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:
- 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.
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.