There are two kinds of compulsive eaters: Restrictors and Permitters.
“Restrictors operate on the conviction that chaos is imminent and steps need to be taken now to minimize its impact. For a Restrictor, deprivation is comforting because it provides a sense of control. If I limit my food intake, I limit my body size. If I limit my body size, I (believe I can) limit my suffering…” (148).
“Permitters find any kind of rules abhorrent….Permitters prefer going through life in a size. That they they don’t need to feel pain—theirs or anyone else’s. If I’m not aware of it, there’s nothing to fix. If I go through life asleep, I don’t need to be concerned about the future because I won’t be aware of it. If I give up trying, I won’t be disappointed when I fail” (150).
Do you see yourself as either of these? As a combination of the two? How might this type of living affect other aspects of your life, as well?
“Restrictors suddenly believe that their lives would be better if they could relinquish control. But Permitters are convinced that if they could adhere to a reasonable food plan, they could lose weight” (152).
Do you wish you could be the other?
“Restricting and permitting are subtypes of compulsive eating, which is the metadefense. A compulsion is a way to protect ourselves from feeling what we believe is unfeelable, what we are convinced is intolerable” (153).
But what if instead
“The moment you distinguish between acting out the impulse to move away from the present moment by starving or stuffing and the awareness of the impulse to move away, you are no longer captive to your past’” (156).
Not necessarily changing what you need to do, but simply paying attention…recognizing what’s happening in the present moment. Being aware.
“The beginning always involves noticing where you are and what you are doing. Not trying to be anywhere else. Not, as I tell my students, trying to change one hair on your head…You don’t judge yourself…None of that…You bring yourself back to the present moment, and since your body is right here, right now, since hunger or lack of it is also right here, you ask yourself if you are hungry. Simple. Am I hungry?” (157).
“Eat what your body wants when you’re hungry, stop when you’ve had enough…”
Sounds so easy…
”If you actually listen to what your body (not your mind) wants, you’ll discover that it doesn’t want three weeks of hot fudge sundaes.”
“Those of us who are utterly focused on food and weight never consider that we are ignoring the most obvious solution. We tell ourselves that the answer is our there and our job is to keep looking, to never give up until we find the right solution…”
But, the answer isn’t out there…it’s with us. Like Dorothy and the red shoes—they were with you all the time. Simply give yourself what you need, what you want, what makes your body feel its best.
“eating was always about only one thing: nourishing the body. And this body wanted to live. This body loved being alive…” (164).
The Eating Guidelines help us from falling into the engrained patterns that we’ve lived with since childhood….the “if love could speak instructions…”
“If love could speak to you about food, it would say, ‘Eat when you are hungry, sweetheart, because if you don’t, you won’t enjoy the taste of food. And what should you do anything you don’t enjoy?’ If love could speak to you, it would say, ‘Eat what your body wants, darling, otherwise you won’t feel so well, and why should you want around feeling tired or depressed from what you put into your mouth?’ If love could peak to you, my little cream puff, it would say, ‘Stop eating when you’ve had enough, otherwise you will be uncomfortable, and why spend one more minute in discomfort….[this is] the art of revering [yourself] with food” (169).
What do you think? How might this change the way you eat/live/love? There will be times you forget to listen…but…
“Trust the process, trust your longing for freedom. Eventually you will stop wanting to do anything that interferes with the increasing brightness you have come to associate with being alive. And rest assured that like the butterfly that flutters its wings in one part of the world and causes a hurricane in another, every time a woman aligns her eating with relaxation, ever time she takes off her damn boot, the laces fly open for the rest of us” (170).
Patience. Trust. Awareness. Joy. Peace. Might those things be available just by paying attention to the way we eat.