You may think that’s a funny question, but self-sacrificing, also known as people pleasing is contributing to your struggle with food. The more I dig into the inner work for myself, the more I can see how much of a people pleaser I’ve been over the years. I can also see how much this has truly affected me in a negative way. It’s caused me to hold onto negative energy for years, which for a long time has been the perfect opportunity to numb with food.
For years I’ve been told I am too quiet and shy. The truth is I had/have a deep fear of speaking up ingrained into me. I remember there were times that I would not answer someone when they asked me a question because I was so afraid to say the wrong thing. The wrong thing in my mind was the opposite of what they believed. Do you see how faulty my thinking was there? I was more worried about what others thought and was unable to access my own inner wisdom because of it.
My response was always based on what I thought they would agree to and if I couldn’t figure it out in my head, I would awkwardly say nothing at all pretending I didn’t hear them. I remember when I started my first job, other than working at my mom’s hair salon, in high school. It was at the local Garden Market IGA grocery store in the produce department. For the first little while I was terrified of going into the lunch room on my own, so I would eat my lunch in the women’s bathroom, while hiding in one of the stalls. Not the most appetizing place to eat lunch, let me tell you.
I’ve always been known as the nice girl by my peers and co-workers because I generally go with the flow and do whatever others want, even if it doesn’t feel right for me. I feared conflict and confrontation. This fear was ingrained into me from different events in childhood that made me feel like I needed to be quiet and keep small to stay safe. My body literally entered a stress response anytime I’ve thought of speaking up about something that is bothering me. I feel weak, shaky and my stomach is a bunch of knots. My voice wavers and I feel like I’m on the verge of tears. Over the years this has improved big time and is not as intense, but it’s still there.
It’s amazing really how our bodies try to protect us. Over the years, I have held in a lot of things that were against my values and needs and didn’t feel in alignment for fear of rejection from others. In return, I have harboured resentment, animosity and downright anger. These emotions are huge triggers for me that I often numbed with food in the past. This emotional weight that we hold inside is what often leads to physical weight. So many people are so focused on dieting and exercising to “loose” weight, yet if they worked on releasing emotional weight, would discover that their body will also release physical weight. The Bandaid approach and quick fix never works, because we are not getting to the root cause of the issue.
I rarely talk about weight because I am a big proponent for loving yourself as you are and body positivity. That being said I have been heavier myself and I know how uncomfortable I felt during that time. I don’t seek societal ideals when it comes to my body anymore, but I do want to feel light and energetic. I want to be able to move well and feel good. When my body had gained weight I felt heavy, sluggish, weighed down and constricted. This was a reflection of how I also felt in my mind. As I’ve done the inner work and released some of the emotional weight I’ve been holding onto for years, my body did release some physical weight too. I wasn’t trying and I stopped restricting and over exercising. I dealt with the underlying reasons as to why I kept using food as a drug, to numb, distract and cope.
People pleasing is very common among women who struggle with binge or emotional eating. Take a look at the relationships in your life. Are there any where you notice you’re holding onto resentment and anger? It’s likely you didn’t set a boundary that needed to be in place in this relationship, because of the people pleasing belief system. Brene Brown has an amazing quote that says, “The most compassionate people have boundaries. They are compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
I am done with not speaking my truth. I am done with not using my voice and not setting boundaries. I am done with people pleasing and letting others do and say things that aren’t in alignment with me anymore without speaking up. I am done with holding onto resentment and anger. I am done with putting more value in other people’s experience on earth than my own. It won’t be easy, but I have started taking action. This my friends, will lead you to freedom.