Your Achilles Heels

Everyone who has a challenging relationship with food and body weight, has certain Achilles heel situations, locations, and relationships. Don’t play possum with me. I know you know what I’m talking about! The mere prospect of talking to Aunt Millie can send you scurrying frantically down the candy aisle. Or the looming prospect of attending the annual school potluck dinner, with it’s milelong dessert table leaves you weak at the knees. Then there’s the dreaded office lunchroom, perpetually stocked with birthday cake, leftovers from the lunch meeting, or bakesale remnants. Inevitably, at some point in the day, the irresistible smell fresh popcorn will waft down the corridor and into your office. How the heck can you be expected to get any work done when the unearthly siren call of the goodies precludes thinking about anything else? You’re only human after all!

How can you deal with these provocative circumstances? Here are some steps:

  1. Start by telling yourself the truth. Become aware of the circumstances, situations, and people who have triggered your overeating in the past. When you don’t know your triggers, you’re a sitting duck, just waiting helplessly for the next food disaster to strike. Before you know what hit, you find yourself writhing in pain with an overstuffed belly. In short, becoming aware of your eating triggers keeps you from being blindsided by your Achilles heels.
  2. Next, make a list of your Achilles heels. Think of yourself as a general creating a battle plan. Rule number one of warfare is knowing your enemy. When you make a list you can’t pretend that you were caught off guard. And when life takes an unexpected turn and you are caught off guard, you will be in much better shape than you otherwise would have been. You will have created strategies for the situations and people on your list that can be adapted and come to your aid.
  3. Avoid stressful situations. You don’t need to accept every invitation that comes your way. Even Emily Post won’t fault you for a gracious decline. Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you change jobs because Bill from the mailroom makes popcorn every day but rather that you look at your life and ask yourself how you can take better care of yourself and make your days less stressful and more enjoyable.
  4. Create a plan for Achilles people and situations. If you decide not to change a stressful situation, create a plan that makes it easier to manage. If the prospect of seeing Aunt Millie at the family reunion that you really do want to attend makes you want dive head first into a container of double chocolate fudge ice cream , plan some social strategies that help from getting cornered by her.

As for the office challenges, take your coffee break at popcorn time, to avoid the most potent popcorn smell. Walk the long way to the restroom to avoid going past the lunchroom to avoid seeing the latest cache of goodies. Make a plan to leave the school potluck right after the dinner portion. Or decide ahead of time that you will allow yourself one small plate of dessert and stick to your plan. Or decide to skip dessert altogether.

  1. Create a plan for trigger food. If freshly baked chocolate chip cookies turn you into a wild banshee then don’t offer to bake them for your kids or the bake sale. It’s natural that certain foods that were designed for taste, designed make us overeat them would trigger out of control eating. If you can’t moderate them, either give them up for good or create a strategy you can stick to that enables you to stay in control. For example, Wednesday might be dessert night. You don’t keep sweets in the house, but every Wednesday night you go out for a hot fudge sundae or cannoli.

Finally, remember that the past is not a reliable predictor of the future. In the past, just because the appearance of an Achilles heel meant letting the Pleasure Seeking Child have the upper hand, doesn’t mean that you can’t change that dynamic now that you have the proper tools.

It’s also important to realize that Achilles heels are the toughest situations you will confront, so don’t expect yourself to be perfect out of the box. If you fall into old patterns, see them as opportunities to practice being kind to yourself. Eventually your intention toward health and balance will prevail. It can’t be otherwise. The desire to heal conditioning and become  free comes from Essence, our true self. The plan is for each of us is to deepen in love and that includes self love. Healing addictions is one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves. Please honor and appreciate yourself for having maturity to follow this pure desire in yourself.