Have you ever been addicted to something that’s hurting you, and yet you continue to do it?—Snacking late at night, eating until you’re full and feeling gross and hating yourself, vowing to never do it again, only to repeat the exact same process the next day? Have you ever wondered why it’s so difficult to break free, to “be good”, or stick to a diet? Do you know what it’s like to be discouraged and felt like you will never reach your goals?
It’s not that you don’t have enough will power to succeed. It’s because beneath it all, you don’t want to succeed. Though you may not realize it, on some level you like the way things are right now. It’s working for you, because either consciously or subconsciously, you mistakenly believe that these problematic behaviours and destructive habits will satisfy what I like to call the Root Need.
Root Need: The emotional/physical/psychological motivation that controls and fuels your eating habits, cravings, and decisions. It is a highly influential, yet often invisible factor.
-You could be seeking comfort, validation, acceptance, or almost anything else. It’s never just about food.
-Every time you sabotage yourself, it’s because you are believing a lie about what will satisfy your Root Need.
-The Root Need in itself is not wrong. It is both natural and necessary. However, the lies, which are often even more difficult to spot than the Root Need itself, are extremely dangerous and must be eliminated in order for you to take ground in the war and move towards your Objective.
Three Different Types of Root Needs
1) Emotional Root Need:
-Let’s say you work at a fast-paced, strenuous job, and you find yourself always strained, tired, and unable to stop snacking, whether during long days at the office or late nights at home.
-You may be turning to food, not only because you don’t have time for proper meals with your hectic schedule, but because the food distracts you from acknowledging the Root Need, which could be the need for approval from your bosses, acceptance at your workplace, or the desire to succeed.
-In this situation, the lie you’re believing is that if you want to escape from the stress and demands of your job, you should keep snacking. But snacking can never set you free.
-Not only does the lie bury the Root Need, by covering your need for approval with the desire to escape, but the lie denies you the satisfaction that only the Root Need can provide.
-Snacking will not help you escape from the stress, it will add stress, along with guilt and discomfort. It will prevent you from facing the problem head on: understanding your need for approval and dealing with it, instead of turning to food, which will fill you repeatedly, but never truly satisfy.
2) Physical Root Need:
-If your Root Need is pleasure, enjoyment, or comfort, you enjoy food for the sake of immediate gratification, the rush of sugar, the “party in your mouth”, as Dr. Phil so eloquently puts it. And who wouldn’t want that?
-Food is a wonderful gift that is meant to be enjoyed, but it can be so easily contaminated by even the subtlest lie.
-For example, if you unconsciously believe the lie that a healthy lifestyle—perhaps fewer treats and smaller food portions—will deprive you of happiness, you may begin to self-sabotage your own efforts. You may begin to feel resentful about and restricted by your healthy food choices. You may have a voice in your head, telling you that you will never have fun again. Never eat another ice cream sandwich. Never enjoy all the things you deserve to have.
-So what do you do? You “cheat”. You sneak bites from the snack table, trying to eat fast enough that you won’t notice yourself doing it. You tell yourself that this is what you want, this will make you happy. But it won’t, because it’s a lie.
3) Psychological Root Need:
-Let’s create the hypothetical situation that you were a skinny teenager, while your sister struggled with her weight. Let’s also say that you held the mistaken belief that your sister was your mother’s favourite, and she loved your sister more than she loved you. Because of this, as you grew up, you may have unconsciously associated your sister’s weight with your mother’s love. Consequently, when you hit your twenties, if you begin to struggle with your own weight, it may be because your Root Need is Love, and you believe the lie that in order to be worthy of your mother’s, or anyone else’s love, you must put on more weight.
-As a result, you may feel powerless against food cravings. You may be confused as to why you can’t seem to get rid of those last few pounds or stick to your resolutions.
-Psychological Root Needs are often more complicated to unwrap, but they are just as powerful, and it is crucial to discover what they are so that you can expose and eliminate the lies surrounding them. Because these lies will never bring you the freedom you crave.
Everyone has Root Needs—it’s part of being human. We all want to be loved, to fit in, to be happy, to be comfortable. But if we want to attain these Root Needs, we must eliminate the lies that are poisoning us. We must recognize them for what they are—deadly, foul, destructive lies that are hurting us, not helping us. And then we must kill them. Because when you are at war, you must hate the enemy.
In the next post, I will coach you on how to realize your Root Need, how to expose the lies you are believing, and how to kill them. Because only then can you succeed.