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Psychological Shifts Toward Normal Eating and Better Mental Health

  • Eating
Two clients recently mentioned “feeling different about food” recently. When I asked if they could describe what the difference was, they couldn’t explain it, but were adamant that something had changed within them. That’s what we call a psychological shift and, when it happens, you may not understand what caused it, but you darn well know that it happened.
I had such a shift recently while thinking about someone I knew and was fond of decades ago. I was thinking about how much fun he was and the good times we shared, when suddenly I saw him in a completely different light, as not really an honorable man. His deceitfulness suddenly completely overshadowed his fun-loving qualities, and he was no longer a man I felt fondness for, but someone who, at heart, I knew was not a very trustworthy person. And since that day, I’ve never been able to get back that feeling of fondness. It was as if blinders had been taken off my eyes, as if I was seeing this man from a totally different point of view.
These are the kinds of shifts you’re looking for. The one my clients felt was that they no longer felt deprived around food. No one was telling them they couldn’t eat sweets and treats, but their minds were simply not finding these foods as appealing as before or they were seeing them as hurtful not helpful. They knew now that they could make choices and were empowered, that nothing was being done to them.
Another kind of psychological shift happens when you’re no longer interested in getting people to like or love you or to give you their approval. You simply have no motivation to think in that direction. The desire is not there. Yet another is when you start to have compassion for people you’ve always despised because they’ve hurt you and “made” you feel less than. Suddenly, you see that there was never anything wrong with you and that it was their severe limitations which didn’t allow them to see the wonder of you. 
These psychological shifts are called ah ha moments or epiphanies. It’s as if things which have all along been one color become another, as if dull things become bright or shiny things become dull. You look at something and it is so completely the opposite of what it’s been that you know you’ll never see it in the old way again. Food is no longer enemy or friend but nourishment, exercise is not a chore but something you enjoy doing in order to take care of yourself, and food shopping or preparation are no longer odious tasks, but are pleasurable. In ah ha moments, you’re not forcing yourself to think differently, but do so in spite of yourself, as if out of the blue you received new information that couldn’t help but change your mind.