In my last post, I told you the story of Linda, who had been actually put into the diet trap by adults she trusted (parents and doctor) when she was only 8 years old! Thankfully, with consistent practice, and trusting herself, she has escaped the trap and is now living a healthy life – in both brain AND body.
So… how did she do it?
It sounds super-simple, doesn't it?
The way out of the trap is to reconnect and trust your body again.
Scientific studies over several decades have shown that humans are born knowing what, when, and how much to eat. The neuro-wiring is there, in a feedback loop from your body’s physiological and metabolic reactions to the brain and back again. Your body innately knows what energy and nutrients it needs for health, development, and well-being, throughout life.
However, when you listen more to the outside world—about any nutritional advice—and not to your inner wisdom, you begin to lose that connection, and it becomes easy to stay mired in the diet trap, stuck in it, living with it. And that's just not good. Of course, education about valid nutritional information is helpful. Be educated, but don't let those outside voices override and undermine your own internal body cues about when, what and how much to eat. You'll begin to lose your innate self-regulation and then your trust in it. The more you externally reference on how to eat, the less internal reference you will be able to access.
How do I dare trust my body?
Even though we were born being able to trust our bodies for nourishment and also for delight, these innate senses are very often dulled or sabotaged by our very our families and culture, as we abide by the “rules” set forth before us. Let's look at some examples:
- Parents or care-takers will say to the child, “Don’t eat that NOW, you will spoil your appetite”. What the young child hears: “I don’t know when to eat, even if my tummy tells me…I need to be told by others.”
- Parents will also say, “Don’t eat THAT, it is bad for you.” What the child hears: “I must be bad if I eat that. I don’t know what is good or bad to eat, even if my tummy and body are telling me how much is okay.”
- And many parents will say to children, “If you eat everything on your plate (or if you eat whatever I tell you to) you can have dessert (or the ‘treat’)”. What the child hears: “If I stuff my tummy with foods I don’t like or want (right now) even if it feels yucky, I get to have the ‘treat' because I'm being ‘good’ (rewarded), which at the times I want it, those goods are called the ‘bad’ food that I can't have, except now they say it is a ‘treat’”.
No wonder most children in this culture grow to be teens and adults and don’t know anymore when, what or how much to eat. They begin to seek out anything they can find to tell them—either to change their body to be better, stronger, or healthier—no matter the validity of the information.
There are tons of conflicting messages out there, mostly bunk, and much of it can be confusing, and seriously harmful. To let go of the ill-fated wish that dieting, or following a strict “healthy eating regime” is going to give you the body, then the life, with everything you've always wanted, is scary and it is an illusion.
If our experience has shown us, and our cultural parenting has instilled in us to believe that we can't trust our bodies and must rely on the outside world to tell us, it is a difficult cycle to escape. Especially with the diet industry continually brain-washing unsuspecting people (the majority being women and adolescents) that this is how it is – while this industry stuffs their pockets with your money. However, the truth is: trusting your body is innate. The first step is to ditch the diet (in any form) and all of the food rules you have ever learned. You are going to let your body be a barometer of when, what and how much to eat.
Good news: help is out there
A health-centered, rather than weight-centered strategy, called “Health At Every Size® (HAES®) is helping millions of chronic dieters to reshape their thinking, shed unhealthy habits, adopt intuitive eating, become more physically active, and increase their health esteem. This alternative – to conventional and fad diets, cleanses, “lifestyle” prescriptive eating plans, etc. – offers long-lasting improvements to body- and self-esteem, and to some of the key health markers. Dr. Linda Bacon, in collaboratio?n with UC Davis researchers, conducted a ground-breaking study published in 2005, and is still referred to as “one of the most rigorous comparisons of conventional dieting versus the HAES® lifestyle”.
The results? Remarkable and sustainable improvements in physical, psychological, nutritional and metabolic indicators for those in the HAES group, but the Diet group lost all of their health benefits, gained back all of their weight, and were worse off psychologically at the end of the study. At the 2-year follow-up, 89% of the HAES group reported the program continues to be very helpful, only 11 percent of the Dieters did so.
The question for those who want to change their eating or weight, is not “How can I get thin?”, but instead, “How can I get healthier in my body, mind, and spirit?” Weight (or thinness) NOT a proxy for health, Self-care is.
How to get healthy and eat better than ever—without guilt or cravings? By learning more transformational methods to reduce emotional eating and food restriction, and promote freedom around food with internally referenced food choices and amounts without judgment, body appreciation, and intuitive exercise—a simple and elegant, intuitive approach to health, fitness and feeling great, at any size. And it is actually with this approach, that weight loss may happen over time as a by-product of self-care, rather than as the quick-fix goal, which doesn’t work anyway. Whether not weight loss happens (there are no false promises or any prejudges here because there are SO many variables that have control of this), but the diet trap cycle is broken, and a healthy – intuitive – lifestyle is adopted from the inside out, giving you more time and energy to power your life dreams and passions!
You may never fully release a wish for weight loss, and that is something no one can change for you if even they wanted to; however, your life will be free around food, and more at peace with your body, finally and forever. You will be living the best, healthiest life you possibly can! Would that be okay?
To see how you are doing in this area, go here to the Eating and Body Image Quiz. You will get a report summary immediately and also some information on how to get started right away. It is easier than you might think!