Sunday, April 18, 2010

"I Shouldn't, I've been so bad..."

"I have been SO bad today!" "I ate soo much yesterday, I cannot possibly eat today." "After that breakfast, I'm good until dinner!" How many times have you heard these kinds of comments, or made them yourself?? These are comments that we probably have all made at some point, and have also probably heard someone else make. So what's the problem with this kind of thinking about food?? Well, aside from being a form of 'fat-talk', this kind of thinking is very black-and-white, which is not usually an effective way to think about things. We see each decision or action as a total success or a total failure, which is rarely ever the case.

But even more than that, this kind of thinking about food fuels a diet mentality. I am not a nutritionist, and my training is not in nutrition, so I try to steer clear of getting into specifics about food! However, because I do work with clients who have eating disorders, I work with nutritionists (as we share clients) who educate me, in addition to any reading I might do! Anyways, Anna Lutz, a nutritionist that I have shared many clients with (who is currently on maternity leave- congrats Anna!) has had some helpful things to say on this very topic. First, our bodies do not take days into consideration. The patterns and behaviors that we establish with food over time are what matter to our bodies! In this vein, if we feel we have overeaten one day or are uncomfortable with a meal that we had last night or last week, our bodies do not react directly to that one event. One example of this is the way in which our bodies do not make drastic changes in 24 hours, even if we ate an extra serving or two of dessert the night before! Our bodies just don't work like this, even if we feel like they do! If we are consistently overeating or bingeing, then we are likely to notice a change in our bodies- and that is because we are establishing a pattern, and patterns are what our bodies respond to.

Our bodies will naturally gravitate towards our healthy weight (set point) when we are listening to them, by eating when we are hungry, and stopping when we are full. If we have a mentality towards food in which we have to 'make up for yesterday', it perpetuates an unhealthy cycle or pattern (binge/restrict) which does not move us in the direction of normal/healthy eating. This cycle also interferes with our bodies being able to find our set point! So next time you are tempted to cut out a meal one day or restrict calories because of what you ate the previous day, consider that your body reacts to patterns over time, and perhaps focus on trying to eat 'normally' by responding to hunger, stopping when you are full and choosing foods that you feel will satisfy you. For more information on eating 'normally', follow this link to read about The Rules of Normal Eating by Karen Koenig. This is a great book that I'd encourage you all to check out!

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