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Trying to “gain control” of your food? Roll with the punches instead.

There is a myth that overcoming binge-eating is about “gaining control,” 
or that being “out of control” is the problem to be solved. 

This myth encourages people to grasp for control in any way they can think of—
restricting, dieting, trying the new this or the new that; 
anything that affords us the illusion of certainty,
the illusion of
“this time I’ve got it,”
the illusion of
“this time things will go my way.”

But this way of thinking about food is a trap; 

when things inevitably don’t go our way,
when something unforeseen or out of our control
hits us in the face and affects our food,
we binge—
unwilling or not knowing how
to roll with the punches.

Considering the wide array of factors that affect our eating,
(things like instincts, hormones, emotions, environmental triggers)
it’s safe to say that full control over our food is unlikely. 

But we can learn to roll with the punches. 

Overcoming binge-eating is not about “gaining control,”
but about being able to work with and adapt to 
our fundamental out-of-control-ness.

Changing Beliefs vs. Changing Ideologies (the core of the Non-Diet Approach)

Scanning of a human brain by X-rays

When we focus on trying to change our behaviors, 

like when we try “not to binge,”
or try “not to eat emotionally,”
or try to “do the right thing” with food,

we are left frustrated, confused, and depleted—constantly faced with new circumstances and new situations, where we “don’t know what to do,” or are simply unable to do what we think we “should.”

On the flip side,
when we focus on changing our attitudes around food and weight—
when we focus on shifting our beliefs, our values, our underlying ideology, 

away from diet mentality and food-related moral judgements,
away from weight biases, and other beliefs that give food power in our lives,

we always know what to do—

food decisions of all kinds become relatively simple and effortless, once we have made an underlying ideological shift — towards body-positivity and weight neutrality; towards compassion, acceptance, and self-care.

Click here to view the video series.

Nail Yourself to the Present Moment with Food

livenowRecovering from diet-binge cycling, 

requires learning how to sit in this present moment with food, 

without grasping for the next diet,

without leaping for some attempt to fix it,

without trying to “figure out” your plan of escape.

It requires learning to sit with a full belly when you have one

or with your body exactly as it is,

without being wooed back into grand planning with food—plans that only take us further away from what our bodies need right now, and set us up for a repeat of the cycle once more. 

The truth is, “intuitive eating,” by definition, can only happen in the present moment. I can’t know what I’ll be hungry for outside of the moment that I’m hungry for it—I can’t predict with certainty what my body will need in five minutes, or five hours or five days. 

All I can do is sit in what’s happening right now, and listen for the next right action, one moment at a time, as it’s made clear to me. 

The only commitment to be made, is to nail myself to the present moment with food.**

**A Pema Chodron idea.

The Evolution of “Eating Whatever I Want” in a Post-Diet World.

SOULI personally eat exactly what I want, without apology, and feel it’s important for my mental health (and freedom from rebellion/binge-eating, etc.) that I be empowered to make whatever food choices feel right for me in any given moment.

That being said, I think it’s important to note
that my “wants” around food have changed considerably since I stopped trying to control the way my body looks, and started reconnecting with how my body feels. 

When I was dieting (and/or struggling with diet mentality, poor body image, etc.), I walked around believing I was a bottomless pit—totally insatiable and practically needing to be handcuffed around the very sight of my “trigger” foods.

During that time, “eating whatever I wanted” effectively meant binge-eating all day, because I had no understanding of food’s role in my life, outside of the diet-binge dichotomy (or, more precisely, outside of the self-control/rebellion dichotomy).

But when I stopped looking at my body like a home improvement project—like an ornament to be molded to my liking (or the liking of others),

and started looking at my body like the human person that she is—the child of someone, the sister of someone—a living, breathing animal that feels things,

this shift in perspective, 
from self-loathing to self-care,
slowly but surely, began to influence my “wants.” 

Food stopped being about what I could get away with eating, 
or what I should or shouldn’t have,

and started being about would make me feel good
—physically, emotionally, holistically

not just on my tongue, but in my body,
not just in my body, but in my soul.