I bet you have seen this before. It’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and I feel really helps us understand why eating concerns, worries, frustrations and anxieties can feel all-consuming.
When your basic need of food, eating and nourishment is not being met, it becomes much harder if not impossible to progress through higher levels of feeling safe, loved, worthy and enough.
This is why I HATE dieting. The minute you start a diet you create distrust with your body’s intuition and natural ability to meet your needs. Any set of outside rules creates rigidity which leads to chaos eventually then back to rigidity and then chaos again…
Is there anything inherently wrong with eating healthy? Nope! I totally support that, but the reasons and motivations should come from YOU, not a set of rules in which if “cheated on” would create feelings of shame, failure, guilt, anxiety… At the end of the day, it’s still a set of rules that can lead someone to feel restricted and at war with what their body when it might be telling them they need something different. When our bodies say something different than what a health professional has said would bring us perfect health, we see ourselves as the failure, not the diet. See the flawed thinking?
The key is to learn to trust yourself again. This takes work and practice (a lot of it!) and is much harder than following food lists and meal plans. What you need to know is that it’s VERY common for an individual learning intuitive eating to still bounce between restriction and chaos. As you continue to practice you will find the pendulum doesn’t swing quite as wide each time and eventually finds center and balance. It’s a wild ride that will teach you things about yourself and life you would never learn otherwise. You come out the other end a confident and compassionate person at peace with yourself.
I would love to hear your experience, comments or questions!
Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD, CLT