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Too many disregulated eaters try to change their eating behavior before they’ve examined their beliefs and, therefore, fail to make progress. In fact, I bet most of your frustration with your recovery is due to not having a rational belief system. To create one, here are some irrational beliefs passed down from generation to generation.
Where is it written that you must be busy and doing something meaningful every minute of the day or you’re not living up to your potential? Is this true? Where is the evidence? Why can’t you take a break and relax and feel good about it? It’s time to throw out that old belief your parents taught you about productivity and factor in some time to chill out.
Why must you always succeed and do the best you can? Success is all well and good but, frankly, failure will teach you as much about life and give you a chance to develop humility. In terms of doing the best you can, it’s better to decide where you want to put your energy and excel and where you can coast, thereby perhaps enjoying the activity--and life--more.
Is it really true that if you’re not a success, you’re a failure? How about the concept of being average, mediocre, good enough, or the idea that you gave your all and almost made it? What’s wrong with getting close to the prize?
Might feelings be more important than you were taught? Just because your parents couldn’t teach you how to handle emotions effectively doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile. Maybe they didn’t know how to handle them because their parents never taught them. The truth is that emotions are essential for knowing how to live well.
Must you be thin or thinner to be happy and successful? Many parents of disregulated eaters were chronic dieters themselves or over-focused on what they, you and other people weighed. They taught you to hate fat because they hated it.
What’s wrong with being proud? Many parents act as if normal, healthy pride is some kind of boasting and, therefore, end up with children who are comfortable with shame but not with pride. Does this make sense to you as an adult?
If you haven’t taken time to do it, make sure to sift through your beliefs, pick out the ones you want, and chuck the others. You’ll be helped in this endeavor by my book, THE RULES OF “NORMAL” EATING, which has several chapters on how to identify irrational and rational beliefs and reframe the former into the latter. Remember, you are not your parents and are supposed to have different beliefs than they have.
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