Your Food Problem Isn't About Food

05/18/2015 11:05 pm ET | Updated May 16, 2016

Do you have a "food problem"?

I just can't seem to stop eating peanut butter once I start.

I know that I'm not supposed to eat too many carbs or sugar, but I do it anyway.

I'm always eating way more than I should.

And, most of the time, we blame it on our lack of willpower, or on the food itself.

If cookies weren't so delicious, I would be able to stop eating them.

If I had more willpower, I wouldn't have eaten four slices of cake at the office birthday party.

Well, I've got some news for you. Some news that may completely change your perspective.

Your food problem isn't about food.

And it's not about eating, or the fact that you need more willpower around Krispy Kremes.

It's everything else.

I know that can be hard to hear.

If it was about food, then you could just find the perfect diet, and everything would be fixed.

But your food problem isn't about food.

And until you figure out what is going on with the Everything Else that's causing you to have a Food Problem, you will always have a food problem.

What is going on with your relationships?

With your career?

With your feelings about ambition, about authenticity, about success, about your story of who you "should" be in the world, and who you actually are?

With your family and their expectations, with your friends and their needs?

What is going on with how you spend your day and how you'd like to spend your morning, evening, and night?

Let me say this another way:

Are you dressing, moving, talking, laughing, loving, walking, sleeping, working, thinking and striving in a way that expresses your deepest, most truthful self?

One of my deepest beliefs is that food problems are barely about food at all. They are much more a sign that our lives are not in alignment.

Sure, there are practices that we need to do to examine our eating more closely (like eating when we're hungry, stopping when we're full, and eating without distractions), but really, the point of those practices is that they are the warning bell.

If we're eating when we're not hungry, something else is going on.

If we're eating past fullness, something else is going on.

If we always need to be distracted, something else is going on.

So if you find it abhorrently uncomfortable even to contemplate not reading or going on your phone while you eat lunch, you have to figure out what's up.

Is it uncomfortable to think of eating without distractions because you never get any time to yourself and this is your time to relax and have fun?

Or because when you put down your distractions, all kinds of thoughts and feelings come up that are completely overwhelming?

Or because you feel really awkward eating without distractions because nobody else at your office does?

Whatever your answer, it gives you a treasure chest of information about how you spend your day, how you deal with feelings and thoughts, and what your relationship is to your job.

You might need more time to relax.

You might need to deeply investigate your thoughts.

You might need to re-evaluate what you want out of your job.

I am extremely, intensely, passionately interested in this.

I am extremely, intensely, passionately interested in your deepest truth, your wants and needs and desires and everything you hate but think you should love.

I'm not particularly interested in dieting, or a perfect 10-step system for weight loss management.

But I am extremely interested in using food as a lens to understand core, essential insights about what we do and do not want from life.

And if you seize that opportunity -- if you truly look deeply into what is driving your behavior around food -- you have the potential both to make peace with food, and radically improve your life as a whole.

And who doesn't want that?

Wondering if your eating, exercise, and life could feel more authentic and easy? Check out Katie's free "What's Your Eating Style" ebook, with recommendations tailored just for you.

If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.