When we were brainstorming to try and come up with a name for our online program, “Feeling Focused”, we had an expert in branding come in to our session and help us. One of the questions he asked us to think about was “If your program was a car, what kind of car would it be?”. The point of this question is to try and determine who we are trying to reach with our program – so a “Mercedes” type program would be elite, premium and appeal to an older, more discerning group, whereas a “Mini” type program would appeal to a younger, more ‘fun’ audience. We all learned something new about each other on that day when we revealed our car choices!
About three days later, my husband came home from a rugby match with a book he had been given as a gift. Called “Cooking with Balls”, it is a book of recipes that were worked on jointly between international rugby players, and the highest level of chefs in England. Reading the introduction, I was struck by another reference to cars made by Ben Kay (England rugby team player).
Here it is:
“At the top level at least, gone are the days of the beer swilling, pot-bellied amateur player, replaced by a highly trained machine. And as our trainers and nutritionists constantly tell us, “a machine only runs as well as the fuel you put into it – you wouldn’t put diesel into a Ferrari!”
This whole “car” analogy got me thinking about my clients, and about the conversations I have with them around eating badly, or eating well but then bingeing, or simply not eating.
Body 1: “ My body is big and ugly, therefore I don’t feel motivated to particularly look after it” – food is just fuel, it’s not important what it is, just put it in to make the machine work. What sort of car might this body be like? A big clunky pick-up truck? With loads of junk in the back? What if you decided you wanted to be a practical jeep or SUV, attractive and functional? What sort of fuel might you use then? Or what other type of car might you like to be, and what fuel would THAT car need?
Body 2: “I try to look after my body by eating well, but then something happens and I just ‘dump’ loads of bad stuff into it”.
What does this car look like? Probably an attractive car, that’s kept clean, taxed and insured, but when you get up close and look inside, it’s a mess, with junk on the floors and back seat? So what if the owner decided to try and keep the inside of the car looking like the outside? What difference might that make?
Body 3: “I really want my body to look different to how it does now, so I’m going to force it to bend to my will” – is the car in the ‘vision’ a small, uncomfortable, impractical sports car, that looks nice but serves no real purpose, breaks down a lot and can only fit one person? If you decided then to be a sleek compact with comfortable seats, a decent trunk and the ability to bring other people with you on your journeys, how might you fuel your ‘car’ differently?
The car analogy is useful in order to begin thinking about your body in a different way. By hating on your body and resenting it for not doing what you want it to do, you can fall into the trap of then disrespecting your body and actually perpetuating the very thing you hate. By eating bad food, or bingeing, or starving yourself because of how you feel about your body, you are ensuring nothing changes, and so the cycle continues.
There are a whole host of reasons why you might hate your body, many of which are subconscious, and started much earlier in your life than you might realise. Session 4 of our online program, “The Clean Plate Club”, gives you a chance to explore where the origins of your low self-worth lie, and offer some new ways of thinking and behaving towards yourself that can create a really positive shift in how you think and behave towards yourself.
By the way, we ultimately agreed that ‘Feeling Focused’ is a Volkswagen Golf… strong, reliable, suitable for lots of different people, and can be adapted from the basic ‘entry level’ model right up to a fully loaded, customised version. So whether you simply need some guidance around understanding how your thoughts and feelings affect your eating, or you are struggling with an Eating Disorder and want to explore recovery, our program can help.
Pick a car that represents YOU, your personality, your values, your belief systems. Then choose to fuel that car appropriately, and see what happens.