Once again I apologize for my hiatus. Thank you to those of you who have been waiting patiently and haven’t lost faith in my ability to keep a schedule yet! I know it is Tuesday, but I figured better late than never. I am back to posting every monday (I promise!). There is only one more post after this and then we’re done with The Eating Guidelines series – If you have any topics you’d like me to cover next, or ideas for my next series, leave a comment below!
Guideline #6: Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
I never binge in front of people. And rarely do I engage in compulsive eating behaviours in front of others. This is because usually it isn’t a pretty sight. You know those nights when you throw on your baggy PJs and your giant hoody and eat your sorrow, or boredom, or stress, or anger, or…the list goes on.
You wouldn’t do this if you had friends over. Or at a family dinner, or possibly not even in front of your dog (at least not in front of my Zoey’s astounded and confused stare…)
I don’t struggle with bingeing like I used to (yay for progress!) but occasionally I do slip back into semi-compulsive eating behaviours. When I do this or when I used to binge, I block out the world, hide away in my house and eat. And eat. And eat some more. And if someone ever saw me like this, I would be mortified. But shame is not a positive or productive feeling – and it certainly has no place in the Intuitive Eating lifestyle (IE is about breaking down shame, not clinging to it). So we must find a way to apply this guideline without allowing it to be about shame.
So how do we leave shame out of this?
The truth is, when you imagine people are watching you, you are going to behave differently. This can be a powerful tool in the Intuitive Eating process if used correctly.
Rather than envisioning a judging mother-in-law, or a verbally abusive ex-boyfriend, or that exercise and diet-obsessed girl from work, envision the people who love you and people who you respect (and who love you). Because the problem with bingeing and compulsive eating isn’t about the “shame” of it; it’s about the lack of self-love attached to it.
Countering bingeing and compulsive eating behaviours is about embracing your self-worth and letting go of shame.
So when envisioning the “others” who are watching you, envision the people who see your self-worth and appreciate you. The ones who don’t judge you. The ones who treat you with kindness and gentleness. Because ultimately, that is your goal – to treat yourself this way. And when you do, you won’t want to stuff your feelings down with a tray of brownies.
By envisioning those you love and who love you, you are reminded of your worth and reminded of the way they not only treat you, but the way they want you to treat yourself.
Trust me, it’s difficult to harm yourself when you are imagining all the people whose hearts would break knowing you were doing so.
A final word…
It helps to imagine yourself in full view of others; but sometimes it helps to literally have someone with you. If you are having a difficult time (especially if you are recovering from an eating disorder) there is nothing wrong with having someone around.
If you’re tempted to go home and binge all night or if you’re having a day when you are eating compulsively, call up a friend and have them come over, or go see them or just do something to get out of the house and, most importantly, out of solitude. Even something as simple as going to the mall can help. (note: going to a restaurant alone – though in public – in a strange way feels like being “alone” and you may engage in eating behaviours you are trying to avoid).
Most importantly, remember this guidelines is not about judgement or shame. So when you’re choosing who will be “sitting on your shoulder” – make sure it’s the angels in your life, and not the other ones.
I hope you found this post helpful – I will be back next week with Guideline #7: Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure! (my favourite!)
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Countering bingeing and compulsive eating behaviours is about embracing your self-worth and letting go of shame. (click to tweet)
Read last week’s post “#5 Eat Until You Are Satisfied.“