Food has no power. Perhaps I should expand on that. Food has no power except the power you give it, just like everything and everyone else in life. I know, I know- -you’re mulling that one over in your mind, thinking about how you and your situation are different and there are people and things in your life that have power over you that you have surely not given power to, they just have it. And you hate it, but they just do. I get that and I hear you, because this “they have all the power” is a trap I once subscribed to until I learned that vanquishing that belief requires mustering up every bit of courage I’m not always sure I have (but always end up having, as you will see you do also) to wrangle myself out of it, rather than chew off a body part to escape or wait for the supposed trap-keeper to release me. And how DO you wrangle out? By acknowledging that you always hold your own key and believing it by faith until you’ve accepted it as fact. Grasping the understanding that food has no power over you will allow you to access an understanding within- well beyond food’s non-power that is even greater than that. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
A popular weight loss center used to run a post-holiday tv ad that showed frame after frame of delicious looking, mainly non-nutritious, processed foods. It was a clever ad with lots of colorful foods, a calm male speaking voice, some sympathetic subliminal messaging of “how could you possibly be expected not to eat all of this food that is basically thrust at you all day long?” served to you finally on a plate of admonishment that “it’s time to take back control.” What’s great is that they were there to help. In fact, membership was free and the first 10 pounds were on them! Sweet! So what was my problem with this? It was a lie! You don’t have to “take back” control because you were always in control. If not, who was? The food? You may have felt out of control (feelings are often NOT truths) merely running on auto-pilot and eating mindlessly, preferring to stay nestled temporarily in a state of unawareness regarding your eating, and perhaps even your life. Been there! But make no mistake: food cannot take control of you. It is an inanimate object; a substance. It is neither bad nor good, evil nor angelic in its being. It just is what it is and all it can be is what you make it.
We all know the bottom line for weight loss: burn more calories for fuel than you take in and you will lose weight. Build muscle and you will burn more calories because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. If this is truly all that is required to control one’s weight, why is 30% of the world obese? Because it’s not about the food. As Geneen Roth so astutely summed it up: “It’s not about the food, but it’s not not about the food.” My personal take on that is that while it does matter what you choose to put in your body, it is the perception behind what you choose to put in your body that will actually determine what you will put in your body. To perceive food as having power over you is to equate yourself as powerless. When you are powerless you neglect to accept accountability for the actions in your life and are content to fly by the seat of your pants, setting no direction for your course. I mean, you can’t help it if you’re not the one in control, right? WRONG. You can help it and you will if you want to change badly enough. Only in fully accepting accountability for each of our own decisions and choices will we ever fully access the freedom that is made available from understanding our own power.
If you’re disappointed that I didn’t offer up some sort of eating plan or herbal elixir that will magically keep your weight in check during possible holiday overindulgences, I invite you to take a deep breath–yes, take that breath and clear your mind of all conditioned thinking because I’m actually sharing something much greater than a pill or liquid and I want you to get this: YOU POWER YOU. Damn, that’s heady! You are holding your cards, you are steering your ship, you are holding your reins! By acknowledging that YOU and you alone are the power behind directing your life to your desired destination, you will comprehend that whether it’s a plate of grandma Margie’s butter cookies, a glass of 25 year old scotch, or a dominant person who has led you to believe otherwise: Nothing has the power to change your course except YOU. The world is not overweight because of an overabundance of food, but rather, a shortage of accountability- -the very accountability that brings empowerment to those brave enough to utilize it.