I’ve been thinking about the difference between a diet and a food plan. Now I realize that most people conflate the two and that this is a longer discussion, but for the moment, I want to offer this: a diet, the way we usually think of it, is a prescribed way of eating that is most often imposed on us by an external authority. That authority can be the author of a book, or a medical professional, or a friend or something we’ve read about on Facebook or Instagram.
It’s not until we take it on ourselves—the place where that external authority meets our internalized authoritarian part and they meld together—that it becomes a conundrum. Why? Because that part is most often rigid, harsh and punishing and requires the presence of another part—a child part—to be effective. And to be obeyed. Until of course, that child part says “I’ve had enough. Give me some chocolate mousse. A few tubs of it, please.” Thus, we enter the binge phase. When I first said that “for every diet there is an equal and opposite binge,” I was referring to this dynamic. Cowering child and parentified critic. In this dynamic, no adult is present. Trust never develops because we’re bouncing back and forth between two child parts.
Another option is to call on the adult to consider a food plan that is based on our actual bodies’ needs. Sanity. Wisdom. And to ask, what actually feeds me? What gives me energy? What takes it away? And sometimes, of course, the answer is not particularly of your liking. Or more specifically, the rebellious child’s liking. I want. I need. I have to have. Those are all statements of that child who wants what she wants and that’s that. No thought of what sustains life and depresses it. More about this another time, but I wanted to get the conversation going...
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