Out with the Old Habits and in with the New!
By Andrea Wachter
Congratulations! You have arrived at the final step on this mindful eating journey! Your dedication and efforts have not gone unnoticed. At this point you have now created a whole drawer of loving and kind eating habits from which you can pick and choose to help you as you continue eating mindfully. Take some time to think about where you started at the beginning of this challenge and where you see yourself now. Perhaps you have noticed a significant change in the way you think about what you eat and how that has related to your emotional and mental heath. Or maybe you still find that it is just as difficult to eat mindfully today as it was when you started on this path. Don’t worry. There is no right or wrong place to be. No matter where you find yourself be gentle with the process and allow it to take the time it needs to develop in a healthy manner.
The journey never actually ends, and unfortunately women are still being fed societal lies on how they should or shouldn’t eat, but keep in mind that you are growing stronger and always have been. Your mindful eating armor rooted in self love and kindness will continue to build and give you the strength you need to face any eating battle that comes your way! Most importantly, remember that you are not alone on this journey. Here at Alive and Well Women you have a whole community of supporters. Your girls are not here to tell you what to do or judge what you have done but are here to listen, share, and together grow stronger. With that being said, we welcome Andrea’s last step where she says, “Warning: Self Care Can Be Habit Forming”. Enjoy!
Warning: Self-Care Can Be Habit Forming
Many people who struggle with dieting and overeating also struggle with creating a new routine of non-diet, moderate eating. They vow to eat moderately and then forget that vow. They continue to restrict even though it leads them to overeat. Creating a new habit takes conscious effort at first, until it becomes automatic.
A client of mine who has been a vegetarian for decades told me, “I would never in a million years forget that I don’t eat meat and yet I often forget that restricting leads to overeating, which only leads to shame and more restricting.”
Most of our minds are filled with food rules. And those rules are hard to strike from the record. But our animal bodies will rebel from those rules, whether this means they binge or they break down.
Your body knows what to eat. Your body knows when and how much to eat. You were born with that wisdom until it was taken over by the cultural virus that made you forget and forge a well-worn path.
Deep inside you, beneath all the rules and rebellion is your body’s natural wisdom. It takes support, practice, courage and willingness to forge that path until the new path becomes habitual. Then your new normal will be to eat intuitively and moderately.
See if you can put moderate, non-diet eating in the same category as brushing your teeth or gassing up your car, activities you (hopefully) never forget to do. Feeding your body what it truly wants and needs can become as important as all your other top priorities in life.
So here’s to practicing excellent self-care until your new habits are fully formed. Here’s to stepping off the diet/riot roller coaster and coasting along the path of kindness, compassion and clarity.
For more on mindful eating, check out The Center for Mindful Eating.
This blog was originally published on recoverywarriors.com
Andrea Wachter is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and co-author of Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Breaking the “I Feel Fat” Spell as well as The Don’t Diet, Live-It Workbook. She is also author of the upcoming book, Getting Over Overeating for Teens. Andrea is an inspirational counselor, author and speaker who uses professional expertise, humor and personal recovery to help others. For more information on her books, blogs and other services, please visit www.innersolutions.net.