Controlling Food Won’t Bring You True Joy. But This Can

controlling food - image of woman from shoulders up, smiling directly into the camera; she has red hair piled into a bun on top of her face and her skin is covered in freckles

Can controlling your food really bring you joy? When was the last time you felt true joy? Was it in a deep, sincere hug from a loved one? Or in the excitement of arriving at a new travel destination?

What about your last real smile? No, I‘m not talking about that crooked grin you forced yourself to express the last time you took a look on your scale and felt relieved about having dropped another one or two pounds.

I‘m talking about the last time your heart felt content. The last time your soul was truly satisfied. When was the last time you put your thoughts about body image, food and yourself aside and gave yourself a glimpse of living a joy filled life?

Do you remember?

When Controlling Food is Never Enough

To be fair, I still struggle with believing the lie that I was happier with a visible six-pack, being able to work out for hours, and controlling every bit of food I allowed myself to consume. Looking back, I have to remind myself that in fact, I was nowhere near joyful.

Does a life consisting of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and constraining exercise sound pleasant? I don‘t think so. Still, I listened to that voice in my head tricking me into believing that one day, I‘d be happy with myself – as long as I kept my thigh gap and my six-pack as visible as possible.

Well, let me tell you: that is a big, huge lie.

When living with an eating disorder, you’ll probably never think, “I‘m going to stop right here. This is the perfect body. This is exactly what I was longing for!“

The concept of anorexia is always more. More inches to lose, more calories to avoid. And more pain to find.

But what if there’s more to life? Outside of the need to control your food intake?

Most people with eating disorders are batting some kind of loneliness. And most of us have a deep desire for love.

We try to fill this by either moving towards or away from food. And by trying to control food. But this just leaves us feeling even more empty. It‘s a vicious cycle.

What’s the cure for this? I believe love is the cure. Slowly but surely learning to love. Loving ourselves as well as others.

Start by taking a step back and thinking of who you truly are behind that body of yours.

Who are you outside of obsessing over food?

Who is that person people love spending time with? What is that passion your heart is aching to pursue? It most definitely has nothing to do with the amount of food you eat.

I want to challenge you, in whatever phase of recovery you might currently be:

Think of who you are as a person. 

Admire your talents. Find beauty and joy in your personality. Look at what you perceive as a flaw and think about how you would view that on a friend. Would you see it in a loving, different kind of way than you see yourself?

Look at yourself and others from a whole new perspective. Surround yourself with what fills your heart with joy. Find peace in who you are and let that light inside of you shine to the world!

Give life a try. It’s worth it, I promise.

(Last Updated: June 27, 2022)

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