From skwigg's journal:
I was sufficiently bored this weekend that I went ahead and bought, The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends by Monica Swanson. It caught my attention on Amazon. Regarding those pesky people who are so free in their eating yet sporting great bodies, she says that it's not their genetics, it's not what they eat, it's not their workouts, it's how they think. They are not preoccupied with food and weight. They aren't obsessing over what they just ate, what they plan to eat, or what you're eating. They have other things on their mind. That goes right along with the conversation we were having recently about how restrained eaters don't actually eat less, they just think about food more. If you want to eat less, don't fill every waking moment with food/weight/body thoughts, as happens with most diet and exercise programs.
I hesitated buying it because I feel like I already know this stuff. Then once I had it, I ran into the problem of finding myself highlighting the entire book. :-) Yes, I know it, but I hadn't heard it put quite this way. It's so interesting to read about someone else's happy eating journey and thought process. She has documented hers really well. The big thing she hit upon, and that I only discovered fairly recently is NOT focusing on weight loss. You know who struggles the most with weight loss? People who dwell on it and attempt to manage it all day. If you want weight to be a non-issue, you behave as though it already is.
My biggest breakthroughs in happy/intuitive eating came when I decided I didn't need to lose weight and was no longer going to eat for weight loss or fall for weight loss gimmicks. Once I started thinking of myself as someone who didn't need to lose weight I lost like 10 more pounds without even trying, and have stayed at the lower weight easily. If I don't need to lose weight: I don't get on the scale every day, I don't restrict certain foods, I don't walk away from the table still hungry, I don't earn my food with exercise, I don't think about food constantly, I don't overeat from a place of deprivation, I don't do food math, I don't eat anything I don't like, I don't feel guilty, I don't second guess my choices, I don't worry about what others think, on and on. So many of the behaviors I associated with weight loss are actually fattening! Stop doing the counterproductive weight loss behaviors, and you're free to think about other things for a change. You're able to eat to satisfaction when you're hungry, and then move on without giving it any more thought.
She wants you to put all of the energy you used to put into dieting into changing your thought patterns instead. We behave like what we believe ourselves to be. If you believe you'll always struggle with your weight, always have an eating disorder, always need to exercise like a maniac, those deep seated beliefs take over. You see YOU a certain way. A new diet or workout plan doesn't change or even challenge those core beliefs. You tell yourself this is ok for now, but it's only a matter of time until you binge your face off, or go on the next restrictive diet, or get your lazy self back to that bootcamp class.
She talks about how diets always fall apart on vacations and holidays because of how you see yourself. If you see yourself at the core as weak, lazy, overweight, out of shape, struggling, undisciplined, binge-prone, hopeless, whatever, then the way you eat when on your latest control scheme feels out of alignment with who you really are. At some point, probably on a weekend or a vacation, you will tumble back into being the "real you." Food plans don't address this so they can never "work" in terms of solving all your problems.
"But if you think logically, the concept of dieting really makes no sense. You simply cannot solve a problem rooted in a person's thinking and core beliefs by giving them a food plan to follow. It's like sticking a Band-Aid over a deep infection."
The alternative is to put all that focus and energy you used to put into diets and workouts into reprogramming your thoughts.
"You started believing something about yourself...that led to certain thoughts about yourself, that led to behaviors in your life...that led to what you look, feel, and act like today."
Change your beliefs about yourself, and it changes your thoughts, behaviors, and outcomes for good. That made me nod my head off in agreement. Whatever the diet or program, the results were always temporary, followed by struggle, weight regain, and another diet. Seeing myself as a happy/healthy/intuitve eater who eats when she's hungry, eats what she likes, eats to feel good, exercises for fun, doesn't worry about weight, doesn't need to restrict, looks forward to social eating, loves to bake and try new food, OMG, that changed EVERYthing. My core beliefs changed and so did my experience with food and weight.
Social media diet/fitness culture bombard you with those infected core beliefs - that weight loss is hard, that food is dangerous, that you can't succeed without grueling workouts, willpower, and expert guidance. If you internalize all that, you are so screwed.
I very much enjoyed this short little $6 ebook. There are some truly profound concepts in there if you're ready to embrace them. If not, it will sound like the same "blah, blah, blah, works for other lucky people, I'm different, must be nice," not realizing that toxic mindset is the whole issue. I know because it was my mindset for a couple of decades. I held myself to a higher standard. I had to diet. I didn't have the option to eat whatever I want. I gained weight if I looked at certain foods. Yadda, yadda, boo hoo, made-up stories... It never even occurred to me to question what I was telling myself. Is it true? Can I absolutely know that it's true? How do I feel or what happens when I believe that thought? Who would I be without that thought? Could the opposite also be true? Yes, Byron Katie burned down my story machine with that powerful line of questioning. I was flabbergasted to realize that none of my painful crap was true. If we're just making stuff up and repeating it all day like demented parrots, why not choose a more positive and empowering inner dialog?
Back to the book, Monica includes five days of her eating and thinking, which was interesting. I could never eat the way she does, but she's sure not suggesting anybody do that, just that you listen to your own body and honor your own preferences. She's fond of getting by on bars, shakes, coffee, and pieces of fruit all morning, then eating something more substantial later. I don't get the vibe from her writing that she's read intuitive eating or been influenced by it. She talks openly about eating less, losing weight, and being a "careful" eater. I, people, am a blissfully reckless eater. LOL I found a few of her statements a bit squirmy from an eating disorder recovery perspective, but those are my own issues not hers. She's obviously in a very good place. I'm glad she decided to share her journey.