Posted by mmorand on February 24, 2012
Welcome, This is Part IV in our How to Get Free of the Diet Mentality series (visit The CEDRIC Centre blog for immediate access to all articles in this series).
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.
So far in this article series we’ve 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. And last week we talked about labeling foods as good/bad legal/illegal and the nasty consequences of doing so.
In case you’re not aware (because you’re new to our community and to this process), The Diet Mentality is at the core of your stressful relationship with food. It is the way of thinking and behaving with food that arises from confused thinking and stressful situations in your past, present and future. As long as you continue to believe that The Diet Mentality has any merit, you will continue to struggle with food and body image and with those underlying stressors that are triggering this way of thinking and behaving in the first place.
On that note, this week I want to educate you on another core trait of The Diet Mentality:
You restrict eating to certain times of the day – whether you are hungry or not. This means both eating at traditional mealtimes when you are not hungry and not allowing yourself to eat after a certain time of day despite feelings of hunger.
This might sound perfectly normal to you and if it does you’ve got a very bad case of TDM. Don’t fret. The solution truly is simple.
Some part of your brain probably gets that the concept of not allowing yourself to eat when you are hungry is completely irrational. Your body knows when it needs food and how much it needs much better than Jenny Craig or Dr. Bernstein, don’t you think?
If you said no, ask yourself why?
Why can’t you trust the signals from your body about when you’re hungry?
Is it that you have been known to binge/overdo it when you eat?
Maybe you binge because you are mistrustful of the natural hunger signals in your body and you wait too long to eat and then when you finally do, you’re ravenous. If this is you, it may help you to know that studies show that all people, even the healthiest eaters will binge if they are ravenous when they next get around food. (See our initial Diet Mentality article for some statistics and references on this concept.)
Or maybe you binge because you are using food as a coping strategy to numb and soothe you; to distract and comfort you; and to raise the dopamine levels in your brain through the release of chemicals (opiates) that most binge foods contain.
This is where we at CEDRIC come in. If this is you it is imperative that you learn to simultaneously tune in to the natural hunger and fullness cues of your body and learn to identify and resolve stressful thoughts and experiences in life-enhancing ways that build self-esteem, confidence and trust.
Maybe you don’t trust your signals of hunger because you don’t believe you could possibly be hungry because it isn’t time yet, or because it’s only been half an hour or an hour or two hours since your last meal?
This is highly confused Diet Mentality thinking. If you appreciate that food is just fuel for your body then it makes sense that your body will need different amounts of fuel each day at different times of the day depending on what you did the day before and what you are expecting of your body that day. Just like your car. You can get by with a lot less gas if you’re just going down the street to the mall today but you’ll need a lot more gas if you’re driving across town and even more if you’re taking that dream vacation across Canada.
Makes sense doesn’t it? Yes it does, but the folks who create and sell us diet after diet after diet don’t seem to get it and they never teach us to learn to respect the signals of hunger and fullness or that it’s normal to need more food some days than you will on other days. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure and can’t stick to your diet! It simply means you need more fuel today.
That’s a big part of why diets don’t work – they don’t roll with the natural ebb and flow of your activity and fatigue levels and so naturally there will be times when you don’t need to eat but the diet plan says you should, just as there will be times when you are starving an hour before you are “allowed” to eat your next meal.
Or maybe you don’t trust your signals of hunger simply because you aren’t confident that you know when you’re truly hungry vs. just suffering from indigestion or some other physiological issue.
Even clients who have been ignoring or overriding their hunger signals for years (often decades) find that with a little guidance from us, they are able within 48 hours to be confident in their ability to identify true hunger vs. indigestion, fatigue, and an emotional or stress hunger.
It then becomes much easier to respond appropriately and to know when you need to eat or when you need to use your tools for identifying and managing underlying stressors appropriately.
I could go on for a while about other possible reasons you’re stuck in this aspect of The Diet Mentality but I bet you’re starting to get the gist.
For this week challenge yourself to grant yourself permission to wait until you’re truly physically hungry to eat and then let yourself eat, regardless of what time it is or when you last ate. Listen to your body not Dr. Atkins, Suzanne Somers, or even Oprah’s latest fad.
And, if this makes perfect sense to you but you just don’t have a clue how to even begin to trust yourself to just eat when hungry and stop when full, let us help. We’re experts and we’ve helped thousands of men and women worldwide to do just that. Reach out to us for an individual session or join our web program or attend a workshop or even better, join us for a personalized healing program.
Whichever route you choose, in just a few short weeks you can begin to experience a sense of peace and ease in life and around food that you have never experienced before. And you’ll know it will stick because it’s not coming from some externally imposed diet/program it’s coming from your own inner sense of what you need, when, and why.
Have a great week.
Tags: binge eating, bulimia, Chronic dieting, dieting, eat naturally, eat when you are hungry, Listen to your body, restricting, restricting when you're hungry, rigid eating, stop eating when you are full, The_Diet_Mentality, trust your hunger signals, using food to cope
Complete Recovery, Natural Eating 101, Relationship with Food, The Diet Mentality Series, Tips for Natural Eating