Posted by mmorand on March 30, 2012
This is Part VI in our Diet Mentality series (visit The CEDRIC Centre blog for immediate access to all articles in this series).
If you’re new to our community, welcome!
You’ll fit right in here if you are an emotional eater, find that you binge, restrict, or struggle with anorexia, bulimia or some other stressful way of relating to food and want to learn how to stop.
All righty! In the past few weeks we’ve covered:
This week we’re going to explore the topic you love to hate: Your weight!
In the diet mentality perspective on life your weight is the central focus of your life.
You base decisions about what you can have, do and be on how much weight you have lost or gained.
Therefore, if you have gained a bit you feel deserving of punishment and will attempt to restrict yourself or isolate yourself.
If you have lost weight you feel more deserving of “treats” and feel more positive self-regard.
The truth is, once your self-esteem becomes attached to a number on a scale or a particular pant size you’re in big trouble. This is because now you’re attaching all your worth to one thing which makes any human obsessed about that one thing, which means we get in there and micro-manage that one thing and pretty soon we forget how to just be normal and natural and let our body do what it naturally does (eat when hungry, stop when full and be a natural healthy weight without effort).
The more we attach our worth to what we look like the more insecure we get. And heaven forbid we are unlucky enough to have an acquaintance or partner or family member who has their own body image issues and feels entitled to point out when we’ve gained weight or that we really shouldn’t be eating that…
A natural eater will receive comments like that from a place of neutrality. It’s simply the other person’s opinion, not THE truth! We might, as natural eaters fielding comments about our weight, ask the person “What’s your intention in saying that?”
Or in response to comments about what we’re eating we might say, “Really? I disagree! Everything is okay in moderation. I love this stuff! I’m really enjoying it! Want some?”
In any case, we don’t feel like we’ve been stabbed through the heart for all to see. We don’t get embarrassed and take on their opinions/questions like they are true or right.
That’s just all or nothing thinking to assume that there is only one ‘right’ way to think or look at a situation. And that way of thinking is what got you into this pickle in the first place. In truth, there is always more than one valid perspective – they can judge all they want and we can still be right to eat whatever the hell we want!
As natural eaters we are content in our relationship with food.
We have integrity as natural eaters because we eat when we’re hungry, stop when we’re comfortably full and we know that we can have anything in moderation and not gain weight because we’ve done it! Therefore we just don’t get hooked into other people’s diet mentality and judgements about good and bad foods and weight.
Once you’ve had a few months of natural eating under your belt and you see that not only do you not gain weight, you actually come naturally, without effort, to a balanced weight for your body, you’ll be able to be around these judgemental, all or nothing thinkers and you just won’t get hooked.
I know it’s true because I’ve experienced that for many years now and I hear this feedback from clients all the time.
It’s the lack of integrity you feel that hooks you when someone else judges you.
You yourself currently believe that you shouldn’t be eating that thing.
You yourself currently believe that you should weigh less and look differently than you do.
It’s your own belief system and your own judgements of yourself that hook you into thinking others are right to judge you.
The solution lies in figuring out what is truly ‘right.’ What is rational and reasonable to expect of yourself in order for you to be happy and peaceful in your own skin?
And what currently stands in the way of you doing that?
Once you identify what is reasonable and what the barriers are to you attaining that sweet spot of peace and comfort in your body you can being to get tools and take the steps you need to take in order live in that sweet spot 24/7.
That’s when life truly begins. Right now you’re just treading water – half-in, but always distracted by how you have to be more, be different, be thinner. That’s not life, that’s purgatory.
For your own inner review this week how about answering the questions:
What are you waiting for? What do you tell yourself you can’t do or have or be until you weigh X or take X pant size?
How long have you been telling yourself that? How long have you been putting off fully embracing life?
What have you tried in the past in order to get yourself to that ‘good enough’ place?
If you lost the ability to blame yourself for those things not working out what other explanation would you offer yourself? What would a friend or caring family member offer as an explanation?
What stands in the way of you believing that?
Have fun exploring these questions. The more clearly you see where your thinking is tripping you up the easier it is to side-step it completely.
