Posts Tagged restricting_food
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.’
Why Am I So Defensive About What I Eat?
Okay! This week I’m sharing a simple exercise that you can use to examine that lovely trait: Defensiveness and we’ll answer the question: Why am I so defensive about what I eat? It’ll also help you with the close cousin to defensiveness: Making Excuses. This exercise will help you take the first step to feeling more confident about your actions and less reactive to the comments and questions of others. Sound good? Then read on.
Often we get blindsided by certain comments or expressions or situations in general and, if we’re not grounded we can find ourselves reacting and feeling anxious and behaving as though we have to “prove” that we are right or that we are decent people or that the other person is wrong.
This tactic only ever makes us feel vulnerable, insecure and small. And it is an experience that will inevitably lead us to use our food coping strategy either by getting angry with ourselves and restricting or by feeling small and powerless and binging to numb out and nurture ourselves. Either way we lose.
So, let’s do some reconnaissance this week on this pattern.
When you notice these indicators of defensiveness and excuse making, start by zipping your lip. Even if you’re in mid-sentence. Stop talking! Excuse yourself (no pun intended), leave the room/situation as quickly as you can. You can say something like “I need to think about that, I’ll get back to you.” And go!
- When you feel like you’re put on the defensive (you’re being attacked or judged by others).
- When you’re suddenly anxious or feeling insecure with someone.
- When you feel like to have to have the “right” answer on the fly.
- When you hear yourself explaining your reasons for certain choices or actions or beliefs in a tone other than peaceful and chill.
- When you hear yourself justifying your behaviour; arguing about your rightness; rather than just acknowledging it didn’t work for the other person or that you dropped the ball, forgot, or chose not to follow through.
Before I dive in to this week’s article which is a response to a question/sharing from a newsletter reader I thought I’d share a piece of feedback I received that will help you to appreciate the value of giving this a try:
“Recently I made a comment and was judged for it. I felt terrible because this is an issue I have had before and I want so badly to be a person who is accepted and thought well of. When I went through the questions I realized that the person who had criticized me was likely insecure too and it wasn’t JUST about me. It was a helpful exercise.”
That’s great news!! I love hearing how just a few minutes of conscious, structured exploration can bring such peace and clarity!! Yay!
And now for this week’s question and answer from Anna.
“I so desperately want to be a gracious person but it seems I am always coming out with some comment that is less than gracious or some overreaction. I envy my neighbour who is truly gracious and even though I observe how it is done I can’t get there myself and often feel judged for my reactions and beat myself up repeatedly about this. I realize you can’t become someone else overnight but my progress is so slow that sometimes I feel I am peddling backwards. On the other hand if I’m constantly on guard and managing my image I feel like a boring flat person.”
Thanks for taking time to share your observations and frustrations here Anna.
For this week +-
Last week we were noticing comparisons, and the week before we were observing the tone we used to speak in certain situations and what it means about how we’re feeling and perceiving ourselves.
I have yet to receive any direct feedback on the comparison recon and will follow up with you on how to make best use of this assignment when I do. So, if you tried the exercise and are just a bit too shy or self-critical to share what you learned, remember you can always share and ask for your personal information to be kept private.
This week I want you to pay special attention to:
- Any time that you feel silly, small, stupid, or judged.
- Any time you find yourself imagining a situation in the future where something will happen that you believe will trigger those feelings of insecurity.