A thought experiment

Here’s a thought experiment: 

You walk into your kitchen and there’s ugly, black, billowing smoke filling the room. The smoke alarm screeching so loud you can barely think. Do you:

(a) Yell at your smoke detector and tear it off the wall.
(b) Open the window so smoke can escape, then go back to watching Netflix in your living room.
(c) Drive to the store and buy an elaborate smoke removal hood for your stove. That way you can get rid of smoke more quickly next time.


 Ha ha, good joke, Katie, you might be thinking.

While billowing smoke and a loud smoke detector are annoying, it’s clear to most of us that they are just symptoms. 

The real danger is the fire.

So there’s no reason to yell or be angry at the smoke alarm. In fact, it sounds almost ridiculous. Why would anyone be mad at the smoke alarm?

The smoke alarm is loud. It hurts your ears. It stops you from enjoying your day. It causes all kinds of problems, except thank freaking goodness for that smoke alarm.

Can you see where I’m going here?

If you’re someone who is frustrated with their eating — who feels like they frequently eat more than they intend to, who sometimes feels in a trance or out of control around food — it’s very, very easy to feel upset with your eating.

But getting upset with your eating is like yelling at a smoke alarm.

Thank freaking goodness for that smoke alarm.


Of course, in this thought experiment, it’s easy to understand what “the fire” is. It may be much harder to see, understand, and address the “fire” in your own life. You might be thinking: Is my eating really a symptom of something else? If so, what?

I totally understand you concerns. Let me address them:

  1. Yes. Based on my experience in my own life and with many people I’ve worked with, I strongly believe that your eating, if it feels out-of-control or like it’s not serving you, is inextricably linked to other parts of your life.

  2. It’s not always obvious what the relationship between your eating and the rest of your life is. In fact, there’s a good chance that the relationship is complex and nuanced. It might be related to things that you don’t know how to look for.

  3. That’s where support can be useful. We all have blind spots. It’s sometimes hard to see ourselves clearly.

Support can take many forms, and I’ve mentioned a lot of options — including many free things you can try — on this blog over the past few years (here is the complete archives!).

But since it’s that special time of year…may I suggest joining a Dessert Club?

Dessert Clubs are 8-week, small-group classes in how to have a happier, less-“smoke-y” relationship with food and your body. We do challenging and deep work together to figure out how to actually change. There are 9 people or less, and it feels like gathering with the most caring, supportive group of people who truly get what you’re going through.

Here’s what one past participant said about her experience in the Dessert Club:

“Before joining the Dessert Club, I felt like they would never be a time when I didn't have an issue with food. I was in a hopeless cycle of restriction and bingeing. And I felt anxious about any attempts to solve the issue as I was nervous I would put on weight.

“The love and kindness I received from the other women involved in the group [was the best part]. Although we were all at different stages and our problems unique, we could all offer each other support and the feeling that we were not alone

“[To other people who are struggling], I'd say relax. It's okay to get help. Stop carrying the burden alone. You can work through things at your own pace, you don't have to do anything you're uncomfortable with and you may just change your life for the better. For me the Dessert Club will be the best decision I've made to help me grow as a person and enjoy life to the fullest. I would recommend it to anyone who feels they struggle with their eating, however great or small they feel their issues are.”

— Anita

Dessert Clubs start up in early March, and I only offer them twice a year. If you’d like to learn more or grab a spot, you can do so here.

And, as always, I’m sending you strength and support for the week ahead. You’ve got this.



p.s. Of course, this thought experiment doesn’t just apply to our relationship with food. I also think it is particularly relevant to how many of us relate to technology, and you could apply it to many more situations where you seem to be acting in a way that doesn’t serve you. How could that “thing” be smoke?

p.p.s. Here are the dates for the upcoming Dessert Clubs!

Tuesdays, starting March 5, 2019
5 pm PST/8 pm EST

Wednesdays, starting March 6, 2019
7 pm PST/10 pm EST