Any type of addiction is difficult to break free from, and a key part of the recovery process is identifying a person’s ‘big why’.
Powerful consequences and painful realisations bring clients to my door, and they often haven’t found the motivation to heal yet, as they are usually operating from a place of hurt, confusion, and desperation.
They know that change must happen, but they are often unsure what positive change looks like, exactly why it is needed, and what they are prepared (and able) to do to ensure it occurs.
A ‘big why’ provides the motivation, focus, and reassurance that the effort change requires is worth it.
What A Big Why Might Look Like
A ‘big why’ is a highly personal concept, and no two individuals would have exactly the same incentives for beating food addiction.
Perhaps your clients’ ‘big why’ is to:
- Increase energy and vitality
- Be generally healthier
- Improve romantic relationships
- Have more time for family
- Look and feel younger
- Increase flexibility and movement
- Avoid health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure
- Reverse health problems or reduce symptoms
From the outside looking in, we, as wellness coaches, might see a client’s ‘big why’ before they do. We hear hints in the stories they tell, the joy they experience, the times they are energised, what makes them tick. However, it is essential not to lead your client in the direction you think is right, as it’s only your opinion and what’s right for you may not be right or achievable for them!
Your client must find and identify their ‘big why’ for themselves. And when they do, a eureka moment will likely occur, and the journey to wellness becomes clearer with each step they take.
Journey to Discovery
Individuals suffering from food addiction – or any addiction for that matter – tend to experience low levels of self-worth. So, if their self-esteem is on the floor, how can we expect them to find the answer to their ‘big why’?
Addiction carries with it a heavy weight. An endless cycle of craving, obsession, and dependence overshadows all aspects of an individual’s life. Guilt and shame are common emotions, and these eclipse potential moments of joy, gratitude, and happiness.
Recovery is a journey of trial and error, experimentation, self-actualisation, and hope. As the client’s confidence and understanding of Self grows, so will their perception of the outside world. Instead of being someone who shys away from connection or has no energy to engage in hobbies, they will start to emerge, much like a butterfly from a cocoon.
At this point, their ‘big why’ is likely to spring forth, allowing them to embrace its might and carry them onwards.
I would love to share with you two of the exercises I use with my clients to aid their discovery of their ‘big why’.
Truth and Consequences Exercise
How can we hope to change without acknowledging the truth of our past actions and how we have become who we are today? This exercise cultivates a sense of mindfulness over our actions and their subsequent consequences. Sometimes, all we need is to identify the truth of our acts to make a different, more positive decision the next time around. Have your client:
- List experiences where they felt considerable shame, anger, or frustration.
- Alongside note the consequences which brought them to those experiences.
- Identify what needs to change in order not to endure those situations again.
Hope List Worksheet
This exercise aims to build a person’s sense of hope. Sometimes hope arises from watching motivational speakers, seeing friends succeed, or watching inspiring films.
Hope is a tremendously uplifting emotion, yet it is one that needs cultivating. In order to do this, we need to clearly identify where we encounter hope and connect with this place inside ourselves every day or whenever we feel self-doubt or a loss of motivation.
- Write a list of all the things that inspire hope, whether it’s people, memories, songs, places, or something else.
- Curate a scrapbook, journal, or vision board that encompasses all of these aspects, so the sense of hope becomes more visual, memorable, and impactful.
Finding a person’s ‘big why’ can seem like a daunting or overwhelming task. But little by little, piece by piece, as a person heals and transforms, their overarching desire will unfold before them.
Nobody needs to do this alone! I warmly invite you to discuss a path to food freedom with me. Please get in touch with me, Dr Bunmi Aboaba, The Food Addiction Coach, by following this link.