When I meet clients for the first time, I usually end the assessment by asking how they’d like their relationship with food to be.
“Just normal” is the almost universal response.
They then explain they don’t want to think about food all the time, they just want to eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’ve had enough. They don’t want to binge or overeat. They don’t want to obsess about food from the second they wake up until their frazzled heads hit the pillow at night.
It’s a lovely goal.
It’s an achievable goal.
I used to dream about having a “just normal” relationship with food. At the height of my eating distress, when I felt alone and desperate in my dysfunction, I’d look at people who ate normally and think “they’re so lucky, it’s so simple for them”.
Working through my issues with food I came to realise it is simple.
Eat when you’re hungry.
Eat exactly what you feel like.
Stop eating when you’re satisfied.
It just takes a lot of practice.
To dismiss negative thoughts that say “you’ll never do this”.
To understand what your body is saying to you.
To stop judging yourself and what you’re eating.
To resist the urge to detach from your feelings.
To stay with yourself emotionally so you build resilience.
To reach out when you’re in need, rather than struggling alone.
To see food as just food, not a way of coping with life.
To never give up on yourself.
It all takes practice.
And the best time to practise is now.
Not when life gets easier or when you’re feeling better.
We all deserve a peaceful relationship with food.
It’s not enough just to dream about it.
As Sarah Ban Breathnach says, “the world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do”.
For a reminder about why there’s no better time than now, read this 2018 post “What Are You Waiting For?”.