Well hullooooo out there! It’s week 2 of our Natural Eating series and about time we fully looked at natural eating defined. Last week, we explored the antithesis or maybe we could even say, “the nemesis” of Natural eating…..(insert ominous theme music here….): The Diet Mentality. This nasty way of thinking turns you against your body and against yourself, and sets you on a vicious cycle of diminished self-esteem and increased self-harm and loathing. It’s got to go people!! But if you’re reading this then you’re already on it!
So, last week we explored that nasty old Diet Mentality, and I asked you to keep on the lookout for any patterns of thinking or behaving that are a part of the Diet Mentality, and when you noticed them, to simply say: “That’s the diet mentality. It’s doesn’t help, never has, never will, to get me feeling good about myself and actually maintaining a natural weight for my body, so I’m not going to buy into any of those old messages and practices anymore!”
Reinforcing your awareness of what Diet Mentality is, i.e., what is not normal or helpful and therefore, what you don’t want to continue to do, is supremely important in expediting the process of recovery for you. This process of creating a normal and easy relationship with food can be speedy, or it can take a long time. It’s all about how actively you use your tools and how much time you take each day to reinforce new ways of thinking rather than just letting the old ones run away on you.
As you likely know, it’s not enough to just be aware of what you don’t want – although, clarity about what you don’t want is an important step in healing. What is, perhaps, even more important is being abundantly clear about what you do want.
- What is it you are aiming for? Ie. What would success look like to you?
- What are you trying to achieve through your reading of these articles and your study of The CEDRIC Method?
- How will you assess whether you’re getting closer to your ultimate goals for freedom and peace around food and body image?
Ask yourself these questions now, just for a minute or two, perhaps even write down your answers so you can have absolute clarity about how you will know when you’ve reached your goals.
For most of the hundreds of clients I have personally supported through this process over the past 17 years, the answer to the above questions sounds like this:
- I will feel good about my body.
- I will be a natural weight for my body.
- I will not think about food all day long.
- I will be able to be out for dinner with friends and actually focus on the conversation and not what I’m eating or what I’d like to eat or what I’m going to eat later when I get home alone.
- I will eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full. I won’t restrict, binge or purge.
- I will be able to trust myself around any food any time and know that I won’t eat it all unless I’m hungry and even then, if it’s not such a healthy choice, I will be able to trust myself to enjoy it in moderation and I won’t feel the slightest bit restricted.
Do these goals sound familiar? These are not pie-in-the-sky fantasies, these are completely attainable and reasonable goals when you apply the tools of The CEDRIC Method properly and consistently in your life.
Natural eating is a big part of the healing journey. As I’ve mentioned a few times, Natural Eating really boils down to eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. But, as you’re no doubt thinking, that’s just a definition really, it doesn’t tell you how to get from here to there. Let’s explore some key traits and thoughts that are a part of Natural Eating to fill it out a bit more for you and then for the rest of this series, we’re going to explore the practical, how to get from here to there.
As a side note, I often hear from clients that they’ve read tonnes of books on overeating/binge eating or eating disorders in general, and the one complaint they have of authors like Geneen Roth, Susie Orbach, and the like, is that they do a great job of explaining the thoughts and frustrations that are a part of disordered eating (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, Diet Mentality, etc.) but they don’t offer any concrete tools. That was my experience, too, as a person who struggled with binge eating disorder and exercise bulimia, and I found it so very frustrating that no one could/would tell me how to change the annoying patterns that were running my life. I didn’t want to commiserate, I wanted to heal!! So, if you feel the same and you appreciate the tools I share, please pass them along to anyone you think would benefit, and if you know a TV producer or book publisher – make sure you tell them about The CEDRIC Method so we can get the word out in a big way and create a world that is Diet Mentality Free.
For this week’s exercise, I encourage you to explore the basic principles of Natural Eating as outlined in Natural Eating 2011. Familiarizing yourself with the principles of Natural Eating as well as the traits of the Diet Mentality will make it so much easier for you to identify when you’re using food to cope vs. when you’re relating to food in a perfectly natural way that just feels strange because it’s new, rather than because it’s wrong.
So, have a read of the basics of Natural Eating. Please feel free to print this out, post it around the house, take it to the office and post it on the staff room fridge. Believe me, The Diet Mentality handout is a great gift to everyone and a fabulous conversation starter! Carry it in your bag/pocket, wherever! The more you read it over when you start to stress about eating or food in general, the easier it will be, right then and there to regroup and chill out and actually enjoy yourself rather than stress yourself out trying to figure out whether it’s okay to eat (if you’re hungry, it’s okay!) or whether you’re really hungry (typically, if you have to wonder, you’re not), and so on.
Have a fabulous week – and prepare to make some big changes next week with the insights you’ve gained from these two weeks of Natural Eating 101 and with the new tools we’ll be exploring.