Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Intuitive Eating

I read Geneen Roth years ago. Had a wonderful therapist for a while who was all about "Making Peace with Food." And now Tribole and Resch have brought the idea of intuitive eating into more mainstream thinking. It certainly makes sense to me - although I have a problem trusting that it will work. Go figure.

I know I'm passing a lot of the "food rules" on to my kids that I was taught as a child. We were never allowed to open anything. Especially the peanut butter. But that rule went for anything - bags of chips, pop, whatever. We were never allowed to take the first or last of anything. We weren't allowed to eat anything without asking first. We weren't allowed to eat anything too close to dinner. You had to eat your dinner in order to get "dessert." You had to take at least one bite of everything on your plate, even if you knew you didn't like it. You had to sit at the table with everyone else to eat dinner. There was no food allowed in our rooms. My god, the rules about food were endless...

And they're still endless, here in my own house. I'm doing the exact same thing, I know it, to my kids, as my parents did to me. It's all the same rules, because it's all I've ever known. Granted, my kids are skinny - now. But I was skinny, too, until I hit puberty, got more freedom, and started doing what I wanted (and was told I couldn't) when it came to food.

When I read about intuitive eating, I break out into a cold sweat. I'm supposed to trust MYSELF when it comes to food? I'm supposed to trust my children to know what they want, to know when they're hungry and when they're full, and let them eat what they want, when they want? Even if they want to eat a bag of M&M's an hour before dinner? Really?
That works? That creates people who have a healthy relationship to their bodies and food? I have such a hard time trusting that's the truth.

Although logically, I know the opposite is true. Growing up with a compulsive eater (my father) who had a million rules and regulations when it came to food certainly created a person (me) who has a very UNhealthy relationship to my body and to food. So if that's true... does logic dictate the inverse is true? Is there some scientific law out there that proves that somehow?

I've been reading a lot of fat acceptance blogs lately. My favorite so far is Shapely Prose, but I've also been enjoying Unapologetically Fat, Fear & Loathing in the Kitchen and First, Do No Harm. The truth is, the idea of fat acceptance has always been anathema to me. Accept my weight? Accept my body as it is? Are you kidding me? I'd rather dream about being thin and sexy and beat myself up because I'm not those things...

and how twisted is that?

Where has it gotten me so far? Hating myself because I'm fat hasn't made me thin, that's for sure. It hasn't solved any problems, it certainly hasn't made me change my wicked, bingeing ways. Hating myself because I'm fat has just made me... hate myself. That's all. No solutions there. Just more pain, perpetuated.

I don't have an answer. Do I want to be thin? Hell yes. Will I ever be? I don't know. Can I accept that? Ugh. I don't want to. But it is what it is. Whether I can change it or not, I'm a fat woman. I can certainly say that. But can I say, I'm a fat woman, and I love myself as I am?

Damn, that's tough. How do you turn around nearly four decades of self-loathing?


Farmgirl_dk: said...

"How do you turn around nearly four decades of self-loathing? "

It won't be easy and it most certainly won't be overnight. But good on ya for doing what you've done so far...it takes courage, inner strength and a true burning desire to change yourself to post and reveal what you have.

Sending you good thoughts from Oregon.

Marshmallow said...

It's incredibly hard, and you get a lot of obstacles from people whom believe that you don't deserve to trust yourself - but I can tell you, the freedom is mindblowing.

Come, join me on the other side :-)

IAAdmin said...


You know the problems that came about due to your upbringing. Knowing them, and then acknowledging them is the first step to not passing the same issues on to your children.

When my kids were young, the only rule I had was, before they could eat any "junk" food, they had to eat at least 3 fruits or vegetables. What ended up happening that by the time they finished the nutritious stuff, they weren't hungry for the junk............:)

And how can you hate yourself for taking steps leading you in a new journey. Forgive yourself your mistakes, and then, move on.

Food for thought..............


Anonymous said...

Rules around food can be tough. On the one hand, two many rules can set the foundation for power struggles that involve food (which you definitely don't want). But, no boundaries isn't necessarily the way to go either- nutrition is important and learning to eat well takes guidance. I think that this is an area where you have to pick what is most important to you and choose 2-3 rules that you think matter most. Stick with those and be consistent, and explain why you think that they are important. We had the one bite rule in my house growing up. Mom explained that she wanted us to try a little bit of everything on our plates. If we didn't like something after that bite, we did&n't have to finish it. The only other rule we had was that we had to have at least two bright colored foods at every meal (red, orange, yellow, green, purple). She always kept lots of choices on hand in case we didn't like something she had prepared. While junk food was never forbidden, she didn't keep much in the house so there wasn't much worry about that. She never made us eat when we weren't hungry or finish our plates...

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