Flip side of the same coin....

Q:
Hi Jill,

Here’s where I always get stuck.  So many podcasts, so many books, so much of the anti diet message and body positivity  seems to be geared toward the women who keep trying dieting and can’t make it work and let it totally suck up their mind and dictate their self worth.  While I think I share similar roots I feel slightly disconnected here.

I am one of the 5% who make diets work.  I have what is considered the fit, slim toned body.  Of course I’m 58 so I’m not going to be in any magazine ads anytime soon:)  but I get so confused with the messages.  Most of them are to “be fine with what is, to realize the weight you are now is ok.  You are healthy and don’t need to change”  Even your story seems that this was your aha moment when your doctor told you that you should consider that your body was just fine.

I have no trouble accepting my body now,  I don’t berate it very much at all and tend to be somewhat proud of yoga poses etc I can do.  I don’t have a big fear of the mirror-from the neck down :)  

My problem is more that I feel like I am in constant denial.  Obsessing about food and what I will eat next and how many calories.  I have an unbelievable fear of not being thin and that creates an inability to eat whatever I really want when I am hungry.  I am an awesome restrictor and get “attaboys” for myself when I do it.  I think I have peace with my body as it is now but not with my relationship to food.  I feel at this time in my life this belief that my worthiness is based on number on scale or how well I controlled my eating each day seems like such a waste.  It also consumes a lot of my time but although that also seems wasteful it’s scary to think what I will do with this time if I don’t have endless recipes, new diet food alternatives and restaurants to look up :)

Does any of this make sense to you?  Perhaps I am missing the point and should realize all these disorders are cut from the same cloth but somehow as I listen to podcasts on HAES and Intuitive eating it doesn’t always resonate with me as I feel I come from the other side of the spectrum. I am not sick of a diet roller coaster that doesn’t work I’m more sick of the rollercoaster of emotions I am going through.   It actually feels like I feel worse since I’ve started to seek recovery.

It’s like a part of me wants to peak my head out and figure out if there is a much better life beyond this but the other part wants to stay in the rabbit hole I’ve made work for me and is afraid my definition for recovery may be different then others on a different side of the spectrum

I’m afraid if I don’t not process this I’ll either not move forward or if I do I won't be able to do it with an “all in” attitude but more “I told you this wouldn’t work”

Sincerely, 
Thin but still struggling

jill-ffbl-april-2018-0520.jpg

A:
This is an interesting question! Love it!  

The major thing to understand here is that there is NO way you have peace with your body right now if you are struggling with food to this extent. One breeds the other. All of these disorders are cut from the same cloth. We are taught to loathe and control our bodies and in that pursuit we become disordered around food - regardless of size. 

What you are recognizing is that you currently have the safety of a thin body. The societal privilege of knowing that you "fit in" quite well and that others see you a certain way.

You are succeeding at conforming! 
But being safe and being good at conforming does NOT equal peace or happiness or fulfillment.

You are worried about trading thinness for ease and freedom with food and your body. I get it. The choice is to decide what you want MOST. For me the real turning point with food and my body was actually when I decided to stop sacrificing my mental and emotional health, my time and energy, all day every day working to conform and fit in and get external validation.....all the while still living in insecurity and self-consciousness inside.

Make no mistake (sorry to get harsh here) - you are not at peace nor are you accepting of your body. If you were - food would be easy. That's a fact. I get that you can see that your body is pretty good in terms of how it should look and societal norms but I also hear deep insecurity and fear. And as you said - all your worthiness wrapped up in your looks. What if, in a year, for reasons beyond your control -even with all the effort and restriction you DID gain weight? What if, by some other uncontrollable means, your body were altered? What if you AGE? When your worth is based on external approval and "fitting in" vs. belonging you will never truly be at peace, always vulnerable to judgement and criticism. 

You may have to make a trade off but that remains to be seen.
The decision here is whether or not you want true, deep, authentic peace and ease with food and your body. You don't need to know how to get there - that would be crazy! If you knew it, you'd be there already and you wouldn't need help. 

The whole point of my program is work you through these points of resistance and objection and there is a certain amount of info you may need before you can face some of these fears head on. All you need to know is what you MOST WANT.

What is it you MOST WANT?
XO
Jill

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