So many dysregulated eaters have dieted and obsessed about food for so long that it’s hard for them to imagine how they need to think, feel and act to have a healthy and sane relationship with food. Thanks to Judith Matz, LCSW ( for laying out the path in this terrific chart which shows where you’ve been and where you’re going on the journey to become a “normal” eater. (“Body and Mind” by Alison Laurio, Social Work Advocates, Apr-May 2020, p. 24).


External rules →→→→→→Internal cues


Deprived →→→→→→→→Satisfied

Guilt →→→→→→→→→→Pleasure

Fear →→→→→→→→→→Trust


Weight loss →→→→→→→Nourishment

Shame →→→→→→→→→Compassion


Oppressed  →→→→→→→Freedom

In Control →→→→→→→→In charge

Look over the chart and consider how much you want the qualities listed in the Attuned Eating column. How much do you wish to feel free, that you trust yourself, that you’re empowered and in charge? Are you willing to give up your rigid, all-nothing thinking? Are you willing to put in effort to recognize and attend to internal eating cues? Are you ready to give up a weight loss mentality or goal?

Understand that you can’t simply flip a switch and catapult yourself from a Diet Mentality to Attuned Eating. Recognize as well that becoming a “normal” eater means pretty much leaving behind all the properties listed in column one in order to strive for and attain the ones in column two. This isn’t about picking which ones you want and don’t want, such as saying that you want to hold onto your rigid thinking but still feel self-trust. It won’t happen. Or that you want to stay focused on losing weight but also want to feel self-acceptance. It simply doesn’t work that way. 


But it can and does happen that slowly, through intention, learning and practice, you migrate from one camp to the other, from lost to found, from unhealthy to healthy.


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