I hear the following all the time from my clients. They’re over eating, not taking care of themselves, skipping yoga. Once we get to talking, I soon learn its not about the food at all! Its about their relationships with others, specifically their partner! They feel empty in their marriages, not listened to and disconnected from their mate. Some may even feel they have lost their identity in the relationship.
The women I work with who have weight issues suffer from something I call “BED” or binge eating disorder. Women are emotional eaters by nature. Women eat when they are sad, angry, lonely or simply when they don’t feel listened to.
Many men I work with who are overweight also suffer from binge eating. They often complain of being talked over, controlled or simply feel bored with their partners. They’ve shut down in order to avoid having an actual discussion about what comes up for them. Avoidance of conversation seems to be a huge factor with the men I work with. Sadly, many men also end up “eating their relationship problems”.
The biggest complaint I hear from women is that their partners don’t make them or their relationship a priority. There are no planned dates, rendezvous or even dinners together. They simply feel unloved and not cherished. This often ties into a under nourished “feeling”!
The biggest complaint I hear from males is that they feel unappreciated and that their female mate quite simply “talks to much”! They often shut down, become silent and don’t even hear what their mate is saying after the first few sentences. How does this relate to health? They end up with a “feeling” of needing to over nourish themselves to tune out the chatter.
When people come to me the first thing I ask them to do is to make a list of ten triggers that cause them to binge. Seven out of ten usually are perceived to come from their partner.
I then ask them to write down 25 traits in themselves that they LOVE! This can be physical or personality/character traits. This is often difficult for both men and women.
The third task I give them is to list 25 things they LOVE about their partner! Just as I did above. The list flows effortlessly. Odd? Not really. You see its not that they don’t love themselves and love their partners. Its that the traits they love about themselves are not being recognized and appreciated by their partners.
The key is communication. Both males and females always say “I don’t feel heard or understood” Why is it that if your marriage is the most important relationship you will ever have with another human being no one ever teaches us the precious skills of communication?
Here are the two homework assignments I always give to my clients who come to me with a food issue that are in a relationship (75% of them)!
Create a safe place of love, a container so to speak where your love can thrive!This is generally different for men and women.
For women this means shutting up! Yes ladies, actually being quiet when your man does open up to you (and he will). Often its as simple as allowing him to feel through his thoughts about you not appreciating how hard he works to provide or the little things he does for you like taking out the trash cans every week.
For men this means making her feel secure by making her a priority! Women are very different then men. We have a strong need to FEEL a certain way! This isn’t anything that comes with words. It comes with your actions. Planning things for the future such as weekend getaways or even creating a certain night during the week for a “date night” are all things that create a safe space for her to thrive! Women value and love their time with you. It gives them a sense of safety and support that only comes when they are in your masculine presence. Honor that and take pride in it.
Learn to communicate effectively! This is something you must strive for in every conversation! Without it the relationship becomes a burden and often can become a thing of the past! This is where the over eating comes into play too! Often when we don’t feel heard, we tend to stuff down our feelings or our words with food!
Try to take 20 minutes of time out during an argument to gather your thoughts. This will allow you to both cool off! If yelling or interrupting one another over the phone is a common trait of your communication style I recommend meeting in person. If yelling in person is a trait one or both of you have, meet in a public place to have your discussions.
Share meals together at home! This is one of the most connecting things you can do to strengthen your bond! Meal times should be sacred times! Allow this to be a time when candles are lit, music is on and cell phones are turned off! When this is done right, with the right mood and environment this always leads to a fabulous night of intimacy! And who would ever choose cookies or chocolate cake over being intimate with the one they love?
Remember…No matter how much stress is going on around us we can always take the time to pull together a beautiful meal next to candlelight. Keep your space tidy, your colon clean your mind open and your heart full of love!
Above: A beautiful candlelight dinner for two with essential oils diffusing, soft music and an amazing organic dinner prepared by yours truly!
Andrea Cox is a former fitness model. She is a raw food celebrity chef, author and owner of Thehealthyhaven.net and Alkalizewithandrea.com She has had national coverage speaking about her detox modalities
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