What do you do that brings you joy?

If you’re like most of us, you probably over-use food or alcohol to add joy to your life. Consider this:

  • Do you eat or drink to try to feel better?
  • How often do you eat because you’re bored?
  • How often do you eat or drink to procrastinate?
  • How often do you look forward to that glass of wine or dessert to motivate you through your day?

I used to do all of these (and more!).
I would use food to help me feel better.
I’d use food to help me manage my emotions.
I’d use food to soothe me when I was sad.
I’d use food to add fullness to my life when I felt unfulfilled as a mom.
I’d spend time thinking about food (my body or my weight) instead of thinking about my failing marriage.
You name it, I used food to manage it.
If I thought enough about my body and weight, I would be too busy to look at different issues in my life.

Why is this a problem?

This is not what food is for.
Food is to fuel us, to sustain life. It is not a tool to help us hide from or avoid life. It is not meant to be the main source of joy in our lives either. If we’re always looking to food for enjoyment or entertainment that is a sign that we don’t have enough joy in our life from other sources. We create a dysfunctional relationship with food. We use it for ways in which is was not intended. Basically, we abuse food and ignore our needs.
My mission is to help women live lives they love. When food is playing too big a role in our enjoyment, it interferes with our ability to love our lives.

Why Do We Use Food This Way?

Food is an approved form of self care.
Food is an approved coping mechanism; an approved escape.
We can grab that handful of goldfish for a carb/dopamine hit while still wearing our “good mom” mask.
We can overeat without taking time away from our families.
Our society is set up in a way that we can turn to food without feeling the usual mom guilt that other forms of self care or self preservation require.
We can eat that cake as a way to fill our empty hearts instead of figuring out why our hearts are empty.
We can eat that heavy sandwich instead of taking time for a coaching session to figure out why our soul feels so heavy.

What’s the Big Deal?

If we’re all doing it, why does it matter?
Putting aside the fact that our health as a nation is declining, chronic disease is on the rise, and our life expectancy rate is for the first time lower than our parents….IT DOESN’T FEEL GOOD to live this way. WE ARE HERE FOR MORE. Life is meant to be LIVED, ENJOYED, SAVORED. Life is not about passing the days or time to get to the next thing.
When we use food in this way, it kills our relationship with ourselves.  We teach ourselves we don’t deserve more. We consistently shove food or alcohol in ourselves to shove our dreams, desires, and real emotions down. We tell ourselves things like “we’re happy enough” or “this is the life I signed up to live so shut it”. We tell ourselves that we don’t deserve to ask for what we need.
When we run around taking care of everyone and everything else before taking care of ourselves, we send the message to ourselves that we don’t matter.

How Does This Leave Us Feeling?

Not exactly how we envisioned our lives, ey?

What Do We Do?

We turn to food and/or alcohol.
Food is an “approved” form of joy or pleasure in our lives.
A societally accepted form of self care.
Telling a friend that you had a glass of wine because you were so stressed from your day with the kids and your husband? Acceptable.
Telling a friend that you hired a housekeeper so you can have more time to do what you want to be doing during the day? Not as acceptable, ey?
Even if what you want to be doing is playing games with the kids and hanging with your husband instead of thinking of the messy floors?
Still not as acceptable.
When I was feeling really stressed or overwhelmed, I’d actually use baking as an approved form of escape. I didn’t realize it at the time but looking back I see right through my actions. (Side Note: my first husband’s mom could do no wrong and was pretty much Betty Crocker) If I asked my husband to watch the boys so I could make them some form of organic healthy pumpkin muffins, he’d agree. There’s not a part of me that enjoyed baking yet I needed a break so badly that I would do that. If I asked him to watch the boys so I could sit and journal? Nope. Sit and read? Nope. So bake dry, tasteless muffins I did.

There’s More Than This

This is not the life we’re here to live warriors. We are not here to hide (which is what I was doing when I chose to bake instead of journal). We are not here to ignore our inner desires so that bitterness and resentment build up. Let’s stop abusing food. Let’s stop asking it to do so much more for us than it’s intended to do. It’s not meant to be our soother, our friend, our entertainment, our main source of enjoyment, our primary comfort.

Ready To Change?

Guess what the first step is?
Yes I know, groan. You’ve heard that before but seriously, any transformation, new way of being, begins with awareness. We don’t know what we don’t know. Until you see how you’re using food, you won’t know where you can shift.  [tweetshare tweet=”Start seeing how you’re using food or alcohol to fill voids in your life instead of addressing those voids.” username=”SusieBarolo”]
Let’s tackle this in two ways:

  1. Look at where you’re using food to escape or “buffer”; to not feel your feelings; to not live the life you’re here to live. How often do you say you don’t have time to take care of yourself? What do you do instead? Become aware.
  1. Start adding more joy to your life. Start asking “What do I want?” What makes me happy? You can start doing this in small ways. When someone asks where you want to go to lunch, answer honestly: where do YOU want to go. Don’t allow your brain to say “I don’t know”. That’s your brain’s personal blend of BS. It isn’t used to thinking of what you want or what brings you joy. You’ve been too busy caring for everyone else. But it’s time. You are not here to teach everyone that their needs and desires are more important than yours.

Add JOYments

Start making little shifts so that you’re actually enJOYing the days you’re living. Little Joy moments (Joyments!)
Do you like to read? Set time to read.
Do you like to put lego sets together? Get down on the floor with those legos.
Do you like to watch a show on TV? Watch the show.
Do you like to be outside? Go outside.

Brain BS

What excuses is your brain making Up? These are the main ones I hear:
I don’t have time.
It’ll cost too much money.
It won’t make a difference.

Do It Anyways.

You do have time. Go outside for three minutes. You will feel differently. Three minutes. I dare you.
It won’t cost too much money. How much money does the extra wine and food and weight cost you? More than a session with a life coach or a bi-weekly housekeeper. It certainly costs less than the copay for an office visit or health care when you get a diagnosis.
It will make a difference.

Let’s stop making excuses and start making joy. Start adding pleasure to our lives this week. I’m in, are you? Let me know over in Instagram the little shifts you’re making this week. It’s time warrior. Time to live a life you LOVE!

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