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Why Attempting to Control Food Isn't Worth It




Feeling out of control, whether it’s a situation, a relationship or a person is uncomfortable. It can feel rubbish. It can drive us to want us to control. One of the easiest things to control is our food and our bodies. We might do that through dieting, working out or self-imposed food and body "rules". When we follow these rules, we feel in control. The thing is, when we attempt to control our food, it often ends up controlling us - for example, if the way we eat ends up dictating our social life, what we can and can’t do or join in on, that’s food controlling how we live our life.


Secondly, controlling food doesn’t give us control over anything else in our life. It just doesn’t. It's ineffective. However, this can be so difficult to believe when diets/eating protocols/programmes lure us in with the promise that once we fix the way we eat or our weight, all the other areas of our lives magically fall into place. The way you eat won’t give you control over what others think about you, how they feel about your or how you feel. It initially might give you the feeling of being more in control of your life but it isn’t helping you. Not only is controlling our food an unhealthy way to cope with feeling out of control but it can have pretty serious side effects. Dieting can be dangerous, (to find out why read this). The great news is there are some things that we can do to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable with feeling out of control.


  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Feel them without judgement. We are emotional beings and emotions, negative and positive, are ok to experience.

  • Find what does work for you. What helps you to be ok with feeling out of control - a walk outside, breathing exercises, talking with a friend? The great news is that our tolerance of distress and discomfort can be built. We can learn how to sit with negative emotions and the more we do it, the longer we can tolerate it.

  • Trust and appreciate your body for what it does for you without you having to control it.

  • Above all. know that even though you are not in control, your Creator is and that because of that you can have rest.



If you’re really struggling with control and/or food, please seek out a counsellor. There is no shame in that.

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