Disregulated eaters often are not merely unhappy with their eating but with their lives. In fact, sometimes this every day dissatisfaction is what drives them to eat. In order to have a satisfying life, you must know your values—What means a great deal to you? What do you love above all else? What activities bring you the most happiest?
If you knew you were going to be stranded on, say, an island for the rest of your life and had the opportunity to choose what you wished to bring along with you, you’d want to make some serious decisions. Rather than what you “feel like” taking, you’d want to think long and hard about what is dearest to you and what would keep you alive and thriving. Let’s even say that certain choices could be replenished, but you couldn’t change your initial decisions. Whatever you chose, you’d have to stick with it.
How would you decide what foods to take? Would you think, “Oh, wow, I can eat whatever I like, so I’ll have ice cream and candy and other sweets and treats?” Or would you consider making wiser choices like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains? Remember, you have one shot at making a selection and that’s it.
What would you bring along to do? What passions could keep you going for a lifetime? You’d want to chose activities that bring you pleasure, would hold your interest for hours on end, and that moved you into a state of “flow” to release dopamine in your brain. If you were wise, you’d choose pastimes with which you could not merely pass the time, but in which you could progress and achieve mastery. That would give you challenges and goals to keep you going and a sense of accomplishment to make life worthwhile.
If you could have some or a few people join you, who would you pick? Surely folks who were easy to get along with, had your interest at heart, would not be a drain on resources, and who could make a significant contribution to life on your island. Perhaps you’d also select people whom you never tired of talking to because you could always count on them for conversations deep and wide. And folks who had great problem-solving skills, who were kind and interesting, and for sure who could make you laugh.
Sure I’m talking fantasy here, but my questions are based in reality. We have only this one life, no second chances, no do overs. How could you start making choices that will give you a greater sense of pleasure and satisfaction in your life? I guarantee that when you do, you will turn less to food for the good life you deserve to be living.