Last night I listened to Food Psych #74 podcast with Christy Harrison and Isabel Foxen Duke. There were so many interesting things about the conversation. I was sort of wishing I'd taken notes so I could remember everything I wanted to mention, but then I was glad I didn't try to take notes because I'd have ended up transcribing the whole hour and twenty minutes.
Ideas that jumped out at me, not necessarily because I agree but because they made me think:
Emotional eating is a relatively new concept. Until someone put a label on it and deemed it bad, it was just eating.
People who define themselves as emotional eaters are by definition restrained eaters. Without guilt, diet mentality, and the idea you shouldn't be doing this, it's just eating, not a flaw or a problem to be solved.
Research shows that it doesn't occur to non-restrained eaters to numb emotions with food. Food as a coping mechanism only presents when food has been restricted, scarce, or tied up with a lot of judgment. "Normal" eaters tend to lose their appetite when angry or stressed.
The need to control food, once addressed, will often transfer over into the need to control something else like work or relationships. This very human tendency means it's a lifelong process. You realize when your brain is grasping for control and to choose surrender and trust instead of managing the crap out of everything. This conversation reminded me of Georgie's "brains don't like uncertainty." Maybe you can give your brain some reassurance, or step back from its panic signals, without making the spreadsheet, downloading the software, or writing a list of demands.
Then the big concept that I'm still mulling over is the idea that you will never find peace with food as long as you're trying to lose weight. This one used to make me genuinely angry! I was very threatened by it for some reason and wanted to argue, maybe because I so wanted to lose weight. They're basically saying that as long as a diet mentality is driving the bus, the bus will be headed off a cliff. I can agree in that I've seen how restriction and guilt is what drives food craziness, no question. But then I think about the non-diet dietitians, or people like Georgie who emphasize habits, self-care, and eating to feel good. In my mind, that is not a diet mentality even if it does result in weight loss. Weight loss is not the primary objective. Maybe. I also get that lifelong dieters can make weight loss the primary objective in any situation. That's why IFD jokes about her "I will not emotionally overeat diet" or her "loving myself to lose weight diet." Every intuitive / non-diet / self-care thing she attempted was clouded by her expectation that it would result in weight loss. Nothing worked to eliminate food craziness and produce lasting peace until she let go of the idea that she could or should lose weight. Again, with binge recovery, I totally get this. You can't hold weight loss and stopping binge eating as simultaneous goals because one fuels the other. Once the binge eating is under control, then you can focus on weight loss. Maybe. No? Aagh! That puts you right back in the crazy! The alternative would be to (continue to) focus on habits, self-care, and feeling great, which might lead to weight loss, or at least to body peace, which is what everyone is hoping to achieve through weight loss.
Such juicy topics! What's interesting to me is that, having now lost ALL interest in monitoring my food or weight, I'm happier than I've ever been, happier with my body, happier with the way I eat, less stressed, more confident. This makes me think that an emphasis on weight loss or controlling weight WAS still holding me back, even when I would have sworn it wasn't. I had to get to the other side in order to look back and see that clearly.
Anyway, this makes me want to listen to a whole bunch more Food Psych podcasts. I'm eager to hear more and different perspectives on these topics. What do you guys think about any of those statements. Do any of them stand out? Or cause you to nod in agreement? Or make you mad?