IE - Self-Acceptance
I feel like dieting has been this big wound in my life that is now finally really healing. And with that healing comes a comfortable existence - not one flawed, where every decision I made revolved around whether it would burn calories. I believe I grew detached because of dieting, and that not only by hating my body, I also hated more than my body. Detachment from one's body is counterproductive; it basically means you can't feel and that your sense of existence is not as real as it could be. Detachment means exercising because it burns calories rather than because it's a fun thing to do - don't we see how disjointed that is? It means eating spinach because it is less calories rather than because it's an enjoyable thing to eat. It means putting our fork down because we felt totally satisfied - on every level, and in our own mind/hearts - not because we're told we need to by some IE authority.
Would like to start a discussion regarding self-acceptance as it relates to IE, a topic I don't see too often on this board.
Self-acceptance, meaning - not looking so hard in the mirror for your personal flaws, disconnecting and dissecting body parts (i.e. if I could just cut off this fat stomach, then I'd be okay).
Self-acceptance, meaning - not having to try too hard to find good qualities in yourself outside of your appearance, because those qualities are what you focus on more than how you look.
Self-acceptance, meaning - not patting myself on the back because I feel thin today, but patting myself on the back because I shared a joyous moment with my son.
Self-acceptance, meaning - owning your personality, your reactions, your opinions, without apology...
Seriously, there's a whole lot more to life than how we dissect our eating habits and the food on our tables - analyzing on the molecular level whether it's going to trigger our metabolism or give us gray hair. No matter how bad food is, I'm willing to bet the stress we get over it on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis, is far more debilitating.
I love this new feeling of "connectedness." Would love to hear how others are making out on this topic...
One term that I really despise is fat-acceptance. I really really hate that term. I'm not sure why, but I just know that it's not for me.
Self acceptance on the otherhand, I can get used to this. I don't know how this works for anyone else or how anyone can achieve it but this is how I'm doing it.
1. I found that dieting caused a lot of anxiety. I kept thinking that I was at fault for failing rather than placing the blame on the diet that wasn't working. It was a cycle of dieting - cheaitng - dieting - cheating. I was either being "good" or being "bad." It was like a scary merrygo round that wasn't leading to anything other than getting sick. So I got off the ride.
2. Once I stopped dieting I stopped focusing on my failures. This alone aleviated self destruction, guilt, and self hatred. My anxiety has lessed to such an extent that I can actually focus on what is important which is...
3.... am I freaking hungry or what??? The ability to take my mind off of willpower and put it on observing my state of hunger has caused more self confidence in me than any low calorie day, than any pound lost, than any pride I felt at eating just a salad for lunch. Putting the power of eating for the purpose of hunger into my own hands rather than into the hands of some diet guru has been empowering.
4. Food hatred - this has been the most rewarding part of the process for me. It feels so good not to give power to food. I don't have to hate a potato (I love you my dear spud!!), I don't have roll my eyes at white flour, I don't have to scoff at an egg yolk, I don't have to say no to a piece of cake, I don't have scold myself for an extra teaspoon of dressing..... you know those people who walk around blaming everybody for the state of the world? It's the government's fault, it's the rich people's fault, it's the train schedule's fault, it's the weather's fault, it's the other guy's fault? That's who I was concerning food. It was a wheat sensitivity (hahaha!!), it was an addiction to carbs, it was the corn farmer's of america's fault, it's the GMOs, it's procssed food, it's sugar, it's the school lunches, it's the movie theater's fault who sells the tub of popcorn.... so once I took the focus off of that noise then I saw that food is rather benign. It's not really screaming out to me. It's not causing me any harm at all.
All these factors are ALLOWING me to be self accepting. When you take away every reason to hate yourself or to hate others then the only thing left is joy.
I would only call it fat acceptance if I were still dissecting parts of myself. I am not the sum of my parts.
For me, learning to look on a person's heart (including my own) has helped me to accept the physical differences. My focus is no longer all about the image. I also stick to "now" more so than what might happen in the future. Dieting causes projection, aka disconnecting from the current self in hopes that the future body will be different. Can it happen? Sure, of course. But at what cost?
I work on that more so than on my eating style, which I have discovered is secondary. Eating should be a simple, instinctive drive, not a mechanized projection of the mind. In other words, I no longer "worry" when/how the next meal arrives. I'll deal with that when the time comes.
I think its great that you have found a new way to relate to food and your body and the world. Wannabe is so articulate on the subject and i like that.
I myself have never not liked spinach and stuff like that. I don't eat things if i don't like them but luckily i do like them. But i love sugar and it is a problem for me. For the sugar and the weight problem, I do feel the need to let sugar go completely in order to be able to enjoy the spinach. But this intuitive eating thing, i think its brilliant for people who can make it work.
Many years ago, i read a book by a woman whose name i always forget. It was before Intuitive Eating became a thing i think - in the mid-90s although written a lot earlier than that i think. But i think she might be somewhat at the root of it all. Anyway i learned how to let go of guilt over eating too much of the wrong things and i tried her approach for a while. Mainly the lasting effect on me has been to not hate myself or feel so much guilt over my choices. Does anyone know her name. Her book was called When food is love.
But about self-acceptance. Over the years of therapy, reading, and secular buddhism, i have learned to do this. My self-acceptance is constantly challenged by life's little tribulations, especially as i get more engaged in mainstream life but i certainly have gained more self -acceptance, confidence in my choices as time goes on.
My sister on the other hand who is skinny (55 about 115pounds), seems to be somewhat conflicted about food. I think she gives herself a hard time over it but that's because she too eats a lot of sweets, more in recent years. she is horrified that she eats a cake a day. But she just exercises more to make up for it. Whatever book you guys have read I think would be good for her. Its not that i want her to get fat. But it would be nice if she could be less stressed about food. She does not seem to know self-acceptance and i wish her to have the freedom of it that i have found. I am unable to articulate it in a way that i know she'd want to listen to, so i don't try. You know she's one of these people that if you criticise her choice in anything, even if well meant and kindly said, she is totally wounded, whereas someone with more inner confidence can shrug it off.
So where did you learn about intuitive eating?
Oh the worries I've had over my next meal!! This too is gone now. I don't panic if my toddler steals a fry and I don't mind sharing my omelette with him now. Do you know how difficult that was for me before? And how much guilt it caused me to not want to share food with my own child? I order so much less food from the take out place now. I don't get worried if the fridge is sparse. I'm satisfying all my cravings and enjoying food more.
Pattience I don't know if this will be helpful to your sister or not, but I've read the Overfed Head and now reading Overcoming Overeating. I wouldn't call it a method or a diet, it's an anti diet and it requires that you let go of the dieting mentality and releasing yourself from the confines of restriction. It sounds really hard to do but it hasn't been difficult at all - it's not without its challenges but it's the type of challenge that doesn't go against your better judgement. Whereas diets restrict you and make you feel bad for eating, IE does the opposite. You're not battling food anymore. You're not saying to yourself that sugar is bad, or bread is bad, or dressing is bad or anything like that. You're staying tuned into your physical hunger and dealing with the emotions that we associate with hunger instead. IE does not make your problems go away, it just makes you stop eating as a way to deal with them.
I've always liked spinach too, and fruit and veggies and even flax seeds. Liking food was never the problem. I wasn't one of those people who never ate a vegetable. And I always loved exercising too.
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