IE: Challenge Food Police

Posted by Jennifer Campoli on May 20th, 2010
Filed under Examiner, intuitive eating | No Comments »

Good morning friends!

One day closer to the weekend. :)

I've been busy over at these days. I thought I would share some of what I've been writing about. Any feedback? Please send me a note at livewellfit09 @ gmail com. Or leave a comment here. I'd love to get ideas of other topics to write about or areas that interest you!

Farmer's Market Season is here

A Simple Start to Exercise

Build Stellar Shoulder Muscles at Home

Increase Calorie Burn

Basic Elements to a Healthy Meal

Time for the next Intuitive Eating principle. I hope you've been enjoying these posts as much as I have. It's been very therapeutic for me to discuss the ideas in this book and talk about how I've changed in learning them.

Principle 4: Challenge Food Police

"Scream a loud 'No' to thoughts in your head that declare you're 'good' for eating under 1,000 calories or 'bad' because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche and it's loudspeaker shouts negative bars, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating."

Something to think about friends: We have become controlled by guilt about how we eat. According to a survey noted in Intuitive Eating, 45% of adults said they feel guilty after eating foods they like. That's a rather astounding number, would you agree?

Our nation calls for a lean and thin body. Consider the food companies, magazines, and commercials that offer you ways to drop 10 pounds in 2 weeks, or lean meals that are under 300 calories. And then we are faced with restaurants serving food that is full of additives and fillers and portion sizes that are fit to feed three people.

It has now become difficult to view eating as simply as a normal activity that brings you pleasure. Many of us don't know the meaning of pleasure during a meal. I certainly didn't. I viewed food as either one of two things: good or bad. That was it.

This chapter was fascinating to me. Learning about how we learn to label foods, view food itself and then allow it to be the leader of our day. Food thoughts and judgements control a dieters mind. Where does that come from?

First we learn what is considered good or bad. Society, books and diets tell us this. And then specific voices start to develop in our minds. Some of them are destructive voices and then some are powerful, positive voices. These voices, in essence, are what guide us in how we eat. It is our internal monologue.

1. Food Police– a destructive, strong voice that is developed through dieting. This is your inner judge as to whether you are doing good or bad. It scrutinizes every action and keeps you at war with your food.

2. Nutritional Informant– a destructive voice that provides your evidence to keep you in line with dieting. This voice says that you can't possibly be hungry again! You ate fruit for a snack and that is a perfectly balanced snack. No need for more.

3. Diet Rebel– this is the voice that yells back at the other 2 voices. Your rebel says screw the diet! I am not going to eat broiled chicken all day long. These rebellious comments stay within your head and often lead to more destruction.

4. Food Anthropologist– this is your neutral voice. An observer who makes no judgement at all. This voice will help you pave the way to intuitive eating. One way to call on this voice is to food journal. Write down simple observations that do not assume or conclude anything: "I ate three cookies. Now I am still hungry. I experienced guilt after eating the cookies." No judging, just observing.

5. The Nurterer– this is your soft, gentle voice that is meant to soothe you as your parent or best friend would. This voice reassures you, it is not critical, it does not pressure you. It is your vehicle for the most positive self talk. This voice will help challenge the Food Police. It will help reassure you that you deserve to be well, eat well and live well.

6. The Intuitive Eater– this voice is your intuition, your gut reaction. We were all born with this voice but often it is muddled and silenced over time. This voice knows how to argue the negativity in your head and it knows how to challenge all irrational ideas.

We were also born with an innate sense of when we are hungry and when we are satisfied. It is the evolution of the above voices that often confuses those clear singles and prevents us from being able to listen to our body. This voices develop in unique ways according to our experiences. My destructive voices did not exist until highschool. By the time I was in college, the Food Police voice and the Nutritional Informant ruled my life. They controlled everything.

This chapter helped me to realize that self talk is a hugely important piece to developing stronger positive voices. Our self talk houses our beliefs and our thoughts, which can then steer our thinking.

Consider how I used to view a dinner party…

"Oh look at all that food. I'm starving but I can't eat chips and dip. Too many carbs, way too much fat and the calories- no way. I should stick with the veggie sticks. But I'm so hungry. These veggie sticks don't satisfy me at all. But, this is what I said I would eat and that is what I'm doing. I can't enjoy anything else."

"You know what, screw this. I can't eat veggie sticks for the rest of my life! I hate this diet. I'm not getting anywhere. I need food. I need calories. I need chips and dip."

"Wow, I've eaten nearly the whole bowl. I wonder if anyone has noticed how much of that I've eaten? Now I'm stuffed. I'm miserable. I'm never going to be thin. Ok, tomorrow is a new day. We will start again."

Notice the progression of the voices? Food Police started, Nutritional Informant shined in. Then my Rebel came out. No positive voices in there though.

In thinking about how all dinner parties went in my life, I had to take control and change my self talk, change the beliefs I had about food, change my voices.

I started by focusing on the irrrational ideas I had come to accept and believe (that diets were the answer, the carbs were not meant to be eaten, that calories had to be lower than 1200, that skipping meals was the way to lose weight). My good behavior fell in line with this irrational beliefs, bad behavior went against them.

I started to list what my irrational beliefs were and how they came about.

I dropped the black and white, absolutist thinking- I banished the absolutes, the rules and the severe beliefs. I replaced them with I can do this, I may eat this, I am okay. All food is okay.

I abandoned the thinking that weight loss comes in only a linear fashion that starts with dieting. I allowed myself to feel settled with the idea that continual change is natural. Continual change is slower, involving ups and downs and turns. I started to listen to signals from my body. I started to acknowledge the positive voices and allow them to grow and be heard again.

I fostered self awareness. That is what this entire chapter comes down to. Learning to be aware of your thoughts, your emotions, your beliefs, and your voice.

Self awareness is the ultimate tool!

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