A little confession for you: I have been thinking about going back to school. This is something I have said publicly that I was never, no never, not ever gonna do, so I am very slightly embarrassed about it. Or I recognize that not long ago I would have been embarrassed about this.
Eating local is not the opposite of binge eating.
Yes, I can see embarrassment from here. In the rear-view mirror. Whatever. Bye, embarrassment.
Anyway, I am not thinking about school lightly, because I still might have a bit of Please Teacher psychology left, but the truth is I'm not entirely satisfied with my coaching practice. There's lots I love about it, and one of the those things is that, like most coaches, I have the opportunity to make a big difference in a very short time. Sometimes in a single session. A lot of people go their whole working life without that kind of job satisfaction, and I appreciate it very much. Where it's possible.
Because sometimes clients need more. Deeper understanding, more safety, longer engagements. And I'm really interested in being able to provide that. Thus, I have been looking at schools.
Which brought me to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, an outfit in Boulder, Colorado, same place I come out of. Now there is good work being done at IPE, and I respect these people. But some of their ideas seem very … well, Boulder, to me. Here's one: They offer a list of 20 attributes of non-disordered eating. So, for example, if disordered eating involves mindlessness, then non-disordered eating means being present. Mostly sane stuff like that. But they also include attributes like "eating local," which made me go Huh?! "Eating local" is the opposite of disordered eating? WHAT NO.
To me, "eating local" is a Good Person thing to do. You know, a Boulder-style Good Person, which also involves things recycling, meditating, and yoga. I like to eat local, especially when I'm traveling, but for me, overcoming my eating disorder had nothing to do with supporting local farmers, desirable as that is, and everything to do with undoing all of that Good Person crap.
But I found it a very worthwhile exercise to define for myself the difference between an [my] eating disorder and eating sanity. Here's what I came up with:
: : :
|Chaotic or rigid. Rules-based.||Flexible. Guideline-based.|
|Distracted or multitasking (reading, tv, "working," tense discussion)||Present. Aware. Unitasking!|
|Huge or teensy amounts (binge / restrictions)||Moderate amounts. The middle way.|
|Graze-itty graze! AND ya don't stop...||Meals|
|Body perpendicular, possibly at the fridge.||Sitting down. In a chair. China, silver, napkins: Also yes.|
|Fast / Superfast / Champion Competitive-Eater Fast||Slow: SUH. LOW.|
|Secret, secretive, ashamed||Open, convivial|
|Defensive. I deserve this!||Non-defensive because nothing to defend. I get to choose, and if the food police show up, I can teach them about boundaries.|
|Quantity rules||Quality rules|
|Junky||Homemade / House made / Thoughtfully made|
|Super-saturated tastes: Fatty, rich, sweet, umami preferred.||Full range of tastes, including bitter, sour, sharp|
|BEIGE||All the colors + beige, which has its place|
|Programmed (brain)||Choice (body gets a weighted vote)|
|Self-hatred, beatings. I did it again!||Reflection + response. How'd that suit me? What might be good to try next time?|
|Forbidden / prescribed foods. Good v bad. Uh-oh. Might be going to hell...||All food is morally neutral. Nothing I eat makes me a bad person.|
I could put more, but really, you could sum up the difference as being one of eating in service to the body, versus eating in subjugation to the mind, forcing the body into the subject position.
So I would encourage anyone struggling with their eating to define what the differences are for them. You can just draw a T down the middle of a piece of paper, or you can use this simple blank worksheet I made for you. Download it here.
I would seriously love to see what you come up with.
Oh, and by the way, I ♡ Boulder like a house on fire. It is the best place on Earth, next to Taos. Just so we're clear.
Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.