Here are phrases I hear often:
“Once I stop eating _______, I just can’t stop.”
“I can’t help myself, it just happens.”
“I can’t trust myself around _________ .”
You get the idea. Hearing those phrases never sit right with me. Probably because that’s what I help people do (develop self-trust and confidence with food through a non-diet, mindful and intuitive eating approach) and I’ve seen it happen. Then the other day I came across this quote:
There is a fundamental truth that I feel and know deep in my soul and it’s this: there is ALWAYS a choice. I find that completely inspiring. I get to decide how my life plays out. I get to decide how this all ends. My choices, little daily ones and big hairy monster ones…I own every last one of them. They are mine.
In a nutrition culture built on extremes, it’s easy to fall into all-or-nothing thinking. Restriction isn’t a solution for chaos, it causes it. You’re either on a diet or you aren’t. You take no cookies or twenty. You either starve or overeat. If that’s how you have thought and behaved up until this point, it might feel really impossible that it could be any other way. But extremes are easy. All-or-nothing is the easy way out. Numbers, lists, forbidden foods, following diet plans is all to feel in “control”…but you’re not. The food or the diet controls YOU, your thoughts and your behaviors. The choice is gone. Finding balance and self-trust takes work. It requires curiosity, creativity, kindness, compassion, patience, love, inspiration, trust, listening, learning, resilience, gratitude, mindfulness, intuition, and many more. But as you practice those, think about the person you become. It’s definitely worth the effort.
It’s quite possible that when you decide to jump out of the restriction/chaos cycle, the pendulum may still swing to extreme thoughts and behaviors. But as you consistently – day by day, choice by choice – practice aiming for balance and a more moderate approach, it will eventually settle there. And there you will find peace and self-trust, knowing that you are able to make choices that are in your best interest. What I’ve learned is that this isn’t about food at all. Food is just a teacher and these lessons will carry over to every other area of your life.
Don’t ever succumb to the idea that you have no choice and therefore give away your power. The time you have is way too short to play a victim in your own life. You have the power to change! As you connect to your wise voice, you will find that you have everything you need to succeed.
Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD
For more information about how to find balance, you can refer to this post on neuroplasticity.