The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.
~ Brian Sutton-Smith
There is a direct correlation between how fulfilling and juicy your life is and how much overeating you do. A life of all work, chores, and duty is a set up that leads to looking for fun and excitement in food.
Whenever I take on a new client, one of the first things I ask is, “What do you do for fun?” This is usually followed by dead silence or “not much.”
Part of what I do is to help people find other paths to fun and fulfillment besides filling their tummies. My own recovery from overeating became long lasting when I shifted my focus from food and into my creativity. A study of people who lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off showed they credited finding other areas of fulfillment a significant factor in keeping their weight off. In other words, food was no longer a central focus in their lives.
Many people I work with will readily admit their lives are dull, lacking in excitement, or not fulfilling in many ways, and yet when I offer suggestions for change, great resistance comes up. Even though they may be miserable, they’re afraid to take risks and move beyond their comfort zones. Unfortunately, you can’t have a juicy life without taking risks.
The price of an exciting, fun and fulfilling life is discomfort. Playing it safe will never get you anywhere except being bored, restless, discontent, and wondering what to eat next. You don’t have to change everything; sometimes all that’s needed is scheduling more time for fun or exploring new hobbies and interests.
But here lies the problem. Many people think fun is frivolous. They feel if they’re not doing something productive, they shouldn’t be doing it at all. They often feel guilty when they’re enjoying themselves. Their lives are bound by what they “should” be doing. This kind of attitude squelches all the joy out of living. As women, we can always find stuff around the house to do, but the truth is our work will never be finished. So let’s get real. The world won’t end if your floor isn’t spotless; you feed your family leftovers or take-out one night; or if you leave the vacuuming or dusting for next week. You have to make a shift in your priorities. Otherwise, you will continue to seek thrills in brownies or cupcakes.
I find the biggest obstacles to branching out and trying new things are:
- Not giving yourself permission to have fun and explore new things.
- Fear of looking silly or foolish.
- Fear of what others will think.
- Fear of making mistakes.
- Expecting yourself to do whatever you attempt perfectly.
All of this is about fear. You can get past your fear by taking small risks and seeing for yourself, that even if any of the above things happen, your world won’t come crashing down. So what if you look silly? So what if you’re not Picasso the first time you try to paint something? So what if your next door neighbor thinks you’re a regressive juvenile for going down the giant water slide? She will secretly envy you and wish she had the gumption to do whatever it is you’re attempting to do. In fact, she may even join you.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
As summer approaches, I suggest cooking up some new adventures for yourself. On my summer vacation, I plan on going down a giant water slide, riding the roller coaster at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, and I’m planning on taking up roller skating this summer.
And my response to any of you who are thinking I’m a bit old (almost 60) to be doing these things is…
I gave up caring what other people think of me a long time ago. It’s the only way to have true freedom and real joy in life.
Are you planning some fun summer adventures? Tell me about them in the comments!
Are you ready to create a juicy life with more fun and less overeating? Contact me. I offer a free consultation.