I was reflecting this weekend on the hundreds of conversations I have had with people in session, with my non-diet colleagues, people responding to these emails, comments on FB or YouTube, etc.  

Since this blog and all the free resources here are made to serve those who want freedom from the oppression of diet trauma, fat prejudice (internal and external), food rules, using food and body to prove worth, success and lovability and healing from the symptoms of trauma, I wanted you to know that you aren’t alone in what is helping people and making sense to maybe why healing takes the time it seems to take.

Here is what people are saying is going well and what is missing in their journey 

What works:

  1. Going deeper than just reading and listening to podcasts.  We do need to renew our mind with how the body works, with how restriction creates an obsession response in the brain, how if we are taught prejudice at an early age, we have to choose to see others and ourselves outside of that structure.   However, I hear from people who have stayed in the “learning” phase of recovery for YEARS.  Learning is always ongoing, but the pragmatic of healing the body from restricting and binging does not take years.

So, what I am saying?  People who act with mechanical eating moving to body-based eating/flexibility move on to competent eating and struggle less with not trusting themselves.

2. Relationship to create a neuropathway for having a voice.   Recovery can be a lonely journey.  People use negative language (bad food, junk, I feel bloated, etc.) as a norm so it takes a lot of desire to find the truth and live it out with how we eat, how we treat ourselves and view others.

The more people take risks to get in partnership with safe professionals who understand how to mirror healthy relationships, help you know your own signals of hunger, fullness, digestions, emotions and sensation, needs and preferences, the quicker we can move on into having a more flourishing life.

This also means relationship with safe groups speaking life and acting, people who are willing to be curious and listen, etc.   Isolation is like putting a wet blanket on growth.

  1. Getting to the root of the fears of weight gain, getting needs met, being vulnerable and “real”, things that trigger you…. These are all signs of an experience in a time when you did not have capacity to cope with it nor support are running how your respond to a present-day circumstance.

A couple of examples.  We know as adults that people come in all shapes and sizes naturally, that you cannot tell a person’s health or habits based on size or their “happiness” based on thinness, yet we might get jealous of a thin person, romanticizing their life.  While it is true that thin people get projected on less about their health status or get criticized less based on size, it does not mean they are happier, have good relationships, etc.  Yet suddenly, something in us might start saying that “if I was just like them, I wouldn’t be sick, I would be more confident, etc.” yet we do not know anything deeper than what we see.   This is an example of projection and romatization, common defense mental strategies that we do when we are young to cope with rejection.  

What helps us with this is simply catching the story as viewing it from our adult “big picture” thinking ability and witness the young part of us that is feeling scared, sad, etc. and tend to the feelings and out of the mental movie of comparing our insides to the stereotypes that are taught about people’s outsides.

Doing this also helps with what we spoke about above:  fear of weight gain.  Of course, people want to belong, yet we try to belong based upon the rules of those who rejected us, which is conditional love.  By starting with not rejecting ourselves, we WILL get to a place of not needing people to give us attention, admiration, etc. through body size.

  1. Learning about how being in threat response (fight, flight, freeze and people please) causes disconnection from the good in life, who is there to help and not do harm, makes eating from hunger and fullness and healing from physical issues almost impossible and makes feeling safe in the body difficult.  People have told me that this part of diet trauma recovery was the GAME CHANGER in confidence growth, having a voice, not being triggered by stuff that bothered them for years and realizing that negative feelings and thoughts about food and body are just “faux safety valves” for what is missing, which is the ability to self-soothe and stay present. 

 

Let us review real quick what people was missing and holding recovery back:

  1. Trying to lose weight/avoid weight while also trying to stop binging, restricting, etc.  These two goals are at cross purposes.  Once a person surrenders that the body needs to heal and gain weight, the torment of feeling like progress is not happening can end.
  2. Staying in the pride and fear of being vulnerable to receive help.  The beliefs come from early childhood wounds of feelings not being acknowledged, allowed or criticized.  We then develop a “I can do this myself” mentality when the truth is, wounds around food and weight happen in relationship and it is in turn those experiences of being seen without judgment will heal the fear of rejection as well.
  3. Turning recovery into another diet/health regimen.  We must let mental management of food go.  There will be a time later where, from a neutral mindset around food and weight, we can make tweaks in our eating routine that may enhance health.  Most people try to do this too soon and it ends up sabotaging recovery.  This is a fear response.
  4. Lastly, expecting recovery to happen after we read or listen to something.  Recovery consists of daily actions:  being present to what is good at mealtimes and not making other things in life a higher priority (other things of course can be equal) than regular meals, checking in with self and others, joy, connection, etc. that grow the neuropathways that life can be good without food and weight obsessions.

I hope this summary of what people have shared with me over 2021 was thought provoking and encouraging.  Despite these uncertain times, people are thriving because thriving and growing became their focus.  Those who are struggling but fighting the good fight are realizing that glimmers are there amidst the suck and that these are worth fighting for.

Next week, I will share with you more about what our team here is doing to help you and your family and those in your sphere thrive and flourish in 2022.  

Have a wonderful week and wishes for you to have a peaceful eating week!

Tracy and team