“You have a pretty face” – “Do you really think you should
wear that?” – “Are you sure you want to eat that?”
Have any of you heard these questions before? I’d bet money
that almost everyone has heard one of these things and a million
more. The problem with statements like these is that they wear
away at our confidence that we know how to feed ourselves and
that is a travesty. The diet industry makes billions of dollars annually banking on the fact that you don’t trust yourself enough to
eat the way you’d like to. Now I know that the last sentence got
some snorts and scoffs. You’re probably saying something like,
“If I trusted myself to eat the way I want to I’d eat my way to 300
plus pounds.” So many of us are afraid to trust we know how to
eat. Let’s look at some facts on eating.
1. If we listened to our bodies we would eat only when we
2. If we listened to our bodies we would stop eating when
we were satisfied.
3. We would eat foods that helped us to feel our best physically.
4. We would eat foods that helped us feel our best emotionally.
This statement deserves some discussion. Not only would
eating food that our body needs help to quiet our inner critic
(no critic, no shame), but research is also pointing to the direct
correlation between what we eat and our mental state. What
we put in our mouth matters more than just for our waistline.
5. Eating according to our bodies needs means we would achieve
an ideal weight without having to diet.
Does this all sound too good to be
true? If you said, “yes” that is just
what the diet and food industry wants
you to think. This way of eating is
called intuitive eating and you really
can achieve it. It may not be easy
especially if you’ve been dieting for
most of your life. It means tracking your food intake and how
you feel both emotionally and physically. It means paying close
attention to if you are hungry when you eat and noticing when
you’ve had enough and actually stopping eating despite how
good the food tastes. I spend a lot of time with people who say
things like, “I shouldn’t eat this but I just want it” only to hear
them complain for hours after how “full,” “uncomfortable”, “sick”
and “stupid” they were. They become both physically unwell
from too much food and emotionally unwell from too much
self-criticism. When is the discomfort enough to make them
consider another way of eating?
It just doesn’t make sense, does it? Most of us know how and
what to eat yet the changes go unmade. Why? Part of the reason
is the lack of self-trust. The message we’ve heard for years that
we don’t know how to feed ourselves is ingrained as a truth on
our inner psyche. Maybe you can try to make room in there for
the possibility that perhaps, just perhaps, that is not a truth at
all but a lie perpetuated by a myth that (primarily) women are
supposed to look a certain way and in order to achieve that we
must punish ourselves with one horrible diet after another. Let’s
start to treat our bodies as the temple they are with kindness,
love and trust. Until next time, eat healthy, be happy.