I bet most of you reading this have experienced this painful learning experience.
Maybe you are at the beginning of recovery and understanding that food rules are limiting your choices for food and other areas in life.
Or you have gotten to the level of “I understand that only I know how hungry/full , what foods and when and I not going to give my power away anymore”. You value the freedom that becoming an attuned eater has given you.
However maybe this has happened:
You are out to dinner with people you care about and vise versa. We are not using the example of people we don’t know or care about in this example because it is a LITTLE easier to let go of what they are doing because the relationship is different.
And the people you care about just announced at the table, “I can’t eat xyz” or “XYZ is so bad” as you are trying to order your food with you attuned eating skills of what do I want that works best with my appetite, the kind of food they have and maybe a little nutrition consideration.
It’s not that you didn’t notice they have lost weight but you have been doing your best to stay grounded in yourself and not worry about them, and besides, you know that within a year they will probably, just by eating normally, gain it back (because that is how the body responds to a diet cycle) and you certainly don’t miss torment of having your weight go up and down.
But, they keep talking about food and weight. And it gets to be too much. So you decide to eat something that is lower calorie because their diet voices made your diet voice feel like it was missing a party.
This is where my clients ask, “Ugh, I hate that it happened, what can I do?”
We can do several things:
1) We can be compassionate toward ourselves. It is hard to listen to people obsess about food. And even harder when you are just starting to break free from the very thoughts and behaviors they are exhibiting as “no big deal”.
2) We can realize that we are still going to hear the siren song of “weight loss will make you happy, comfortable, etc” when we still have some difficulties with our own body size, even if you have come a long way. Knowing that weight loss talk triggers that part of yourself that still believes being smaller will bring you self-esteem can help you feel less blind-sided when diet talk is around you. It doesn’t make it easier to hear it, but you have more defenses to take care of yourself.
3) This post was mostly about being blinded sided by diet talk, however keep in mind that there is so much diet industry mythology out there that most people have some hiccups about weight and food. If you can take a stance of just because someone else says something about food or weight doesn’t make it true, and it certainly may not be true about me.
4) If you are being swayed by others diet talk, the bottom line is that you probably need to look at your beliefs about food and weight more closely. Especially weight. If you believe that you need to weigh less, it will be hard to not have a critical eye on your food, because the diet and health industries have been very good at educating people to believe that if you weigh more, you must have eaten too much. And even if that were true, do you want to continue to believe that you are morally inferior because of your relationship with food?
I know this is a hard topic and situation, so I would love to hear back comments written in the section below. How have you handled diet talk as you are trying to navigate your own eating?
As always, best wishes for peaceful eating.
I didnt realize it until reading this that I have allowed myself to engage in the diet talks at school. Not sure yet what to do or what to say to distance myself from that.
There are lots of strategies; it just depends on what you want to accomplish. The best first step, if you don’t want to engage in diet talk, is not to say anything disparaging about your own food or body and of course anybody else’s.
If someone directs diet talk at you, you can change the subject to the weather, hobbies; whatever redirects the conversation.
If someone continues with diet talk and didn’t take the hint, you can say that you would rather not talk about food and body in a negative way. There are lots of off-shoots of that because these conversations can be difficult–Looks like we can address this in another post!
Thanks for the comment!
I have that belief with anorexia that being small is the key. do I want to be a little girl again? it is so hard to let go of this belief.
It can be hard to let that go. I think it takes a lot of positive re-parenting of ourselves and with others if possible to basically retell or make new stories about how we can be who we are and feel