Starting the process

The lotus flower is an ancient symbol. This white flower grows out of the mud, so it symbolises the growth of something beautiful out of an unpromising situation.

If you’re experiencing unwanted overeating of any kind (such as compulsive eating, emotional eating, comfort eating or binge-eating), you’re likely to be familiar with some of the distressing feelings and thoughts that often go along with these difficulties. These can include a sense of not being in control of what you do, low self-esteem, a sense of shame, and negative expectations about the future. You may not know that overcoming eating difficulties can bring about enjoyable experiences such as a confidence in being able to make choices in life, a rise in self-esteem, a sense of achievement, and positive expectations of what you and your life can become.

This blog includes ideas to support you in creating these more enjoyable experiences. In the same way as the lotus grows out of the mud, you may find that dealing with the difficulties you’ve experienced around food will allow something beautiful to emerge in your life.

Here is a suggestion that may help you to find out more about what is going on now and how you want your life to be.

Create a piece of A4 paper that looks like this:

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Starting with the left hand side, write a description of how things are with you and food these days. You can consider including: the kinds of foods you eat; the amounts you eat; the foods you avoid; your feelings and thoughts about food and eating; your daily overall eating pattern; how the current situation with food affects your life.

Then on the right hand side write a description of how you would like things to be in the future. You can consider including: the kinds of foods you would like to eat in the future; the amounts you would eat; the foods you would avoid; your feelings and thoughts about food and eating; your daily overall eating pattern; how this new situation with food will affect other areas of your life.

Take action
You can support yourself in creating the future you described by strengthening certain neural pathways in your mind, the ones that relate to the inner experience of that future. One way to do this is to identify a quality you will need for this journey of getting you from how things are now to how you would like them to be. For example, courage, self-compassion, determination, persistence… or something else.

Close your eyes and imagine being filled with this quality in this moment. It may help to bring to mind a time when you experienced having this quality. Or you could imagine a situation in which you would feel filled with this quality.

Write about your experience of this activity and add any other reflections you have.

If it was easy for you to imagine being filled with the quality you chose, great. Doing this activity If you found this activity too challenging right now, you may find it helpful to talk it over with a counsellor or psychotherapist.