As I’ve been working on my thoughts around losing weight, I noticed that it’s kind of like I have a child and a parent inside of me. The parent plans ahead, and then when it comes time to follow the plan, the child takes over. This past week, the child has been more like a teenager. She’s mad that the parent planned out the meal. She tries to sneak food really fast before the parent intercedes. She reads the plan and then pretends that the parent meant something else.
When I was coaching a client, she brought up this same kind of situation going on in her own head. We talked about how we want to talk to that child in our heads. Usually we are quite mean to her. We say things like, “You’re bad for eating that food.” “There’s something wrong with you for wanting to eat that thing that’s not good for you.” When she says, “I really want a cookie.” We are ambiguous. Sometimes we say no, and try to ignore her. Sometimes we give her the whole bag.
How would you want to talk to a child inside of you who wanted to eat something you knew wouldn’t help her feel good? Probably something like, “I know you want that sweetie, and it’s fine to have a little bit sometimes, but we’re not going to today. We’ve already planned to eat ______. We’ll have a treat on Friday. I know you feel disappointed, but I also know you’ll be okay. How about we go cuddle on the couch and read instead.” If you were going to a party where you knew she usually ate more than was good for her, you might talk to her beforehand, “There’s going to be a lot of food at this party. Let’s plan out what you’re going to eat ahead of time so you can feel good when the party is over. What are other great things about the party besides the food? What can you do when you’re finished eating?”
We all have a child inside that desperately wants to be loved and cared for. No one can care for her except you. How do you want to care for the child inside of you?