THE NON-DIET MINDSET
Do you have the mind-set that you struggle with your weight, that you’re too fat, that you need to go on a diet, or that you have no self-control? Then you are not alone. I had dinner with a friend last night and she was complaining to me that she needs to lose weight. She described “scooping” out a bagel and filling it with tuna fish salad so that she could restrict her carbohydrates but still have some semblance of a bagel. She enjoys bagels and did not allow herself to simply enjoy her bagel sandwich. By the way, after dinner, we ordered a delicious dessert to share, in which she felt the need to finish it, although we had both stopped eating it. She acknowledged to me that she was really done with eating but felt an incredible impulse to finish the dessert.
If anyone were to ask me, “Come on, Sammi, really, tell me the secret to simply enjoying food and not constantly being obsessed by weight, shape, and size”, I’d tell them (rather, teach them) to honor your body, listen to the hunger/fullness cues, and really trust that your body knows what it needs.
Now, I’m not saying, “Oh, just eat what you want whenever you want and you’ll be fine”. I’m saying that the body re-education process needs to incorporate working with a nutritionist to help guide the nutritional components of eating AND in-depth psychotherapy to explore relationship with food. For some, there may be an unconscious desire to hurt or punish oneself and food becomes that vehicle. For others, it could be loneliness, boredom, or sadness which triggers eating mindlessly. Food becomes the companion. Or, there may be some unconscious void that seeks to be filled. A person may turn to food to fill that “faulty” feeling of emotional emptiness.
When we learn to listen to our body, trust the hunger and satiety cues, and understand the differences between physical hunger and emotional hunger, we will stay present enjoying food. The consequence of adopting these new skills and knowledges is that we begin to lean into our natural body weight, shape, and size. It’s a completely new way of thinking…. a paradigm shift, of sorts.
When we make weight loss our focus, our goal, we always miss our mark! We need to approach it obliquely by eating mindfully without the restricting mindset. Really, if you think about it, we never reach a weight loss goal. God-willing, we will always be in relationship with food so we truly never reach a “goal”, we reach a number on the scale that has very little meaning, because, as we know, tomorrow is another day.
So, relax and let go of trying desperately to control your weight. Let your new-found skills in mindful eating by your guide.