Welcome! If you’re new to our community and find that you binge, restrict, or struggle with anorexia, bulimia or some other stressful way of relating to food you’ve come to the right place to learn about why you do it and what you can do to stop once and for all.
This is Part III in our Diet Mentality series. You can just start here or you can hop back a few weeks to the initial discussion of The Diet Mentality and statistics and then look at the previous Diet Mentality points to make sure you’re up to speed. Either approach will be helpful so don’t sweat it if you just want to read from here. Just do what you have time for, it will be enough.
So, we’ve already discussed the perils of both just arbitrarily restricting the amount of food you’re “allowed” to have regardless of your true hunger levels, and of feeling obligated to eat what is placed in front of you – whether or not you like it and whether or not it is too much.
This week we’re going to discuss two points rather than just one as they feed in to each other and keep a nasty cycle of food preoccupation and self-recrimination going full tilt.
1. You label foods as good or bad – legal or illegal.
2. Your thoughts about having certain foods lead to negative self-thoughts and judgements.
The problem here of course is that #1 naturally triggers #2 should you think about or, gasp, actually have one of those forbidden/bad foods. Then that makes you buy into #1 even more which creates even more judgement and labeling of yourself as lacking willpower which undermines your self-esteem and leads you, typically, to feel so hopeless and overwhelmed that you just give up and eat those ‘baaaaaad’ foods which then, in our Diet Mentality mindset makes you ‘reeeeeaaaaally baaaaaaaad.’
This makes us feel like failures and like we are never going to achieve our goals of mastery over food and comfort in our own skins.
Ugh! Stuck! Exhausting!!
This nasty feedback loop is much, much easier to completely side-step if you just remember that as long as you are physically hungry when you start eating, and comfortably full when you stop, you can eat whatever the hell you want and still be a natural weight for your body without rigorous exercise, diet pills, surgery, or any other Diet Mentality throwback. Yes, you can. I’ve experienced this myself for 17 years now and I’ve personally seen 100’s of clients over that same period of time do the same.
The trick of course is waiting until you’re hungry to eat (or letting it be okay to eat when you are hungry if you’re on the dieting/restricting side of things) and staying tuned enough to know when you’re comfortably full and being able to stop rather than getting hooked by your all or nothing thinking and kicking in to a full on binge.
You see, if you’re not able to wait until you’re hungry to eat or you won’t let yourself eat when you are hungry it means you’re using food to cope. The solution is to learn to stop focusing on food then and focus instead on what is triggering you to feel so stressed and overwhelmed that it could possibly make sense to binge or starve yourself. It’s not a rational thing to do so clearly, if you’re doing it, you’re not thinking clearly. That’s why you feel so out of control – you know it’s not rational; you know it’s not what you want to do but still you find yourself doing it day after day, week after week…
At CEDRIC we teach you how to notice when you’re not thinking clearly and then teach you a simple step by step process for figuring out what’s up and what to do about it that will actually solve your problem rather than create a new one.
And if you’re not able to stop when you feel comfortably full it’s because you’re thinking in an extreme way that sounds something like:
“Well I’ve already had more than I was supposed to (Note The Diet Mentality?) so I may as well have it all and start again tomorrow!”
Rationally this makes no sense. Why would it be better to eat a tonne rather than stopping when you’re just a little overfull? Well because you need to numb out/check out/soothe and nurture yourself some way and food is the way you know best and this seems like a legitimate excuse to do so. After all the day is already ruined – call it a bust and start again tomorrow. This is Diet Mentality and not going to get you where you want to go.
The voice that triggers you to binge might also sound something like:
“I might not get to have this again so I’d better have it all now!”
Again, note The Diet Mentality in that you are firm in your belief that it is a bad/illegal food and therefore this is a special circumstance. Imagine how much you’d buy into this story if you trusted yourself to let yourself have whatever you wanted when you were hungry for food? You’d not only be able to enjoy it but you wouldn’t need to overeat because you could have it any time.
Play around with these ideas for the next week. See what objections come up and know that my team and I at CEDRIC have a concrete, rational answer for every single one that will help you step free completely from The Diet Mentality.
Have a great week.