By Marilyn Bradford
I’ve always loved to eat. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with food in one way or another. “What’s for dinner?” was one of my favorite questions, along with “Can I have more of that?”, and “What’s for dessert”?
Types of food and food portions were highly controlled by my mother. Each person got a “portion” and that was all you could have. At 13 she put me on a diet and I began to learn about “good” foods and “bad” foods. I wasn’t too successful on that first diet as my friends and I stopped for French fries and cokes every day after school.
Even though that diet didn’t work, what did stick with me was the idea that I needed to be on a diet and that there were “good” foods and “bad” foods. Everything around food and eating became judgeable. I would plan and debate with myself. Every time I ate a “bad” food I berated myself. I got into punishment and reward cycle with food and eating. I would diet like crazy, lose a bunch of weight, then binge.
It never occurred to me that I didn’t have to buy into any of the “expert’s” ideas about “good” foods and “bad” foods. The idea that I might know what was best for my body went against everything I had ever been told.
What about you? Does any of this sound familiar? Have you bought into what the “experts” have decided is true for you and your body?
Here are just a few of the things I have been told were food “truths” by experts and clients:
-Sugar is bad for you. (Well that’s interesting considering that glucose (pure sugar) is what you are given when you go to the hospital.)
-Salt is bad for you. (I have low blood pressure and have found that one of the things that helps with that is to eat lots of salt. Interestingly, a doctor later confirmed that that was a good idea).
-Eggs are bad for you. (Have you noticed that doctor’s are now recommending that you eat a few eggs a week?)
-You shouldn’t eat after 6:00 PM. (So why isn’t everyone in France and Spain dead or dying?) You get the idea. All of these “truths” about “good” foods and “bad” foods are just someone’s point of view.
“Well, what about all of the scientific research?” you might ask. Please, don’t stop asking questions there. Ask: Who was in the study? What level of results were they making significant? And…why should what’s true for someone else necessarily be true for me?
What if your body required something different from what the studies tell us and what the “experts” advise? What if your body is actually intelligent and capable of telling you what it requires if only you will learn to listen? Would that change things for you and your body? Would you be willing to consider beginning to listen to your body? Most importantly: Would you be willing to begin to trust you? Would you be willing to become your own expert?
Have you picked up some of this realities points of view about food and eating?
Take a quiz for a quick-check of where you are with your points of view.
~Have you ever imposed a diet or an exercise regime on your body?
~Have you ever believed that what the “experts” said about food or eating or your body had to be true?
~Do you ask your body what it would like to eat?
~Do you ever feel conflicted about food and/or eating?
~Do you believe that there are “good” foods and “bad” foods?
~Have you ever tried to control your food intake?
~Do you ever obsess about food?
~Do you judge yourself when you eat a “bad” food or when you over eat?
~Do you feel disconnected from your body?
~Do you see your body as something you control through your food intake?
If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions except Number 3, you may want consider a complete make over of your points of view about eating and food and your body!