In class last week, Sherry (not her real name) shared how she was torn at a family function about whether to eat a piece of cake. She tried telling herself, “I’m allowed to have this cake if I want it.”
“Who’s giving you the permission?” I asked.
She thought a moment, then said, “Green Mountain gave it to me.”
One of the things that trip many of us up on the journey to normal, healthy eating is the idea that someone else is in charge of our eating. Whether it be government nutrition guidelines, the latest book on eating and weight, or our mothers, if we give up the power to determine for ourselves what we need, we’re almost guaranteeing a continuing struggle with food, eating and weight.
Part of our success in achieving healthy weights and healthy lifestyles comes from becoming aware and then taking ownership of our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Noticing the words we use plays a large part in that. Listen to yourself. If you notice you’re giving away your power a lot — relying on someone or something else to tell you what, when and how much to eat or exercise or do whatever is considered necessary for good health — consider what that does to your ability to make choices that feel right to you.
Guidelines can be helpful but they aren’t always the last word. How we feel as a result of doing or not doing something gives much more individual feedback about what’s right for us.
If you’re struggling with taking charge of your eating and health, review our writings on mindful eating (aka intuitive eating). The practice can be a potent first step in regaining your power and thereby putting food in its place, and gaining peace with it.
Who decides what you eat?