Okay, I do have to warn you that this advice is not for the weak of heart. I’m not an anorexic nutritionist giving you advice about how you can lose weight and then love yourself. I have my own baggage and my own prejudices. I’m fat, I’ve grown up in the United States where we have our own peculiar weirdness with food and weight issues, and I have struggled with eating disorders. I still struggle every day to accept my body, but things are better now than they were. These steps can be used by anyone who wants, but I am especially tuned into the problems of people with eating disorders, so if you think I’m being extreme, it is probably because the disorders people live with are extreme and sometimes radical departures from what we normally do are needed. You need to take everything I say with a grain of salt of course, but whatever. You know all this. I’m just telling you the stuff you already know anyway, so these are just reminders or maybe they are things you need to hear that no one else is telling you. I don’t know. On with Step #2:
By now I hope you have smashed or otherwise gotten rid of your scale (see step #1). You thought I was kidding, didn’t you? No. I’m really serious. Go back and read number one again and just do it. Okay, whatever, I can’t make you do it, but you’ll regret it later if you really want to accept your body. Moving on…okay, step number two I guess will have to be that you must stop thinking of food in terms of GOOD and BAD. Food is food. Food is neither bad nor good. If you begin to take away all of those labels you learned for your food being bad or good you will really see the world in a whole new light.
I can’t say that I always eat nutritionally balanced meals, but your goal with food should not be a game of deprivation. If you eat chocolate all the time you will probably get sick. If you eat anything all the time you will get sick and you’ll be bored. So, eat everything. Eating should be enjoyable, not horrible. Culture and life often revolve around food, because we need it to survive, so why not make it wonderful? Why not stop pretending like you don’t eat? It is okay, because everyone has to do it. If you don’t eat you will die, and even if you don’t want to live, there is someone in your life who desperately wants you to live, so live for them if you have to right now. Later on when you are feeling better you can live for yourself, but for now if you have to, live for something or someone long enough to get you through to tomorrow.
Maybe you want to restrict. Maybe you do it all the time. Time’s up. You have to make peace with food someday. Getting rid of everything that you think is BAD FOOD and only eating GOOD FOOD will only make you neurotic. Remember, it is all just food. So what if there is fat in it? Did you know that our bodies need some fat to survive? We need a variety and bounty of foods to fuel our bodies.
So, it is really a very simple thing to do. Quit calling your food “good” or “bad” (no fair using synonymns!). Just try it. Look at a piece of pizza and don’t think “oh, what a greasy, vile, fatty, bad food.” Instead, think about the generations and generations of people who helped to create this tasty concoction. Think about going to Italy and having a slice in a real Italian pizzeria! Think about watching the pizza person throwing the dough up in the air, the way s/he spins it and smashes it with his/her hand. Think of the beautiful tomatoes that were picked and smashed up. All the spices and aromas. The cheeses and the other toppings. Now tell me, how is this “bad”? It isn’t. It is just food not a value judgment.
You might notice that I’m trying to encourage you to think beyond absolutes and rigid black and white terms. I know it can be uncomfortable and produce anxiety, but the reality of life is that there are very few absolutes. There’s absolute zero and absolut vodka, but other than that I have no idea! hehe. If you have been eating disordered at all or for very long you are probably hanging onto the same rigid thinking that is continuing the eating disorder. When we are eating disordered we think in terms of calories (very linear), good and bad, in our stomachs and on our bodies and out of our stomachs and off of our bodies.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but you are not a robot. You are not like a computer. You can take in more than bits of one and zero. So, you don’t have to be tied to rigid thinking about your eating if you don’t want to. You have some choice about this even if you feel compelled to do certain things or even if you feel like you can’t stop what you are doing. It isn’t easy, but you have to get in there and break down the towers of bricks that are keeping you locked inside, stuck in the same pattern day after day after day. This takes me right into step #3, but I’ll save that for another day, because I’m tired of writing right now.
For now, all you need to do is try to remove the labels of “good” and “bad” from the foods you eat. Take all value judgment away from the food. Pretend bananas are pancakes. Pretend hamburger is lettuce. Pretend hummus is ice cream. I know I’m being silly, but you get my point, right? Just try it. No one will know you are trying it. It won’t kill you. Every time you go to label a food in your brain, say something else about it instead. The apple is no longer good. Instead the apple is red. Etc.
I’d love to know if you try it out and if it helps you at all. So feel free to email me with any results.
Okay, all for now. Bye. :)