On the Road to Food Acceptance – Wait, There’s No Such Thing as Perfect Eating?

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Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing to admit now, but for a long time I was under the illusion that a day would come when I’d finally crack the code on perfect eating. Both consciously and unconsciously, this “perfect eating” belief system inserted itself into the background of my life. Its role was to be the constant, critical commentator deeming both food choices and eating behaviors as either “acceptable” or “unacceptable,” morning, noon, and night. For years, I was convinced by this critical commentator that it was my eating choices that were the problem. But I was completely wrong. My food choices were not the problem—my judgment about the food choices was the problem.

The reason I stayed stuck for so long was that I didn’t think of this commentator voice as harmful. I thought of it as my loving inner parent protecting me from decisions that would lead to my unhappiness. Again, I was completely wrong. Because listen, the issue is, feeling judged only leads me to want to escape myself more…and what better way to rebel from the critical commentator voice than to do more of what that voice is belittling me for? The harsher the voice’s conviction, the deeper my need to escape it. 

The only way for me to heal from the years of criticism is to begin to use the same gentle voice with myself that I try my best to use with my children. I need to get practice disregarding my inner critic so that my inner supporter’s voice can get stronger and stronger.

Where the critical commentator might have said:

Ugh! I can’t believe you ate that—how many times are you going to have to make this mistake before you learn?

My supporter voice can now say:

Ooo—you must have been extra hungry tonight. You always eat a little more when you get to that super empty state—maybe restock your car with some snacks to tide yourself over next time…or not—no big deal!

Or, it might say:

It makes sense that you’re turning to food today, it’s been a really emotional day for you. Maybe you could reach out to a friend and talk through some of the heaviness you’re carrying in your heart today. Connection always makes you feel better. 

More than any meal plan or exercise routine, speaking gently to myself has had the. biggest. impact. on my relationship with food. When I take away the judgment and the guilt, I also take away food’s control over me. And a new cycle is born! Criticism and escape transform into support and self-care. I still invest time and energy into making sure I have a clear meal plan that supports my health, but I can also practice being gentle with myself no matter what the day brings.

 Next week, we’re going to chat about correcting someone while they’re telling a story! If you’re not that person, you might have a few people you’ll want to forward this episode to…Anyone coming to mind? Well, be sure to tune in next week. And if you know someone who you think would benefit from hearing this episode, please forward the link to them, and have a lovely weekend TeamConfessioners!

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  1. I love everything about this post!! AND the photo is so great!!! I swear that image could be me – and honestly most folks who are out there trying to satisfy that old way of diet food mentality.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Ginger. I really appreciate you checking in — and all the photo credit goes to Kelly Tonks! She had the idea of using the refrigerator light — she’s such a great photographer. Thanks again for supporting the blog!

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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I would love for you to join me as I work to undo these old patterns and evolve to create a more serene and accepting existence. (And you should know that I still want to ear flick the little knuckleheads {this includes my husband} when they don’t rinse a dish before putting it in the dishwasher — always a work in progress.)
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