I’ve been feeling very grateful for the practice of Intuitive Eating this holiday season. It is so much more than a way of eating. It is a doorway into getting back in touch with yourself. That is the real goal. Once we are more in touch with ourselves, there is nothing we can’t accomplish and when we trust ourselves, there is nothing to fear. When we diet, we hand over the fulfillment of our needs, wants and desires to an outside source. We let a book or a diet program or a weight loss guru dictate what we should eat and how we should move our bodies and tell us how we should feel. They also tell us when to eat and move and how much to eat and move. We think that we are gaining control by following these plans and taking steps to make sure we live a long and healthy life with our slim waists and healthy eating.
However, there are no guarantees. No matter how healthy we eat, we still might get sick and even die. Bad shit may still happen. Not to mention, there is no guarantee that a certain way of eating will give us a slim waist. That is not always true because it depends on so many other factors. Not being in control can be frightening and often we try to control what we think we can. However, the truth is, we cannot control our food either. The diet industry and our culture would like you to think you can control your eating but trying to tell ourselves not to eat when we are hungry or not to eat what we are hungry for is like trying to control our breathing, or the weather or how tall we are going to be. If it were that easy then the we would all be the same size already. It’s not like we haven’t been trying.
Studying and practicing Intuitive Eating helped me see the futility in what I was trying to control. It also opened me up to the fears that I was trying to combat by using my appearance. Walking through the doorway of Intuitive Eating has allowed me to spend this year learning more about myself. What do I want to eat turned into what do I really want in general? What do I like? How do I want to spend my time? What is meaningful to me? Is it really dependent on my size?
My son talked me into watching a movie this morning. It was a Friday morning and I had work to do, bills to pay, errands to run and a house to clean. I was going to exercise too and wrap some Christmas presents. I had a long to do list and little time. But he told me I had to see a movie that really impressed him recently and I know that it’s a unique and special opportunity when your teenage son is home on a Friday morning and wants to watch a movie with you, even if it is 10 am. I hesitated for only a second and then said yes.
He wanted me to watch the Black Swan. It’s an amazingly powerful film that has many levels of meaning. I had the vague notion that I had seen it before but I couldn’t remember what was going to happen or what message it was going to convey. In the end, the movie was summed up by 3 sentences spoken near the end of the movie; “The only person standing in your way is you. It’s time to let her go. Lose yourself.”
I connected with those words instantly. I have been standing in my own way for a very long time. Always thinking that something was wrong or needed to be fixed. The movie also gave the message that trying to be perfect can kill you. If it doesn’t kill you literally, it can also most certainly kill you figuratively. It kills your spirit and it kills what makes you uniquely and wonderfully you. When we diet, we are striving for a perfection that we think exists and we are all standing in our own way. We are standing in the way of creative expression and wild abandon and spontaneous joy. We are standing in the way of knowing ourselves and honoring ourselves and most importantly, trusting ourselves. When we live in this state, something is always going to feel wrong and we will never be at peace.
Not coincidentally, because I don’t believe in coincidences, this week I framed a quote and put it on my desk. It said “Freedom comes in letting go.” I didn’t know when I bought the quote that it was going to be the lesson I was supposed to learn this week. I even wondered why exactly I was buying the quote. Yet, when we let go of the idea that we have to be a certain way to be accepted in this world, our world explodes with limitless possibilities and potential that we could never have imagined.
Let go of the one thing you think you should be and you can be anything you want.
I am humbled and grateful to have received this message today, through my son. Letting go of the diet mentality has opened my eyes and my heart and my world to so much beauty and grace that it hurts sometimes. I so appreciate the shift in my thinking and I know that I will never go back to the small and fragile world that I came from. I invite anyone else who is reading this to consider reflecting as we enter a new year, am I holding onto something that is holding me back? In what way can I let go and be free?