“I am so fat.” “I hate my body.” “How come she eats all day and doesn’t get fat?” “I want to eat that. I can’t eat that. It will make me fat. I feel fat. I want to eat it. This isn’t fair!” “When am I allowed to eat again?” “I am starting my diet tomorrow so we have to go out to eat tonight.”
In today’s society, minds are hijacked by constant talk and thoughts of dieting and food.The endless negative self-talk in our heads enslaves us. We measure our value by what we eat, how much we work out, the number on the scale, and the size of our clothing. We berate ourselves for not looking the way we are supposed to and wonder what is wrong with us. Our minds are obsessed with the forbidden and fixated on what is consumed. We go from diet to diet looking for a solution and freedom from these preoccupations and thoughts. We keep on trying and we keep on failing.
It’s a Relationship
Every person has a natural body size, set-point weight, and metabolism. However, to dispel the well-believed myth, weight issues are not a fight with the body but a fight with the mind. The main difference between a person who seems to easily maintain his or her stature and the chronic dieter is a difference in their relationship with food. People who have a healthy relationship with food don’t think of food as the enemy. They realize that the body and brain need fuel to function and the source of that fuel is food.
When food becomes the enemy it becomes so much more alluring. This awakens the cycle of disordered food behaviors, which are rampant in our country. Signs of an unhealthy relationship with food include binge eating, fasting, increased anxiety around food, avoidance of a major food group such as carbohydrates or fats, using dieting pills or laxatives, and attempts to vomit. NEDA, The National Eating Disorders Association, reports that about 35% of “normal dieters” develop a pattern of pathological dieting. In fact, dieting is the most common form of disordered eating and the greatest predictor of future or current weight gain.
People with disordered eating, have a greater inability to cope with stressful situations, increased feelings of failure and guilt, sleep disturbances, constipation, diarrhea, and weight gain.
It is normal to hear people label themselves as “good” or “bad” based on how they fuel their body. However, food nourishes our brains and bodies and gives us the ability to function in our lives. The “diet” mentality omits this very vital message.
End the Battle
Infants and children are born with the innate ability to request food when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full. This is known as intuitive eating. Many of us lose this ability as we grow up.
To free ourselves of food preoccupations we have to face the fear of food and learn to become in touch with our innate intuitive eater. Practicing intuitive eating can help people acquire healthy eating habits, make peace with the relationship between food and their bodies, and eventually reach their stable natural weight. You can learn more about intuitive eating at intuitiveeating.com or check out the book Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole.
What are your thoughts? Have you or has someone you know experienced disordered eating? Share you thoughts, comments and questions below.