Here in Spokane Washington, I train at a gym called FitEdge. We work with our clients to obtain the 4 pillars of health. These are Mental, Physical, Fuel, and Regeneration. As part of our mental health, we aim to create a healthy relationship with yourself and food. To help with this, we started a little book club with our clients and I'd love for you to join in! Right now we are reading a book called 'The Rules of "Normal" Eating' by Karen R. Koenig. Each week we are discussing 1 or 2 chapters. I am loving this book so far! It's so real and relatable to all the things we deal with in our heads that we may think our normal, or we may not really know what "normal" eating is. This book will help you get on track with your core beliefs that effect your relationship with food and your success with maintaining a healthy weight. She breaks it down in such a great way. It's a quick and easy read to get you started off right approaching the new year! You can check out the Book Club blog Here. For now, I'll share this weeks post with you here at Body Design by Britt.
This week we get into some great stuff. Chapter 5 is called ‘Beliefs of “normal” eaters’. If you’ve felt like you don’t have any “normal” eating beliefs DON’T PANIC. We can change. In Chapter 4 we talked about reframing our thinking. How do we do this?
- Step one is to identify your irrational, unhealthy beliefs
- Step two is to rework them into rational, healthy ones
Think of your own irrational beliefs towards Food, Eating, Weight, and Body. Now try to transform them into rational beliefs. She gives us an example for each category in this chapter (pg 87). I like the example for Food: irrational - “There are lots of bad and forbidden foods I shouldn’t eat”. How many times have we heard this?! “Don’t eat this, but you can eat that”, or “Top 5 foods to NEVER eat”. Sound familiar? Lots of catchy fitness magazine titles may come to mind. Well she explains that a more rational belief would be “There is no such thing as a bad or forbidden food” or “Foods can be nutritious or not, but they don’t have good or bad qualities” or “No one can tell me what foods I should or shouldn’t eat”. Those sound better right?
The chapter goes on to list several beliefs of “normal” eaters, showing us the irrational belief and then how it changes to a rational belief. One of my favorites was “Feeling good or bad about myself depends on what I eat or don’t eat”. That is totally irrational but I’ve caught myself thinking that several times. The more rational thought would be, “How I feel about myself has nothing to do with what I eat or don’t eat”. This is so powerful. Our self worth and confidence is so much more than food & eating! We need to know that and believe it.
One of my favorite excerpts from the chapter is on page 98. “Normal eating is about listening to your body and making healthy decisions. It’s about pleasure, satisfaction, abundance, self-trust, good self-care, internal messages, and most of all, enjoying food. Disordered eating – whether compulsive/emotional or restrictive- is about fear, deprivation, rigidity, childish gratification, mistrusting oneself, poor self-care, external messages, self denial, and scary feelings. What is most striking about the comparison is that disordered thinking about eating has so little to do with actual put-it-on-your-plate-and-enjoy-it food!”
What are CORE beliefs?? In the book she defines them as "your most basic assumptions about yourself and the world, your take on life; they contain your bedrock values and most firmly held convictions about how things should work." This is where our beliefs about food, eating, weight, and body all stem from.
What are your core beliefs?
If you believe in yourself and that you have big dreams your going to accomplish, you are more likely to take care of your health and fuel your body the best you can to reach those dreams! In this chapter she helps us with tools for figuring out what our core beliefs are. Once you’ve discovered your list of core beliefs (about 10 or so) weed out the irrational ones and reframe them into rational beliefs following her example in the book. Some examples of other core beliefs might be -the glass is always half full, not half empty -We can achieve anything in life with hard work -We get what we deserve -Skinny people are happier -Rich people are happier -Money can't buy happiness -etc. (mantras that you live by)
An example that I found while looking into my core beliefs is the belief that “People may not like me if I’m not in shape or gain weight.” This is totally irrational! For this exercise I reframed this belief into “My weight or physical appearance will not effect how much the people I care about love me or how they feel towards me.” By changing this belief, I will change other irrational thoughts and fears that come along with it. This includes being scared to eat in front of certain people, or feeling pressured to look a certain way.
How do we connect our core beliefs to our thinking about food, eating, weight, and our body? Well she gives us a 3 step guide!
- Identify the eating- or body-related behavior you want to change
- Identify the irrational eating- or body-related belief underlying the behavior
- Identify the irrational core belief that underlies the food/weight/body- related belief
Easy enough? give it a try! Here is an example from the book:
- Behavior: Finishing all the food on my plate
- Belief: I am being wasteful if I don’t finish all the food on my plate.
- Core Belief: Being wasteful is an unforgivable sin
This totally describes me! This week I’ve been practicing being ok with leaving food on my plate if I’m not hungry for it. Being OK with scraping food left on my plate into the garbage if its not enough to save for tomorrow. I’ve made progress! Find a belief you have towards food/eating/or body that you want to change and practice this week.
Another example of this:
- Behavior: Weighing myself every day
- Belief: I need to weight myself to know what I should or shouldn’t eat
- Core Belief: I can’t trust my body to know what it needs
This is a great exercise to figure out where we can adjust our daily thoughts and behaviors that stem from our core beliefs. Remember, it may take a while to identify and change beliefs and behaviors, and that’s Ok! The more we sift through and work towards identifying these beliefs, the easier it will become.
What were your thoughts about chapter 5?