Are you confused about what is “restriction” vs making healthier choices or aiming to have a more balance diet? You’re not alone, and one of our lovely Body Positive community wrote a response to last night’s post asking this excellent question. If you’re wondering the same, then here are my thoughts:
The main difference is all in the intention and only you will know (or come to an understanding) about the reasons why you’re making the food choices you are. I’m all about asking yourself questions in a spirit of openness and curiosity and not being attached to “getting it right,” or a certain answer or outcome.
I fully acknowledge that it can be very confusing but rather than finding out “the answer” I think it’s a worthy cause to think about what causes, creates or perpetuates this confusion? Often, it’s the dieting/weight loss/”health” industries that rely on us not being able to tap into our on experience and wisdom to sell us their shit. As a Dietitian, I would only regard myself as an “expert” as far as my own first hand experience working with people goes, and I remain firm in my belief that we are all our own best experts (or with good support, can learn to be!). I see my job as helping people build skills in connecting with their own wisdom and becoming more confident and resilient in relationships with food, eating and body. A key aspect of this is the very central tenet of mindfulness and that is “acceptance of what is, without judgement.” And yes, this includes our body.
So back to questions you can ask yourself to get that wise mind muscle going.
As a starting point you might ask yourself:
“Am I eating this with the intention that this might/will support weight loss goals or pursuits? Or am I eating this because it helps support my overall health and wellbeing, is tasty, helps fuel my body (eg. for sport), provides some balance to a meal, looks amazing and most importantly, I enjoy it & feel satisfied by it!”
“Am I prepared to be flexible if things are not as I would prefer?”
“Am I just as prepared to say “yes” as I am to say “no?”
“Am I eating from a place of attunement (to my body signals)?”
For most people, it’s not super difficult to assess if you’re still hanging onto weight loss goals or a strong desire to change your body (but I get it’s tricky, and not always clear). Diet culture is very strong, and we can get lured back very easily by anything from a conversation, to media, to advertising, to comments from others. It’s not easy, and a willingness to be really honest with yourself is critical.
“Am I trying to change my body?”
“Am I trying to change the relationship I have with my body?”