As I said when we talked about emotional eating, I am not a psychologist or a counsellor and all of the points I am going to make in this article come purely from personal experience and observations I have made throughout my career and life. I share my opinions and put to you these theories in the hopes that something will resonate with you and help you change your way of thinking, your way of eating, and ultimately your life.
I am fortunate enough to love my work, but it hasn’t always been that way. I have worked at soulless jobs that were merely a pay cheque and gave me no personal satisfaction whatsoever. Early on I decided that I couldn’t continue that way and had to pursue a career that was fulfilling on a personal level. I have been a personal trainer now for almost 6 years and in that time have had many clients who hate their jobs. Their appointment with me is the highlight of their day and they live for the weekends and holidays. For many of them, they never really reach their fitness goals and I believe the main reason for this is their eating habits. They just can’t stop the donut runs and fast food lunches and drinks with friends after work and on the weekends. Any attempt to cut these things out leaves them miserable and simply unable to keep it up.
Humans are emotional creatures. We crave pleasure and happiness and satisfaction. If we aren’t getting any of that from our jobs, where we spend the majority of our days, it’s not surprising that we turn to food to fill that need. Quick, easy, and cheap junk food can make us happy. I’m not denying that. For those few moments that you are eating it I know that you are deriving pleasure from it. It’s an escape. But it’s fleeting. Soon after the food is gone you feel the regret and remorse and promise yourself you will never do it again. Until tomorrow.
So although it’s a short-lived happiness, for some people it’s the only moments of pleasure in their day. And I can understand how having to give that up is a much bigger deal to some people than others. It’s not just a vice, it’s your coping mechanism to get through life. However, as much as I sympathize and can see how it’s easy to get stuck in a downward spiral, I firmly believe that ultimately the life you live is up to you. If your food is the best part of your day, you need to change something. I believe that change starts with being completely honest with yourself about why you can’t seem to make healthy habits stick. You always have a choice and you are choosing to perpetuate your own unhappiness. Let’s look at some tough questions.
Do you hate your job? I mean actually hate it. All jobs will have unpleasant moments, but if overall you enjoy what you do and derive satisfaction from it you are on the right track. If you actually hate it though then you will never be successful at living a healthy lifestyle because your job will suck all of your energy and food and inactivity will continue to be your escape. Think for a second about these two options. One, you continue to work in a job you hate and are miserable for the majority of the time but at least you make pretty good money so you can afford to go on vacation once a year and go drinking on the weekends. Or two, you change careers to something that you enjoy doing and get personal fulfillment from. You will likely make less money, at least for a while, but you will enjoy your daily life and not feel the need to blow all your money on entertainment and food. Living a life you enjoy and feel proud of will energize you to be able to make healthy changes stick and eventually you will have both a job and a body that you love!
When you indulge in junk food, what are you really feeding? Asking yourself this question every time you eat something you really know you shouldn’t will help you pinpoint what exactly you are dissatisfied with in your life. If particular situations at work (maybe not the whole job itself) always send you running to the donut shop or arguments with your significant other always end in ice cream and a bottle of wine then these patterns should tell you something about your coping mechanisms. And if you need to use coping mechanisms regularly then something is off in your life and needs to be properly dealt with. I’m not a counsellor, but neither are Ben and Jerry!
What are you waiting for? There will never be a perfect time to change careers or start a diet and exercise program. It’s time to ask yourself the hard questions about why you just can’t seem to get where you want to go. Identify what it is you want and then go for it! Feeding your desire for fulfillment through pursuing personal and professional goals will leave you happy and satisfied. Soon you will find that you don’t even think about those foods that you never thought you could go without. You’ve found something better, something that truly satisfies and doesn’t leave you feeling guilty after the fact. Find your purpose, find something in life that excites you and chase it down. Love yourself enough to know that you deserve to be happy and recognize that you will only be able to do so if you choose to. Create a life that you love to live every single day. This is the best diet advice I think I could ever give.
This article was researched and written by Follow @DaraCoxPT
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