Forget the scales
Looking at the number on your scale is like checking your bank account, you are always worried about the verdict. However, while it is perfectly normal to monitor one’s economic assets, it is much less healthy to scrutinize the slightest gram gained or lost on one’s balance. Especially since these variations can have many causes such as the amount of water and the type of food ingested, hormonal changes, stress or external temperature. Many factors in one day, which affect the weight displayed. And that, the next day. The latter is therefore not as reliable as it seems.
Also, remember that the scale only measures your weight. It absolutely does not take into account your bone, muscle and fat mass, or your measurements. Take a little distance with her, avoiding weighing yourself down every day. You will see how liberating it is.
Likewise, we also recommend that you stop counting calories. This indicator says nothing about the quality of the ingredients or their nutritional value.
Stop demonizing food
“For many there is the idea that some foods are good and others bad. “, Emphasizes Ophélie Reisler, a psychologist specializing in eating disorders. We could also quote Paracelsus: “everything is poison, nothing is poison: it is the dose that makes the poison”. Translation: no food is harmful, it is the quantity consumed that counts. Some categories, such as starches, are particularly victims of prejudice. Consequently, we want to avoid putting them on the plate at all costs, despite our nutritional common sense and our tastes. Likewise “it doesn’t seem wise to me to eat cucumber if you hate it, just because it has a good reputation. Better to turn to a food of the same family, but which we appreciate. For me, good nutrition is definitely a balanced and varied diet, but also a diet that we like, with which we feel in tune. “
Banish sugars, do not eat starchy foods after 8 pm, avoid dairy products or consume 2 a day … So many commandments to integrate to get closer to eating well. If one were to make a list, it would never end. Be careful, some are not necessarily bad, but you have to understand that it is impossible to apply them all. First, because some are contradictory, because nutrition is an ever-changing science. Not to mention that schools differ, so you can find just as many studies that will show you the benefits of a food, and others that will explain the opposite. Even in food, reputations are built and broken according to trends.
Most of these indications, then, do not take into account the particular cases of intolerances, allergies or specific diets linked to an ethical choice or to a disease.
Finally, some expressions may turn out to be more subtle than they seem. “Regaining control of your diet”, for example, particularly embarrasses the psychologist. “I don’t really like this wording, which we hear a lot at the moment and which implies that we have to control our plate. We must not forget that eating is basically a natural and vital process. To imagine, we don’t try to control our breathing, we just breathe, without thinking about it. Eating is the same thing, our body instinctively knows how to do it. But in our current society, we are exposed to too much information. As a result, we often eat more based on what we have learned than our needs, when it would be much more beneficial to trust each other. “
(Re) learning to listen to yourself
Intuitive, benevolent or conscious nutrition … These are concepts that are increasingly attractive. Because if they are different in form, the substance remains the same: listen to your body and its signals.
To begin with, we can train ourselves to distinguish between needs and wants. The former are vital, while the latter respond more to an impulse and are often linked to emotions. Compulsive eaters are the most likely to give in.
So, needing to eat to keep your body functioning and staying healthy is very different from craving it, because it doesn’t involve the same mechanisms. Trying to differentiate and understand them is already a start.
Moreover, it is also what will lead us to find satiety. A feeling that we have silenced over and over again, by skipping a meal, despite the hunger that tormented us to compensate for excesses; or, conversely, forcing yourself to finish the pot. However, one of the keys to food is to eat your fill, no more, no less. So, if you’re wondering where the middle ground is, ask your satiety.
Finally, to reconnect with your feelings, you can create an environment conducive to meals, for example by turning off the TV or practicing exercises that promote awareness. Ophélie Reisler thus offers his patients to do the following work at home.
“Start by choosing a small portion of a food that makes you happy no matter what. Sometimes it’s chocolate, or cheese, the whole thing is that it’s a product you really want.
First, take the time to look at it, feel it. Then bring it to your mouth, without chewing it. Always focusing on the sensations. You can then start chewing and swallowing. At the time of swallowing, try to define what is happening inside you, what sensations or sensations the food causes.
This exercise can be performed every day, for a week, always with the same product. Repetition allows us to realize that it will always be available, that there is no risk of exhausting it. And this is very reassuring. Knowing that you can regularly eat the things you enjoy, avoid consuming large portions at once, for fear of lack. Also, we can realize that after a few days this food still brings you a lot of pleasure, but you don’t want it every day anymore.
At this time, you can try exercise again with other foods you like or, why not, do the same with a full plate. Always with the aim of being aware during the meal. “
Give yourself time and cultivate your kindness
Unfortunately, you don’t get rid of years of habits in a few days. Re-learning to listen to your body is a progressive work, which everyone does at their own pace. You don’t have to be perfect, including letting go, so you can do it step by step. It’s okay that you still want to weigh yourself once in a while, if you weighed yourself every day or kept learning about nutrition. It is as good as consuming industrial chips or pies once in a while and not having a flawless diet every day. Wellness begins with kindness, even with what we eat.
When letting go becomes necessary
In our search for the “perfect dish”, we sometimes end up limiting ourselves and falling into food hypercontrol. There are some cases where it can also lead to pathologies, such as anorexia nervosa or orthorexia.
If this concerns you or a loved one, don’t hesitate to consult with health care professionals. Eating disorders shouldn’t be a taboo subject, let alone a source of shame. With good support and time, it is possible to heal and find a more peaceful relationship with food.
Thanks to Ophélie Reisler for his contribution. More information on https://www.psyenligneophelie.com