ARE YOU RIGID, CHAOTIC, OR BOTH?
Write about your current relationship with food in terms of chaos and rigidity. If you are too rigid, give examples, such as how you deal with portions, food rules, etc. If you are chaotic, give examples of your chaotic thinking or behaviors aroundfood. If you are currently switching back andforth between rigidity and chaos, write about that. My relationship with food right now can best be described as:
There is no doubt that developing a more balanced, flexible relationship with food will be challenging, but over time it will more become natural. We are all born intuitively knowing how to eat. If you have ever watched healthy babies breast- or bottle-feeding, you have seen they have no problem knowing when they are hungry and will communicate it until fed, and they also know when they are full and will stop eating. They have no concerns about calories or thoughts about better-tasting alternatives to satisfy the feeling they experience as hunger. Nobody has to teach healthy babies how to do this because they are born intuitive eaters. Very young children usually stay connected to this innate, or intuitive knowledge about when and how much to eat. They don’t eat by rules, think about their weight, or feel guilty for eating things they love. They don’t binge to fill up a psychological emptiness. They don’t count calories or follow a meal plan.
As we get older, this simple and natural relationship to food gets much more complicated. Not only are we faced with a multitude of food choices and develop food preferences, we are also exposed to vast amounts of information, ideas, myths, and opinions about food; what is considered healthy vs. not healthy, fattening vs. nonfattening, good vs. bad. All this interferes with or inhibits our innate or gut intuition as a guide to hunger and fullness.
It would be so easy if we could just tell you to go back to the way you were as a child and eat intuitively again, but in addition to all your thoughts and opinions that get in the way, if your relationship with food has been damaged by repeated dieting, eating disorder behaviors, or overriding your hunger or fullness, your body signals or your interpretation of them are not reliable. Once your inner guide has been ignored long enough, these signals can go haywire or disappear all together, making it too hard to trust your gut.‚
If you have lost trust in your innate ability to make decisions about food, it makes sense to look for external sources of guidance, and information (think diet programs, weight loss secretss, and nutrition companies). The problem is these external guidelines can’t be right for everyone because everyone has different needs, and they can be based on faulty information and lead you even more astray. You might be able to find appropriate guidelines, but then find yourself taking things to the extreme, such as thinking, If low fat is good, then no fat must be better.‚ It is likely that you have taken bits of information from here and there and created your own food rules‚ that get you into trouble rather than help you create a healthy structure and balance around food.
If you are a seasoned dieter, or restrictive with food, you most likely have developed rules related to food and weight that you try to follow, even though you might not ever have thought of it this way, told anyone, or written them down anywhere. If your eating is chaotic, you probably have many of these rules in your head as well, which you vow to follow but find yourself falling right back into chaos day after day.
You develop these rules to keep yourself in line or feel safer‚ around eating. Food rules are created to help alleviate the mistrust and lack of control you feel about your own appetite, desires, and decisions. Food rules usually sound something like, Do not eat overcalories a day,‚
Purge anything that isn’t on the safe list,‚ Don’t eat starches or carbs,‚ or Only eat ‹“clean’ or organic food.‚ The Thin Commandments‚ in our original 8 Keys secrets is compiled from years of listening to clients talk about their food rules.
You may have developed your rules consciously or not, but becoming aware of what they are, slowly challenging them, and creating different, more balanced, and flexible guidelines for yourself will lead to recovery.