Feel free to share your answers with me – let’s create a dialogue around this in our CEDRIC community. Your sharing helps others to know they’re not alone and vice versa.
Have a great week.
- 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.
- We’ve also addressed the stress of labeling foods as good/bad legal/illegal and the nasty consequences of doing so.
- And we’ve talked about what happens when we get stuck in rules about when we can eat rather than just listening to our body’s natural cues of hunger and fullness.
- My last article discussed the biggie of engaging in all or nothing thinking regarding food and meals.
Tags: all-or-nothing thinking, Chronic dieting, compulsive eating, dieting, eating disorder treatment, eating disorders, how much you weight, overweight, restricting food, self esteem, self love, self worth, the diet mentality, triggers
2012, Relationship with Food, The Diet Mentality Series
Hey, Michelle, another great article in another great series of articles. I swear, these archives are gold!
I wanted to address that list of questions you’ve given us. I remember when I first did this exercise after reading the Diet Mentality chapter in “Food Is Not The Problem.” I was amazed at how much I had always wanted to do, and how little of it I had even stayed in touch with as desires, all because I was so focused on how unacceptable I looked. Whew! It’s staggering.
In fact, at the time, there were some things I thought I was really too heavy to do—some kinds of physical activities I had always loved, or had always wanted to try, especially. What I realized doing this exercise, is that it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t, it was all about my conditioning around how those activities should be done and what people should look like when they do them. In fact—and admittedly, this took some encouraging self-talk and just plain courage—it was by overcoming this all-or-nothing thinking that I was at last able to even allow myself to try one or two of those activities I had convinced myself I could/should/would never try unless and until I saw myself as “acceptable” physically in the eyes of others.
It was such an important step for me, because as soon as I allowed myself to engage, I began to see clearly that, yes, because of my size, I would be wise to engage moderately (what? that was a new word for me!), but that engaging in a way that was respectful of my physical needs and limitations was so much fun—and so beneficial to me physically and emotionally. The integrity I felt caring for my needs in that way had the effect of taking my focus off the way I looked and how I ate, which resulted in better and more effortless self-care in all areas of my life, which ultimately resulted in the physical changes that are the inevitable result!
I wanted to write as someone who has had such life-enhancing experiences as a result of my confidence in the CEDRIC methods, to say that the self-examination you suggest in this article is so key to moving forward and to living the weight-and-food-focus-free life for which we all yearn.
big grateful hugs to you and to all my kindred spirits out there—Suzanne
Thank you so much for this Suzanne!
I am so glad that you’ve had such a positive change in your life from exploring this process with me and in the privacy of your own home.
And thank you for taking the time to share your experience with others. I know it will motivate CEDRIC readers to give these exercises a try and then they can begin to experience some of the same great freedom and joy that you are!!
I get the part about giving yourself permission to eat anything, not restricting and listening to your body. I guess the part that is less clear for me is that I still need to restrict and control my behaviour when it comes to desperately wanting food to cope with emotions and yet knowing I need to chose another method of dealing with it. In a way that is a form of restricting. How is that different than restricting what I allow myself to eat? Will this not result in the same unfavourable outcomes? I am confused!
thanks for sharing your confusion. If you’re feeling it i’m sure others are too.
The CEDRIC Method has 2 key aspects.
1. Specific tools and information for addressing your confused thinking about food and for learning how to just eat naturally again (this is what we’re exploring in our diet mentality series and when we talk about natural eating.)
2. 3 Simple and Specific tools for dealing with the emotional drive to eat or restrict. These tools help you to explore your thinking and your present day situations to find out what is triggering you and to quickly come to clarity about what to do to solve your problems and relieve your stress.
You need to be working on both sides in order to be able to not only know what a natural relationship with food looks like but to be able to take the steps you need to take to create it.
Our web program, workshops and individual counselling provide these tools in ways that are easy to understand and don’t require years of therapy to practice in your own life.
Give me a call or shoot me an email if you’d like to ask some questions about what would be the best way for you to get the support you need to make this all come together and to have a life that is free of food stress.