How to Find “Middle Ground” with Eating

Leanne, I read your article posted on the FINDINGbalance website and it really struck a chord with me. I related to it in many ways, especially when you spoke of the need to find one’s own “middle ground”. Could you please elaborate more on how a person stays in the middle when the urge to hang out at one end of the continuum is so strong? For instance, in my case, the rebel voice has called to me enough that I now carry around, in the form of extra pounds, the evidence of instant gratification. How do I go about turning a deaf ear to this voice? I know what the more loving thing to do is, but how do I get from knowing to doing? Thank you. – Kathy

Dear Kathy,

Transitioning from one way of loving ourselves (how we have been “doing it”) to another (how we “know” we want to live) is a great journey. I want to thank you for writing, for recognizing that rebel voice, and for still maintaining the desire to know real freedom.

The goal of finding balance with food and our body image is not to turn a deaf ear to the inner voices. Rather, I challenge you to listen and actually write down what you hear. Whether one experiences a voice that calls towards severe restrictiveness or a voice of indulgence, all persons have to take personal responsibility for acting on what they hear. When you take the time to journal what you tell your self you will begin to notice a thinking pattern that keeps you stuck. It is fully possible that specific beliefs you have concluded about living, about eating, about weight, image, etc. impact your actions.

Consider the following:

  • eating after 6:00PM is bad if I do it
  • I did not exercise today so I need to skip dinner
  • I exercised today so I can eat the whole pizza
  • I ate too much so I might as well have more

The above statements do not help you, they only hurt you by defining a reality that is skewed. When you are aware of what the inner voice believes and you question how it helps or how it hurts you its power and influence over your actions will decrease.

In short, sometimes we do what we ought not do because we are stuck. And we must develop a new inner voice that speaks in middle ground language, that challenges the established, old, voices and creates a new body reality.

I strongly encourage you to consider reading Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. The material is a great assist in (1) uncovering the belief system upon which you make decisions about food, and (2) providing a way to live in a torture free zone.