from separation to connectedness.
2. Volunteer. Get out and volunteer with an organization or cause that you feel passionate about. This will help re-focus your mindset on “me, me, me” to others. Helping others is one of the greatest ways we can express connectedness. When people come together for a specific reason, it is a way to connect and relate to others that “get” where you are coming from.
3. Look people in the eyes when you talk to them. When you can really look at another human being directly in his or her eyes, you already start feeling more connected. Practice eye contact this week. See if it makes you feel more connected to your friends, colleagues, or even strangers on the street. This simple experience can instantly make you feel connected to others when you are feeling estranged.
Lindsey Smith, known as the “food mood girl” works with people who have a habit of looking to food for all the wrong nutrients: comfort, reward, fun and acceptance. Through speaking and coaching she motivates, equips and inspires people to sort out their relationships with food so they can live a healthy, balanced life. She is also the author of “Junk Foods & Junk Moods: Stop Craving and Start Living!” Connect with Smith via her Web site, www.FoodMoodGirl.com, on Facebook and Twitter @LindseySmithHHC.