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Resist Pressure to Be What You Are Not

How many of your problems are due to not being true to yourself? Not being authentic and knowing exactly who you are, recognizing your preferences and distastes. Many of my clients with eating dysregulation tell me they’ve been people-pleasers for so long that they’ve become disconnected from their own needs and desires. And you?

I was reminded of authenticity by two dinners with friends. First was the night my husband and I dined out with a couple who are wine connoisseurs who spent a good deal of time discussing what wine to order. I, on the other hand, ordered a low-priced Chardonnay because I always joke that I’m a Ripple girl at heart—someone who lacks a sensitive palate for the taste of high quality alcohol. Since that’s the case, I don’t bother to fuss about wine and can live with my ignorance. Then the next week we dined out with neighbors, one of whom ordered a Vodka martini. When asked what kind of Vodka he preferred, my neighbor shrugged and chose the cheapest one, saying that he couldn’t tell the difference. Then my neighbor laughed and the conversation moved on.

I share these interactions because both friends were being authentic. The wine connoisseur didn’t play down their knowledge and my neighbor who couldn’t distinguish one Vodka from another didn’t pretend that he could. Mind you, he could afford expensive Vodka, but knew himself well enough to realize he’d be wasting his money.

Sadly, many dysregulated eaters are so used to following someone else’s rules (a diet, doctor, or parent) that they don’t know how they feel about food—or many other things. It took me a long time to come out of the closet as a non-foodie when most eating disorders therapists tell us we must seek to love food and make it a memorable experience to overcome eating problems. Fortunately, my clients have taught me a lot about this issue. Many don’t care to food shop or for food prep and, other than trying to eat healthfully, don’t much care about seasonings and sauces and ways to enhance food’s flavor. Like me, they like their food to be relatively nutritious and tasty enough.

Unfortunately, too many of my clients believe that they must feel passionate about food to eat it mindfully, to be great cooks and enjoy trading recipes. Consider how you feel about food when you eliminate what you think you should feel. Maybe one of the barriers to your eating more “normally” is that you feel you must make a grand meal in order to be eating right. Try choosing something simple and healthy and eating it mindfully. Notice when you’re authentic about food and other things and set an intention to start being honest with yourself and others, their approval be damned!

Best,

Karen

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