We are born with the innate ability to learn how to trust ourselves with food.
This process starts in infancy.
To learn how to eat well, there had to have been enough food, provided regularly and reliably.
People who were forced into diet culture at a young age had this learning process hijacked. Diet rules which take over the child’s role of deciding how much to eat halt the internal learning-to-eat process.
Food restriction or coercion in childhood feeding takes away the child’s ability to learn to regulate food intake internally. In other words, to build trust in oneself when it comes to eating.
Even if you happily got through childhood with this process intact, an adult lifetime of diets will erode your trust in your ability to make wise decisions with food.
And by wise decisions, I do not mean “only eat healthy foods.”
(and “healthy foods” is a loaded term and means different things to different people, to the point that it has no useful meaning that applies to everyone)
By good decisions, I mean eating enough of the foods that are enjoyable to you.
Enjoying a variety of foods.
Experimenting with new foods on occasion.
Being flexible when it is needed.
Paying attention to hunger and fullness but not so rigidly that you can’t enjoy food when you sometimes aren’t hungry.
Providing meals to yourself reliably.
Making do with the food you have when you don’t have something more exciting.
If right now you aren’t at a place where you make wise decisions with eating, you can get there. Even if this wasn’t learned in childhood, it can be learned in adulthood.
It is a joy to watch my clients learn to trust themselves with food.
You can do it too.