How To Stop Copying & Comparing To What Others Are EatingJul 13, 2022
Do you find yourself copying what others eat? Are you mimicking what your roommate or sister eats instead of focusing on your own individual needs? Does it also happen that you would like the same body as said roommate/sister?
When you see them have salad for lunch, you have salad for lunch. When you notice them going on a long run, you do too…even if you’re struggling with period cramps. Maybe you notice them have a burger and fries at dinner, you feel relieved that finally you’re allowed to as well!
This is a common problem that I have helped many 1:1 clients through over the years. Here I’ll share a few pointers to get you started on returning to true food freedom. Of course, for more help - I recommend taking a look at my 30 Day Reboot online course where I’ll take you step-by-step through the healing journey!
WHY ARE YOU COPYING WHAT OTHERS ARE EATING?
To put it plainly: you’ve likely lost trust in yourself to make helpful food choices.
After potentially years of chronic dieting and failed attempts at weight loss, you’ve become hyper aware of everything you eat. It’s probably the main focus in your life - food is on your mind 24/7. It’s common for those stuck in the binge-diet cycle to feel like they just can’t trust themselves around food anymore. Which makes sense! It’s hard to trust yourself when you’re getting lost in out-of-control binges every few days. Bingeing can almost feel like you’re possessed - like you have this tunnel vision and can’t be stopped. Binge eating feels like absolute self-sabotage - doing something that hurts you and goes against other goals you have (like weight loss).
“So what if I just copy what my thin roommate eats? She seems to have it all together! She has the exact body that I want so if I copy her, maybe I'll get a similar physique”
It’s understandable that you’d want to lean on somebody else's food and exercise choices since your own haven’t been going that well.
The problem is they are not you, and you are not them. You have a unique body with unique needs.
THE PROBLEM WITH COMPARING WHAT YOU EAT TO OTHERS
PERPETUATING LACK OF SELF TRUST
When you’re constantly comparing and even copying what you eat to others, it perpetuates a lack of self-trust. It’s the exact opposite of what we want to be doing when finding food freedom.
Every time you choose to copy that friend’s food choices, you’re confirming to yourself that you can’t be trusted. That someone else’s choices are better suited to you than your own decisions. It’s another vote against yourself every time.
NOT PRACTICING FOOD FREEDOM
Another issue with copying other’s food choices is it creates less room to practice food freedom tools like listening to your hunger and fullness cues. You may choose to eat exactly when, how often, and how much someone else does - that is certainly going to hinder your ability to get back to a place of self-trust. It’s continuing to silence and ignore your own hunger and fullness cues.
Food freedom is about FREEDOM! While before you may have been caging yourself in your own set of food rules, now by copying someone else you’re still withholding freedom because someone else is essentially making your choices for you.
DENYING YOUR OWN NEEDS
As mentioned, your body is unique. It has its own set of needs at any given time. You are not the same as your friend/roommate.
Your body might be in the Luteal phase of your cycle, while your friend’s may not be. Did you know that during your Luteal phase your body actually needs more calories each day? So by copying someone else, you may be restricting your body.
Maybe your body needs rest and repair but you’re still forcing yourself to copy that friend who’s out running a 6-miler.
Copying someone else’s food and body choices will mean denying your own needs. One of the biggest parts of getting out of the binge-restrict cycle, as taught in the 30 Day Reboot, is listening to your needs and fulfilling them in a healthy way.
YOUR MIGHT NOT KNOW THE FULL STORY
One other issue with comparing to and copying someone else’s food/body choices: you might not know the whole picture!
That person whom you are copying, for all you know, might be struggling with disordered eating too! As you probably know, most of us keep it very secret so that person might be too.
Maybe they have certain intolerances or medical issues that you don’t - or vice versa! So why copy someone who has a different body?
HOW TO STOP COMPARING TO OTHERS FOOD CHOICES?
At the root of it, we need to regain trust in ourselves to listen to and respect our body’s needs.
How can we do this?
1. START YOUR FOOD FREEDOM JOURNEY
It is a hell of a lot easier to trust yourself with food choices when you’re not binge eating all the time. So if you are struggling with binge-eating, emotional eating, over-eating - I highly recommend addressing that first. Once you’ve stabilised that, you’ll be feeling so much more calm and clear - you’ll regain a lot of that lost confidence. (See the 30 Day Reboot for help with this)
2. PRACTICE LISTENING TO HUNGER AND FULLNESS CUES
Your body is wise. Those hunger and fullness cues are there for a reason! Something I teach in the 30 Day Reboot is how to get back in touch with those cues. Every time you follow through with honouring those cues, it’s a vote in favour of trusting yourself again.
3. START MAKING DECISIONS TO STOP COPYING OTHERS
So far we’ve discussed focusing on your own food freedom journey by alleviating the bingeing, getting out of that binge-restrict cycle, and listening to your body’s needs. Something you can also do is notice when you are comparing to someone else’s food choices - catch yourself in that moment! Make that mico-decision to choose yourself this time.
It might be difficult at first but aim for just ONCE this week to catch yourself. It’s ok if all the other times you do copy someone else. We just need that ONE time to begin with.
Maybe you notice that someone else is not ordering dessert but you really want it. Catch yourself deciding against the dessert! Come back to what YOU want. And act on that - order that dessert.
Phrases that could help in this situation are:
“I’m rebuilding trust in my own body”
“My body has unique needs”
“I’m choosing to listen to my own desires and needs”
You could even point out to yourself how you and that person are different. Remind yourself that they are a different height/weight/age to you and therefore likely need a different amount of calories daily. Remind yourself that they have different favourite foods than you. Remind yourself that they may prefer different exercise styles than you.
Change is always possible - I’ve seen so many clients go from copying every single thing their roommate ate, to feeling free in their own body and respecting their needs and desires.
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