With all of the experts, books, websites, emails, and podcasts telling you how to eat, what to eat, when to eat – for health, happiness, weight management, and eternal life – have you ever thought to yourself,
“I’m 30 years old (or 40 or 50 or 60!), shouldn’t I know all of this already?”
The belief that we should have figured out the “right” way to eat by now – something we assume is very obvious – is insidious. It seems relatively harmless, but it actually has grave results.
First of all, this thought makes us feel really, really crappy about ourselves – we haven’t managed to figure out something that anyone with half a brain should have gotten down pat by now (am I close?). Second, it grounds our best efforts at self-care before they ever take flight. Finally, it isolates us, keeping us from sharing our confusion, shame, and vulnerability with one another and not allowing us to reach out to people who might actually help. Basically, this “harmless” thought keeps us stuck and often very unhappy.
Here are just a few reasons why you can stop thinking that you should have figured this all out by now:
- Even though we are born with the wisdom that tells us what, when, and how much to eat, we are often led astray by the confused adults around us. The dieting beliefs of our parents, families, and friends can lead us to doubt what we used to know without question.
- A $60 billion dieting industry thrives on keeping us searching for the next quick fix, cleanse, detox, diet, guru, or program. If these things worked, this number would be dropping dramatically, yet it continues to grow at an epic rate.
- We’ve been told that health equates with thinness, which has distracted our attention from true measures of health such as blood sugar levels, blood pressure, fitness, energy levels, joyfulness, and FEELING GOOD IN OUR BODIES. This faulty equation has also excluded the majority of the population who could only achieve the current definition of thinness with unrealistic restriction and other unhealthy behaviors.
- We’ve been led to believe that if we could just find the right diet, the exact combination of foods, or the perfect eating pattern, we would somehow suffer less. “Magical eating” such as this (a beloved phrase coined by my friend Susan Piver – more on her below) makes us vulnerable to black-and-white or all-or-nothing thinking and what I call extreme eating, the ping-ponging between periods of austere restriction and indulgent overeating.
Could you finally let yourself off the hook for not having it all figured out? Even just for a moment?
And, if so, what can you do now?
Any approach that helps you reconnect with that intuitive wisdom, whether it’s Intuitive Eating, mindfulness practices, or the Health At Any Size approach, will help you clear away the clutter and quiet the noise that alienated you from it in the first place.
And if you’re interested in working with me, I am very excited to announce an upcoming online e-course called the Dharma of Diet. It will begin on March 9th and run for four Mondays. I’ll be co-teaching with meditation instructor, fabulous writer, and lovable person, Susan Piver. We’ll be talking about:
- How to reconnect with internal signals of what, when, and how much to eat
- Ways to feed the non-physical (or heart) hunger that can lead us to the fridge or pantry when we really need a different type of nourishment
- How to begin to treat your now-body with respect, dignity, and loving-kindness
- How meditation can serve as the foundation for a sane relationship with food and your body