I still think back to the all the time I’ve spent over the course of many years trying to control my appetite, lose weight, attain perfect health, and determine the superior way of eating.
Not only was this pursuit taking up loads of my time, but I was unwittingly creating the exact environment in my body that would cause me to hold onto weight, weaken my immune system, and feel overwhelmed.
I see these same actions play out again and again for women of all ages and stages. There is one strategy in particular that has our attention today. And it’s a sneaky one. Especially because we do this without giving it a second thought.
Reading more diet books
As easy as it would be to assume that gathering more nutritional information would only help us, I’ve found reading diet books can perpetuate nutritional anxiety.
Imagine this scenario:
You want to lose 5 lbs and start reading a new diet book or article online. You notice certain foods you enjoy are prohibited but tell yourself that your unhappiness with your body trumps eating these particular foods. You are a “good girl” for maybe a month, a week, or a day.
At some point this forbidden food presents itself and you decide to just have a taste. Then something happens. The guilt you feel may send you through an eating frenzy, often experienced as a “dietary revolt,” catapulting you into a spiral of guilt, self-judgment, or shame – some of the most toxic substances around.
What follows is usually some form of dietary repentance leading to:
New promises to stick to the plan
A different protocol to follow
An extra workout
More yoga, etc….
Now imagine what happens to the mind and eating behaviors when you are reading 5 diet books. Now imagine 10.
Do you catch my drift?
So if information is not the problem, what is?
Accumulating information has almost become an obsession, fueled by dietary perfectionism in the spirit of “fixing.” Ironically this approach takes so many people farther from their intended goals for themselves. The problem lies in the person who is reading the books who doesn’t employ their own wise use of discernment. It lies in the Culture of Fixing that leads us to book after book…
Releasing the impulse to read more books and collect more information requires us to consult our wisest nutritional expert: ourselves. It is important to appreciate the tremendous amount of courage it takes to do this.
Trusting ourselves and our bodies is stepping into the unknown.
Commitment to Self-Trust
Going from strict expectations to full self-trust may feel overwhelming and too big of a jump. Much of the support I offer clients is finding that sweet spot between strict rules and self-trust, bringing clients to the appropriate “edge” of their nutritional journey.
What I am suggesting certainly may not be the popular argument. As a culture we want to fix ourselves, we want rules to follow that guarantee a hot body and a better life.
So what is the real work here on planet earth? To eat perfectly? To create a personality that exclusively revolves around food, weight, and health alone?
Don’t you believe there are other things for us?
Eating and self-care are so important because they support us in living our lives more fully. But imagine you already had the exact health and body you’ve always dreamed of, then what? Then what you be doing with your life and your time?