Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dieting Detox

So you are working on accepting yourself and want to give up on dieting. Where do you start?

 BodyPositive is a nice place to get started. There are plenty of exercises found there to get you on the path to feeling good about who you are, loving yourself.

The best way to begin is through dieting detox. Read this from the site.

Dieting Detox:Taking Back Your Choices from the Food Police

When you finally stop dieting, what happens next? 

Many people find that they go through a stage of "reactive eating."  You might find yourself wrestling with the aftermath of all those times you learned (from the process of dieting itself) to ignore your body cues.  The foods you eat may be the very foods forbidden to you on the diet, whether you are really hungry for them or not.  You might feel out of control but defiant, and then you might panic and consider going back on another diet!

When we are kids, we have to comply with the authority figures' demands.  When we are teens, many of us try to prove to ourselves that we are not being controlled by those authority figures by doing the opposite of those demands.  But in truth, we are still controlled by those demands because we are doing the exact opposite rather than what we really might want to do independently. And that is the goal of adulthood, to not be driven one way or the other by those outside forces.

What does this have to do with food?

Dieting sets up a psychological state of childhood.  Listen to women talking about how they were "good" all day until they were "bad" because they ate  a "forbidden" food.  In order to diet successfully, we believe that we have to comply with an outside "expert's" idea of how we should eat:  "Eat this food, in this amount, at this time."  This is obedience, compliance, going with the program, whatever you want to label it.

Sooner or later, for most people,  the diet falls apart.  And for many of us, rather than reverting back to the pre-diet way of eating what we want, when we're hungry, we go through a state of psychological adolescence or teenhood.  Now, that diet gets turned on its head!  If grapefruit was a diet food, we scorn it.  If ice cream was forbidden, it suddenly seems like the most compelling food on earth. 

We may also eat past the point of fullness, not just for physiological reasons (because there are those too) but for the psychological reason that we have been too hungry on the diet and we are trying to prove to ourselves that we won't go hungry again.

If you are experiencing "dieting detox," try to have some compassion for yourself.  The good news is that for most people, this, too, shall pass.  The part of you that has felt its needs were ignored on the diet has to be reassured that you will not keep ignoring your needs.  When you no longer have anything to prove, it is easier to hear your body again.

Many of us have found that trying to listen and respond to our bodies' cues is one of the best ways to re-establish that trust.  Try using the exercise, "Every Body Part Gets a Vote," to check in with not just your tongue (but to give your tongue a vote too!).

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  Have you seen yourself as "good" and "bad"?  How do know you have finally grown up around food?

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MrsMenopausal said...

Great Post Bama. I definitely fall into the bad / good dieting attitude. I have a lot to learn. Thanks for the link to body positive. I can't wait to check it out.

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