After our last Princeton, New Jersey PODS meeting, several members of our group lingered to talk about feeling out of control with their eating. The questions distilled themselves into "Why do I slip up? I know I feel better when I eat less carbohydrates and sugar, so why do I keep going back?" and "Why do I make choices that hurt me?".
I know this problem so well! I know that when I chose low carbohydrate eating I feel more energy, less depressed and greater self esteem because I am treating myself with respect and care. Why is it such a slippery slope? As any problem in human behavior there are so many factors that influence our actions. Here is my understanding of some of the causes. They are both external and internal:
-Poor diagnosis of pre-diabetes: Our bodies have always been sensitive to carbohydrate and sugar rich food. Our food cravings and addiction to these foods started as an attempt to correct this problem. It is hard to know what our body needs.
-A food culture that has profound mixed messages. There is constant calorie rich food available yet we are surrounded by idealized thin body types. Being thin becomes a moral virtue. I can be above these temptations, I can say no. Unrealistic perfectionism leads to I am in control (on a restrictive diet) or I am out of control (excessive eating). As our culture introduced an abundance of non-nutritional food and weight gain, dieting became an industry that provided unsustainable solutions.
So, what are the alternatives?
We can begin by substituting perfectionism (I must be in control of food) to an attitude of flexibility and compassion for ourselves. If we are perfectionistic, that is unsustainable and we become angry and self destructive towards ourselves.
Let's not make poor food choices a moral issue. How many times have you heard women say about food, " I have been so good on my diet" or "I have been cheating" when referring to food, as if they have committed a crime! We are just human and sometimes we use poor judgement.
How about trusting ourselves more? We can make food choices that make us feel better physically and mentally. We can make a mistake but then we can be flexible and return to what is best. Take a moment, close your eyes , take a deep breathe and listen to the self caring voice. Listen to that voice. It will guide you.
A pleasure to share my thoughts,