Our values are one of the cornerstones that will see us through our eating disorder recovery journey.
They’re the things we will hold on to, that will guide us and keep us on the path of recovery.
As many of us exit diet culture, there’s an acknowledgement (consciously or not) that diet culture’s values do not align with our own and we must go our separate ways.
Let me say at the start that this is truly not easy. I don’t want to ever make the illusion that it’s a simple, one-time decision to stay true to your values and not follow diet culture.
It’s a daily decision to follow after your true self and uphold what you know to be true.
Now, with that said, let’s dive into two different scenarios where we see a reversal of values when we move from diet culture into recovery and intuitive eating.
Values Reversal #1 : Deprivation vs. Nourishment
Diet culture teaches us that the end justifies the means.
Essentially that means that wrong or unfair methods may be used if the overall goal is good.
If you need to starve yourself in the name of earning love, safety and value, then who cares.
Diet culture isn’t about, and doesn’t care about your health.
It’s about ‘how do I get a body that helps me perform the task well enough so that I am socially acceptable and people will no longer criticize me.
This is not the path most of us desire to take. We take it out of necessity because we’re lacking connection and safety.
So we look for it anywhere we can.
Enter diet culture and their ability to exploit our weaknesses.
Performing doesn’t, and never will nourish your soul. It’s an abandonment of who you’re called to be.
Reversal #2 : Compassion vs. Shaming Yourself Better
As stated in previous paragraphs, diet culture doesn’t really care about your health and wellbeing. It’s a rouse.
Diet culture lacks compassion. The underlying mantra is ‘do whatever necessary to be socially acceptable and loved, no matter the cost’.
So we beat ourselves into submission and shame ourselves when we don’t make the cut or do we enough.
When we move from diet culture into intuitive eating, wherever we lack that compassion for the process, we develop barriers that take us longer to overcome and find freedom.
Here are some areas where you might see this lack of compassion show up :
- Realistic expectations around the process.
You didn’t arrive at an eating disorder overnight so don’t have the expectation that you will recover overnight either.
- Freedom has a cost.
Your healing and freedom isn’t magically going to happen either. There’s no fairy dust to supersede the process. Freedom has a cost and we must decide if we’re willing to pay the price.
- We tend to be harder on ourselves.
Have compassion for yourself. You’re learning, re-writing neuropathways that have been carved a certain way for years. You don’t know everything right now, that’s okay. You don’t need to shame yourself into doing better anymore. Thoughts like, ‘I shouldn’t be feeling this way’, ‘I should be further along that I am’, ‘I should be normal by now’ are all the imprint of diet culture on your thinking. It’s okay to have compassion and grace for your journey.